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Old 12-01-2006, 12:17 PM   #51
stan_der_man
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Default Hillside plants...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Risible
Actually, Missaf, my husband made me write this (he's working on a household project right now, a little matter of a clogged drain )...

What I can personally recommend for Stan's area (the chapparal community of plants) are two of my favorite California natives, ceanothus "Joyce Coulter," and salvia clevlandii, the leaves of which are wonderfully fragrant, especially on a hot day.
Thanks for the info Missaf and Risible! I haven't had a chance to look at the info about good plants for my area, I've found it to be tricky to find plants that are drought resistant, and can withstand freezing temps and snow. Also our air can we wickedly dry when it's cold and clear, more so than the desert just north of us.

I thought about iceplants, I've always admired how they seem to be the only things that can cling to sandy hills at the beach. Actually my mom (In eastern L.A. county) had some in her yard, but I remember her having to water them often to keep them healthy looking.

The native plants in our yard generally (excluding the larger trees) are manzanitas and grasses in the sunny areas (where the oak trees are), but almost no ground cover (other than humus) in the shade (under the pines or cedars). I'll take a look at the websites, it really interests me what kind of plants will work up here.

Stan
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Old 12-03-2006, 02:25 PM   #52
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Default Living Green - Light bulb rant...

Here is my earlier mentioned light bulb rant...

If anybody is wondering how to save energy, but doesn’t have the time or money to make a major overhaul in their lives, the single easiest way to do that is to have energy efficient lighting in their homes. I think it’s something like 10 – 25% of electricity is used on lighting. Believe it or not, you really don’t need bulbs greater than 13watts. You can light large areas (and create decent visibility) for as little as .6 watt! (In theory…)

<rant> The big pisser of all of this is that the light bulbs in our stores are purposefully inefficient!</rant> Well, only partially true… I don’t fully blame stores (and manufacturers) for selling the more inefficient bulbs. There is a demand issue it seems (or lack of…). I spoke to a hardware store guy who said that they are only able to sell the smaller efficient bulbs when there is an energy crunch. As rates go down again, people go back to purchasing the more convenient higher wattage bulbs, and forgo the inconvenience of lower wattage incandescents and fluorescents. (I’ll get to the disadvantages in a minute…)

<rant> This is what errks me, the bulbs that we see in the stores purposefully have short lives! Sometimes you can find “long life” bulbs for a higher price. It is cheaper or at least equal in price to manufacture long life bulbs than it is to make the shorter life bulbs! There is no counter argument to that! Case in point; Thomas Edison’s original light bulb still works, as do a lot of his original design production bulbs that are still around. It took an extra effort for companies marketing light bulbs to create a shorter life bulb (they burn hotter and have smaller elements…). They knew that they would sell more bulbs if they didn’t last as long. There are some neon signs around that are 70 years old and have their original tubes! Some neon tube benders purposely create less than clean tubes so they have to be replaced every 10 years or so. </rant>


Here is an Edison Bulb for sale:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Antique-Edison-L...QQcmdZViewItem

I’ll explain the types of light bulbs, the advantages disadvantages, and my recommendations:

Incandescent:
It’s the classic light “bulb”. It’s a glass bulb with a wire element inside. The element heats up and gives off light in a vacuum. The white ones are coated with phosphorus to produce color (frequency) of light that is easier on the eyes. Clear glass bulbs with the element exposed are used for decorative lighting. Classic “Edison” style bulbs with loop-de-loop elements make candle-like looking light at about 30 watts. The light doesn’t oscillate (flicker like the cycling of a TV picture tube…), that’s one feature that makes them easier on the eyes. Efficient incandescents are dim (many people are annoyed by this) but you can produce perfectly usable light at 15 watts. Example: 3 watts = night-light, 15 watts = bedside lamp, 25 watts = adequately lights up a bedroom (candle like quality), 40 -100 watts = typical house hold lighting. In my opinion anything over 40 to 60 watts is overkill. Incandescents can be dimmed to lessen (control) the light, although that’s an inefficient thing to do.

Fluorescent:
Fluorescent lights generally give you more illumination at a lower wattage. These are hollow tubes filled with inert gas (typically argon) most often with mercury vapor in them (literally it can be a drop of mercury in them, that’s why breaking them is hazardous). High voltage “Neon” lights are basically the same as fluorescent lights, except that fluorescent lights are always phosphorus coated (again, easier on the eyes). They usually use argon / mercury gas, and are more efficient (they use ballasts which are basically tightly controlled high voltage transformers that have an initial “kick” of electricity to power up the efficient tubes and then power down a bit to maintain illumination at an efficient level). One disadvantage with fluorescents is that they need to warm up a bit to reach their full light (maybe 3 to 5 minutes), so they may not be desirable as a pantry light, that you turn on for 15 seconds, grab a can of soup, turn off and close the door. (A 15 watt or less incandescent would suffice…). Fluorescent lights cannot be dimmed, they are either on or off. In extreme cold they may actually burn out prematurely or not work at all. For us old folks here… remember the old fluorescents that you had to hold the button for about 3 seconds to start and they always buzzed a bit? Modern ballasts are much more efficient. Another disadvantage, being a tube with ballast attached, they are awkwardly shaped. But the new compact fluorescents try to reproduce the shape of a classic light bulb, and come pretty close, unless you have a lampshade that clamps onto the bulb. Fluorescents are generally more expensive because they need ballast. The most annoying thing about fluorescents (they bug the bejeebers out of my eyes…) is that the light oscillates (flickers very quickly). This is why computer monitors (CRT picture tube types) really bother your eyes in the work place. It’s not the flickering of the picture tubes, or the flickering of the florescent lights individually that really bother your eyes, it’s what is called the “beat frequency” that bothers your eyes (it really reeks havoc with my eyes…). The beat frequency is the difference in frequency that the CRT computer monitor flickers and the florescent lights flicker. It’s basically the light interference that mostly bothers your eyes. That is why LCD (flat screen) monitors are better for your eyes. They are “cells” of light and don’t cycle, therefore not creating a beat frequency with the fluorescents. So if you use a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube – picture tube) monitor (or CRT television in your home) it’s easier on your eyes if you have incandescent light, because once again, there is no beat frequency bugging your eyes.

---------------Warning – Unnecessary trivia ---------------

Here is some inert gas trivia. Clear glass tubes pumped with different gases (“neon” tubes or fluorescent tubes, same thing basically)

Fluorescent tubes without the phosphorus coating would be blue, you can see that at the uncoated ends by the electrodes… The reason argon / mercury is used is because combined it is the brightest and most efficient.

Helium: Bright peach in color, practically as bright as neon, burns hot, tubes don’t last as long. (Anything that burns hot, breaks down the electrodes that contaminate the tubes…)

Neon: The classic bright red you see in clear glass “neon” signs. In cold climates neon may be used with mercury (mercury tends to make things illuminate blue) as a substitute for argon.

Argon: The most efficient of the inert gases. Burns a weak light blue color without mercury, efficient and cool burning.

Krypton: Dim purple in color, but a bit more noticeable than argon by itself, very “jewel” like color.

Xenon: Dim silver in color, like Krypton, very “jewel” like.

Radon: Green in color, radioactive, so it’s generally avoided.

(Last trivia I promise…) Some old “neon” tubes were made with a combination of colored gas and GLASS that was of color (not phosphorus coated). They were very beautiful and “jewel” like in look. The gaudy colors that you see in typical “neon” signs are because they are argon / mercury gas filled and have phosphorus coatings.

---------------End – Unnecessary trivia ---------------


LED (Light Emitting Diode):
The “newest” old technology in lighting. Yup, they are the classic “LED” lights that are on many electronic devices. They’re basically little diodes that create light and very little heat. They are even more efficient than fluorescent lights! They don’t oscillate (or at least their frequency is so high that it doesn’t bother the eyes…). They are really good for flashlights and lights powered by batteries because they use so little energy. The downside is that you need lots of these little buggers to create the light you need, and some electronics to manage the power to them (that ups the price of them a bit…). Since you need lots of them, they can’t easily be focused like an incandescent flashlight that has one focal point of light and a concave mirror around it. They are mediocre flashlights at present, they don’t make a very good beam of light. More disadvantages, LEDs cannot be dimmed, they are either on or off. They create a somewhat harsh blue light, not natural to our eyes. As a side note, yellow light is what our eyes see best in. The sun is a bit yellowish. Ever see those yellow “vision enhancing” sunglass ads? There is truth to it, supposedly while wearing them you see better in the fog… Yellow fog lights on your car? Same thing… Ironically, insects don’t see yellow light as well, they are drawn to infrared and ultraviolet. Yellow bulbs are anti-insect bulbs for your porch or outdoor lighting. Making LEDs more eye friendly and focusable is what they are working on now, because LEDs can’t be coated as easily to create a better light. Many cities are converting traffic signals to LED because of their efficiency.

Halogen & Mercury Vapor: (carbon vapor, etc…)
BLAAAZIN’ BRIGHT! BURNIN’ HOT! SCORCH THE EARTH (or your driveway…) WITH THE NEXT BEST THING TO SUNLIGHT! These pups are the turbocharged Hemi of lighting! They are hot-fudge sundaes for the eyes, luminous gut bombs, but man-did-that-feel-good kind of lighting! They are a fuel (mercury) injected incandescent light bulb on overdrive! Woo-hoo, man-made sunlight (with all of the disadvantages of the others combines), except they aren’t self-powered like the sun. <oops I’m ranting…> These babies are also the slick looking desk lamps from Ikea that will light your curtains on fire! You can retrofit the bulbs now I believe…

Anyway, I’ll end my bulb rant with this. I think bio-d-man is right! It always comes back to “right technology”. You have to be informed and figure out what you want and need. Our science community and we as a society have to figure out what is the best technology with the fewest disadvantages.

---------------------------------------------------

Here are some links that I think are interesting:

The local “bulbsperts” (bulb experts), weak website, but some good info.

Inland Lighting Supplies
3393 Durahart St.
Riverside, CA
(951) 748-3455
http://www.inlandlightingsupplies.com/lamps.htm


Online stores:
http://www.bulbs.com/

http://www.lightbulbwarehouse.com/

LED bulbs:
http://www.goldengadgets.com/index.php?cName=led-bulbs
Check out the LED floodlight that only uses .6 watts

LED bulbs and conversions:
http://www.ledsupply.com/
Flashlight bulb replacements:
http://www.ledsupply.com/evflbu.php

Antique light collectors:
http://bulbcollector.com/
Check out the "tube gallery"

Museum of Neon Art - Los Angeles
http://www.neonmona.org/
I took their neon introduction class, and learned “luminous tube” bending and crafting in Van Nuys, CA by the way…

--------------------------------------
Misc. ramblings...

30w Edison bulb
15w night-light
25w light lights the room
13w fluorescent = 60 watts of light. Get multipacks at Cosco. Don't buy the fluorescent bulbs with removable tubes, the little ballasts crap out just as quickly as all-in-one compact bulbs...

--------------------------------------

P.S. If you guys want to see my "hillside from hell" that I'm seeking plants for, that will be forth coming...

fa_man_stan
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Old 12-03-2006, 02:47 PM   #53
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[QUOTE=fa_man_stan]Here is my earlier mentioned light bulb rant...

<rant> The big pisser of all of this is that the light bulbs in our stores are purposefully inefficient!</rant> Well, only partially true… I don’t fully blame stores (and manufacturers) for selling the more inefficient bulbs. There is a demand issue it seems (or lack of…). I spoke to a hardware store guy who said that they are only able to sell the smaller efficient bulbs when there is an energy crunch. As rates go down again, people go back to purchasing the more convenient higher wattage bulbs, and forgo the inconvenience of lower wattage incandescents and fluorescents. (I’ll get to the disadvantages in a minute…)

<rant> This is what errks me, the bulbs that we see in the stores purposefully have short lives! Sometimes you can find “long life” bulbs for a higher price. It is cheaper or at least equal in price to manufacture long life bulbs than it is to make the shorter life bulbs! There is no counter argument to that! Case in point; Thomas Edison’s original light bulb still works, as do a lot of his original design production bulbs that are still around. It took an extra effort for companies marketing light bulbs to create a shorter life bulb (they burn hotter and have smaller elements…). They knew that they would sell more bulbs if they didn’t last as long. There are some neon signs around that are 70 years old and have their original tubes! Some neon tube benders purposely create less than clean tubes so they have to be replaced every 10 years or so. </rant>


Stan,

You are so right to rant about this. And this is where I feel our government should step in- not by regulating this- and other energy- industry(s), but in encouraging businesses to provide energy efficient options at reasonable rates. I know that we have options now, but it almost seems as if they are token options, something big businesses are forced to provide, but without real marketing strategies and real funding behind them. I feel it is up to the current administration (and hopefully presidential election 2008 will provide an energy savvy president) to make an issue of it and make energy efficient options and practices widespread. We aren't doing enough as a country. It's not enough to say "I'm living green," when the rest of America isn't.

Very thorough and informative post- thanks.
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:35 AM   #54
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Default Appliance effeciency...

Quote:
Risible: ... And this is where I feel our government should step in- not by regulating this- and other energy- industry(s), but in encouraging businesses to provide energy efficient options at reasonable rates. ....
Technically, the government already regulates appliances. I'm not one for lots of regulations per se either, but I don't think it would be much of a stretch legally, or overburdensom if government regulated the effeciency of appliances like they do with fuel effeciency in cars. (Which in cars we could be doing a lot better...) I saw Al Gores presentation at our university, some of our domestically made cars don't meet China's fuel effeciency standards and can't be sold there! Can you believe that?

Even our national standards for safety have been slipping lately. Have you ever noticed the "UL" organization's approval emblems on appliances? (Underwriters Laboratory) The European Union has an equivalent "CE" (I don't know what it stands for off hand...). I have been seeing lots of electronic items here that have the "CE" emblem on them and not the "UL" emblem. I read that Europe's CE standards are equivalent if not higher in some areas and that some companies aren't bothering to get UL approval.

fa_man_stan
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Old 12-09-2006, 03:24 PM   #55
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Default First harvest of the fall garden.

Dec. 9, '06, Los Angeles

First harvest of this years winter garden! . We will be eating broccoli until early spring. There are five different varieties, all selected for side branching characteristics. After the main head is cut, smaller side heads form, prolonging harvest. Also shown is the second planting of broccoli starting to size up. Risible has a third & last planting of this year's fall garden already sprouted. Succession planting eliminates having more food ready to harvest than a couple can eat. Succession planting is a strategy to prolong harvest over longer periods. Garden fresh broccoli is so tender even the stalks are delicious. Notice in the background a second planting of Sugar Snap Peas.
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Old 12-09-2006, 03:42 PM   #56
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Default Organic winter tomatoes?

Dec. 9,'06.

Organic winter tomatoes in L.A. This is a Better Boy variety which is an indeterminant, meaning they have no genetic size limitation. They will keep growing until frost kills them or when they just run out of vigor & growth slows. We have an experiment with a class of tomatoes called 'Siberian tomatoes' & they're looking pretty good so far. Winter tomatoes don't come close to summer, vine ripe fruit but beggars can't be choosers. We have had an unseasonably warm fall to date & the tomatoes have benefited. Winter gardening is a gamble on the weather. Who else has tomatoes in the winter?
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Old 12-09-2006, 04:11 PM   #57
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Default Can't wait for Sugar Snap Peas!

Dec. 9, '06

The first fall planting of Sugar Snap Peas is finally blossoming! Shown are the first sign of delicious peas to come. The Sugar Snap Pea variety is a old 'All American Selection Winner'. AAS Winner means that seed companies give new varieties to home gardners across the county for trials & ratings. The AAS Winners are chosen from the results of small home gardners in the U.S. Snap peas are like sweet corn in the sense their sugars very quickly start to convert to starches immediately upon harvesting. The taste transformation is extremely quick & dramatic. The old gardener adage is 'get the water to a boil, run outside to pick your corn, dash back inside & throw it into the water just until heated'. Same thing with Sugar Snap Peas. They are so sweet it's almost like eating candy. I know, I know, you're saying 'whatever'. As a child listening to my parents saying 'food just doesn't taste the same' I didn't appreciate what they were saying until I grew food myself in the garden. Freshly picked Sugar Snap Peas heated just until tender with a little butter is light years better than anything a gourmet cook can prepare.
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Old 12-09-2006, 04:27 PM   #58
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Here's a photo of the baby broccoli. My wife, Risible, places the little tiny seeds (the size of the tip of a pencil) in the starter cells. These are held in place by a styrofoam tray which is placed in a tray to keep them well watered. Germination for the broccoli takes just a few days, depending on the ambient warmth. We do have a heat mat inside on which we germinate seeds during the months of January and February using this same starter cell method. After the baby plants have sprouted, they are set outside to acclimate to outdoor temperatures, then transferred into the ground.

A starter tray holds 60 of the starter cells. We usually start about 48 broccoli at a time. Of these, perhaps 20-30 plants survive into adults bearing fruit. The starter trays will last years; the soil-based cells are used one time only, and are usually transferred into the ground. This is an economical and energy efficient way to start seeds.
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Old 12-09-2006, 05:43 PM   #59
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Default Enough with the bragging, now my failures.

I can't remember the last time I didn't have carrots coming out my, well I won't say. Look at my pitiful carrot crop. Carrots have tiny seeds that require very shallow planting depths to successfully sprout. The repeated cycle of sprinkling the soil to keep seedlings moist & drying causes the surface to crack apart. I mix the tiny seeds with a larger volume of sand to aid in even seed dispersal; sand also helps me see what areas need more seed coverage. A thin layer of nursery potting mix sprinkled to barely cover the carrot seeds prevents the surface from cracking & helps retain moisture. This year's carrot crop failure was caused by two strong 'Santa Ana' weather patterns. The first planting coincided with hot 100 degree Santa Ana winds with humidity levels in the teens. Even though Dee kept the planting beds watered, the tiny shallow rooted carrot seedlings were desiccated & died. I attempted a second planting but as luck would have it, same thing happened, extremely hot, dry winds. Normally this whole raised bed would be a miniature fern forest of carrots, yielding more carrots than Dee & I can eat until early spring. It's too late to plant more because they won't grow well in weather that is too cold. They would languish until warm spring weather & then the plant hormones would signal them to begin flower production. The flowers are beautiful, looking like queen ann's lace, but the carrots are like wood & bitter. Again the varieties are selected for taste & sweetness, not machine harvestable, processing & shipping characteristics. The small carrots are picked for eating, leaving 'shoulder room' for the remaining carrots. Fall planting time is critical. They need to grow to a fair size before cold weather slows their growth, which means they have to be started when there is a chance of extremely hot, dry weather. Carrots can be grown in many cold areas of the country where the summers aren't so hot & dry. They are started earlier to allow full growth before winter. In locations where the ground freezes, gardeners cover the mature carrots with a thick layer of weed seed-free straw for freeze protection. Even in the depth of winter they can go outside, part the straw & pull fresh carrots from the soil. In L.A. I wouldn't have to cover them. Carrots left in the soil will keep perfectly & they are as fresh & sweet as if they were grown in the spring.

Sure glad I don't make my living farming. One spell of bad weather could wipe you out. I have the utmost respect for our nation's unappreciated farmers. My departed uncle in western Tennessee, who was a dry farmer, had a bumper sticker on the back of his truck "Don't complain about the high cost of food with your mouth full".
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:10 PM   #60
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Default Hillside from hell...

I finally had a chance to look at the Las pilitas Nursery website. I really like the feature that you can look up the vegetation for your area by the Zip Code! Next time I head south to San Diego, I want to stop by there.

http://www.laspilitas.com/comhabit/zipcode.htm

Where I live, it seems that the most practical thing to plant will be some sort of chaparral type plant to get some roots onto our steep hillside and keep the squirrels from tearing things up. I've been sprinkling seeds from our cedar trees there (that have been falling like crazy since we had our bark beetle pines removed) on the hillside area. The cedar seeds are little "helicopter" like buds that spin when they fall, it looks cool when I sweep a whole bunch of them off of our porch. Nothing much has sprouted from the cedars in the dry areas though.

We may be high enough in elevation to look at the "yellow pine forest" vegetation, so I'll look into that some more. I would imagine it's too late in the season to expect anything to grow though...

P.S. Biodieselman, what do you do with your surplus veggies? Do you can them, or do they go into the biodiesel makings?

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:40 PM   #61
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Bio, what do you think about this? I think it's still problematic, but I don't really know much about it.

I think a cleaner jet fuel would be better, but no matter what, the flyboys are polluting our oceans with that crap, as when they go out to play their war games, they have to fly until the tanks are empty, and often dump them in the ocean when they want to go back. Found this out from the ex when he was in the Navy and we were living on the base. I found that horriffic, especially when thinking about all the jets that go out every day, and knowing that a number of them are dumping JP5 into our precious ocean.

Liquid coal: A cheaper, cleaner 21st century fuel?


By Steve James Sun Dec 17, 1:18 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When railroads ruled, it was the sweating firemen shoveling coal into the furnace who kept the engines running.

Now, nearly two centuries after Stephenson's "Rocket" steam locomotive helped usher in the Industrial Revolution, that same coal could be the fuel that keeps the jet age aloft.

But with a twist: The planes of the future could be flown with liquid fuel made from coal or natural gas.

Already the United States Air Force has carried out tests flying a B-52 Stratofortress with a coal-based fuel.

And JetBlue Airways Corp. (Nasdaq:JBLU - news) supports a bill in Congress that would extend tax credits for alternative fuels, pushing technology to produce jet fuel for the equivalent of $40 a barrel -- way below current oil prices.

Major coal mining companies in the United States, which has more coal reserves than Saudi Arabia has oil, are investing in ways to develop fuels derived from carbon.

The technology of producing a liquid fuel from coal or natural gas is hardly new. The Fischer-Tropsch process was developed by German researchers Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch in 1923 and used by Germany and Japan during World War II to produce alternative fuels. Indeed, in 1944, Germany produced 6.5 million tons, or 124,000 barrels a day.

And coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel is already in use elsewhere, like South Africa, where it meets 30 percent of transportation fuel needs.

In addition to being cheaper than oil, advocates point out that the fuel is environmentally friendlier and would also help America wean itself of foreign oil imports.

"America must reduce its dependence on foreign oil via environmentally sound and proven coal-to-liquid technologies," said JetBlue's founder and chief executive, David Neeleman. "Utilizing our domestic coal reserves is the right way to achieve energy independence."

In a recent briefing to power and energy executives, Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, said bio-diesel fuels offer little in the way of reduced carbon dioxide emissions, have enormous production costs and present "serious transmission and infrastructure" problems.

In contrast, CTL transportation fuels are substantially cleaner-burning than conventional fuels.

Popovich warned that the United States risks falling behind economic competitors such as China, which plans to spend $25 billion on CTL plants.

America is "already behind the curve" when it comes to tapping the vast liquid fuel potential that coal offers, said John Ward, of natural resources company Headwaters Inc. (NYSE:HW - news), which builds CTL plants.

He said plants in America would likely each produce 40,000 barrels of CTL fuel per day, with a typical plant using 8.5 million tons of coal per year. In contrast, China is focused on building plants capable of producing 60,000 barrels of CTL fuel per day, he said.

"There is significant investor interest in what could be a major growth opportunity," said Paul Clegg, an alternative energy analyst with Natexis Bleichroeder.

"It is a viable technology, but the question is where do hydrocarbon prices go now? Will we continue to see oil above $40 a barrel forever?"

In October, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and a consortium of energy and technology companies announced the state will be home to one of America's first CTL energy plants.

The $1 billion Bull Mountain plant is slated to produce 22,000 barrels per day of diesel fuel and 300 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power 240,000 homes -- in six years.

Schweitzer and the companies behind the plant, including Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI - news) and DKRW Advanced Fuels LLC, say the production of fuel and electricity will not release the greenhouse gases associated with coal-generated electricity.

Arch has a 25-percent stake in DKRW and the companies are also developing a CTL plant in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. More...
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Old 12-18-2006, 07:56 AM   #62
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I'm slowly buying supplies for my first container garden. Actually, I've been looking around my house for containers that aren't being used, and modifying them as needed. With my new Dremel, I've aerated an old Rubbermaid filing container, two of those huge plastic bins, some old plastic containers that I was using to organize my pantry, and two 5 gallon buckets. Home Depot is having a sale on their orange 5 gallon buckets right now, so I'll be picking up two more of those for potatoes!

The current plan is a salsa garden: tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, green onions, yellow onions and jalepenos. We haven't decided on varieties, but we wanted to plan what to put in what barrels.

And a salad garden: romaine lettuce, radishes, green peppers, cucumber, grape tomatoes.

And I think Biodiesel's snap peas look divine! That's so tempting, too.
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Old 12-18-2006, 08:40 PM   #63
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Default One flight from NY to LA makes one ton of CO2 per passenger.

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I think a cleaner jet fuel would be better, but no matter what, the flyboys are polluting our oceans with that crap, as when they go out to play their war games, they have to fly until the tanks are empty, and often dump them in the ocean when they want to go back.
Commercial flights also dump excess fuel at high enough altitudes over U.S. soil so that the fuel evaporates before hitting the ground & they dump excess fuel over the ocean before landing as a safety precaution to reduce fire risk in the event of a crash. BTW, I've read that one flight from New York to L.A. produces one ton of CO2, greenhouse gas, per passenger. Speed has a high polution cost.

L.A. Times, Dec. 16, '06 page C1

'A B-52 bomber took off...with all eight of its engines running on synthetic fuel, the first time that a U.S. military aircraft has flown without the kerosene formula... Jet fuel went from 75 cents a gallon in 2001 to $2.01 last year...The U.S. military is the world's largest buyer of fuel, consuming 8 billion gallons a year. The Air Force alone spent $5 billion on fuel last year... U.S. airlines spent more than $33 billion on fuel last year and passed the cost on to passengers.'

The military has been testing synthetic fuel for almost a year now & the commercial airlines are keeping a close watch. The tests have been successful. The fuel used is a 50-50 blend of traditional jet fuel & synthetic. The fuel for the trials was made from natural gas but future fuel will be made from coal using a variation of the Fischer/Tropcsh process.

On a couple of side notes. The military has been using biodiesel blends in some of their diesel engines already. Coal To Liquid fuel is nowhere as clean burning as biodiesel made from plants or algae nor is CTL a renewable energy source.

Isn't it ironic that the military needs Middle East fuel to fight for stable Middle East fuel sources?
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:58 PM   #64
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Default Succession planting.

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P.S. Biodieselman, what do you do with your surplus veggies? Do you can them, or do they go into the biodiesel makings?

fa_man_stan
I wish I could grow enough soybeans for biodiesel. You would never hear the end of my bragging!

When I lived in San Diego my house had a much bigger lot than I have now in L.A.. I was a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers Society. The back yard had a small area of grass for the kids to play on & the rest was vegetable garden & rare fruit trees. The front yard was an English cottage garden style mix of drought tolerant perennial flowers & of course, more rare fruit trees tolerant of drought, no water thirsty grass.

I carefully selected various types of fruit tree varieties that produced at different times over a prolonged season to prevent having too much at any one time. Over the years I've learned to plant multiple small plantings of vegetables every 4 to 6 weeks to prevent having too much at once. I've heard old timers say that if you didn't lose some of your first planting & last planting, you weren't planting soon enough or late enough. It's hard work to can food, I know, my Mother made me help! I don't expect a SSBBW to sweat all day in a hot kitchen, canning food.

No matter how well I plan, there are times when there is just too much to eat. I share my excess vegetables with several of the neighbors. I hate to see it go to waste. An older couple from India that walks for exercise will return with exotic dishes cooked with my vegetables.

All I have now for trees are two Asian pears, one peach, one navel orange, one tangerine, one lemon & one lime. I'm looking for more room for more trees!
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Old 12-18-2006, 11:19 PM   #65
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VERY frustrating and disheartening.

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Isn't it ironic that the military needs Middle East fuel to fight for stable Middle East fuel sources?
Yeah, no lie. We should have had alternative means of energy, for homes, businesses and transportation decades ago, and would have were it not for special interest groups and lobbyists.

And I wouldn't blame you for bragging if you could grow enough soy beans for your fuel! How cool would that be.

The rare fruit trees sound fabulous! And you're right, canning is a real pain in the rear; some love it, but not I. It sounds like you treat your Dee so well. As I get to know her better I'm finding that she deserves every bit of it.
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:36 PM   #66
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I'm slowly buying supplies for my first container garden. Actually, I've been looking around my house for containers that aren't being used, and modifying them as needed. With my new Dremel, I've aerated an old Rubbermaid filing container, two of those huge plastic bins, some old plastic containers that I was using to organize my pantry, and two 5 gallon buckets. Home Depot is having a sale on their orange 5 gallon buckets right now, so I'll be picking up two more of those for potatoes!

The current plan is a salsa garden: tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, green onions, yellow onions and jalepenos. We haven't decided on varieties, but we wanted to plan what to put in what barrels.

And a salad garden: romaine lettuce, radishes, green peppers, cucumber, grape tomatoes.

And I think Biodiesel's snap peas look divine! That's so tempting, too.

Missa,

I had PM'd you yesterday about your container garden, but Bio pointed out that I should warn you about growing potatoes. I thought that was probably a good idea and that I could give you the example of our potato-growing experiment.

We ordered seed potatoes from Johnny's Seeds, Russian fingerlings I believe they were, and they were kinda expensive, like $16 for a 2-pound bag of these shriveled potatoes. So we cut them up, because its the eye of the potato that you sprout, and planted them accordingly. They germinated just fine and the potato bushes grew beautifully. Many of our garden vegetables mature and then decline between 2-3 months, so you gotta pick the crop at the right time or else they'll begin to wither on the vine or stalk or whatever. They'll be off-peak. So we dug the potatoes up at the suggested interval and they didn't seem to have ripened, and we let them grow for another month or so. We dug them up after that and several of the bushes hadn't produced at all. The ones that did produce yielded just a few of these tiny little potatoes. I thinked we satueed them with garlic and they were delicious. But only about a half-serving each. In fact, the yield didn't even match the number of potatoes we had begun with!

Turns out, potatoes need a specific climate and conditions in order to grow and yield decently. We're not going to try potatoes again. Another disappointing crop was peanuts. Same thing- expensive to begin with, sprouted and grew fine, but little yield.

Tomatos and peppers are best bought at Home Depot or Armstrong's in order to gain time. Most other vegetables are easy to grow from seed. I've found the plants I'm able to germinate from seeds are stronger and better acclimated than store-bought plants.

Here are links to those catalogs I was telling you about:

http://www.parkseed.com/
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/
http://www.burpee.com/

Have fun! We're anxious to hear about the progress! With pictures !
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Old 01-01-2007, 04:12 PM   #67
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What a great thread. I'm going to keep watching this one.

I am a little OCD about conservation in a very basic, low-scale way. Things that I usually do:

--Half of my lightbulbs are the energy saving kind. All of them would be, except I don't light flourescent light as much as incandescent. So I mix them, and then I don't notice the difference as much. And of course I turn off the lights when I leave a room-- it's cheaper.

--I have filled up some empty beer bottles and placed them in the corner of the tank of my toilet. The space they take up means that I use less water per flush.

--I shower every other day, using less water. This is not for everyone, but I don't find a daily shower all that necessary unless I've been to the gym or it's in the summertime and I'm spending a lot of time outside sweating.

--I'm not vegetarian, but I try to avoid purchasing meat. Cattle runoff really pollutes water tables; chicken and pigs do to a lesser degree as well! Fish, I have heard, are not so bad for the environment, so I will often buy that-- it is much healthier than other meats, besides. Soy products are supposes to be healthier for the environment, but only if they are farmed properly. If farmers do not rotate their crops, soy beans suck all the nutrients out of the soil and then fertilizers must be used, again poisoning groundwater. Can anyone confirm what I am saying on these things? I learn about conservation mostly by word of mouth, which is not always a reliable source.

--I don't compost because I don't have a garden, but I do throw most of biodegradable refuse out in the woods behind my apartment. It's not much, but I figure every little bit helps, and I already said that I was a bit of the OCD.
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Old 01-01-2007, 04:17 PM   #68
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I'm treating my kid to some fun outside the hotels of Vegas for a change on Wednesday. I found this Living Machine and Cactus Garden at the Ethel M chocolate factory and figured his interest in conservation will be interested in this!
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:41 PM   #69
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What a great thread. I'm going to keep watching this one...I am a little OCD about conservation in a very basic, low-scale way...It's not much, but I figure every little bit helps...
Great ideas. No need to feel that your efforts aren't enough, no one is perfect in all aspects of being green. You do what you can. Awareness itself is a major step. Congratulations for your efforts. Another suggestion I read on being green is 'Spread the word, tell five friends'.

Jan. 1, '07

New Year's eve, I finished planting the last of my winter garden. I have ten raised beds, one of which Risible took over from me for her flowers. I stagger plantings about six weeks apart to avoid having too much to harvest at one time. The photo shows the last bed being planted with the third crop of broccoli.

The first broccoli crop is in full production & I've had only one head with a very minor aphid infestation. Being organic, bugs happen. Risible insists that I wear my glasses so that I can see the tiny little sap suckers. They wash off with cold water.

My carrots were a disappointment this year. The late hot fall weather took a heavy toll on their sprouting. We have only a few that made it. See Risible's post for pics in the 'Foodee Board' in 'Every day food pics' thread here, #417.

We have two plantings of the Sugar Snap Peas variety. The seeds for the first planting were eaten by birds. I created a 'Backyard Wildlife Habitat' so that critters would help my with insect control & well, because I love critters. http://www.nwf.org/backyard/. My back yard isn't officially registered because I'm cheap. I don't use insecticide because the birds will eat the chemicals & the American song bird population is already terribly stressed enough from cat predation. I don't mind sharing my food with critters that help me with harmful insects. The second crop looks really good. The first only gave us a taste of what's to come.

I'm still getting tomatoes from the Better Boy variety planted early spring. You can see why I select varieties that are indeterminate. They have no genetically determined size & will keep growing until a killing frost nukes them. The 'Siberian' varieties are looking good with some having fruit with shoulders starting to 'blush'.

I planted more flowers in bed #1 that Risible had pre-sprouted in her little greenhouse seed starter kits. I guess I like the flowers too.

We have citrus one each, Washington navel orange, Satsuma tangerines & Bearss lime that ripen during the winter. The Eureka lemon bears year round.

Well I'm done planting for the year of '06 but we expect to have produce until late winter/early spring. The seed catalogs are already arriving in the mail & we're already dreaming of what to plant this spring.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:45 AM   #70
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Wink Reduce!!!

Thank you for starting this thread and all of the great information.

What drives me nuts, and I try my hardest to avoid, is having lights and appliances on that don't need to be on.

If you're not in the room, turn the lights off. If you're not using your computer for a few hours, turn it off (a standard desktop can use between 250-400 Watts, more than several lightbulbs). Mind the temperatures of your refrigerator and freezer, and try to keep them full, for greater efficiency.

Plan your trips with your car, and when possible, just say no to automobile travel. That may mean adding "moving to a place with mass transit" to the ten-year plan.

Talk with friends, family, and acquaintances about your greenness, or at least your attempts at it. Without being overly confrontational, ask questions to get people to consider adopting new habits.

Oh, and save money on heat at night by turning the thermostat down and snuggling. If you have no current snuggling partner, go get a good one and do your part for the environment.

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Old 01-02-2007, 10:23 AM   #71
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Oh, and save money on heat at night by turning the thermostat down and snuggling. If you have no current snuggling partner, go get a good one and do your part for the environment.
Agreed. And on the nights when I don't have one, I just shut my bedroom door and it keeps heat from escaping to the colder half of my apartment (my bedroom is underground and retains heat better). It's also a good idea to seal up your windows in the winter using kits you can find pretty easily at hardware stores or wal-mart.
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Old 01-02-2007, 10:25 AM   #72
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I don't even turn my heater on. I let the heat from cooking be the only thermal induction in the house. I also boil water for moisture in the winter, so the warm hudmidity makes it a little more comfortable.

In the desert summer at 120 degrees, I open the windows at night to let in the 80 degree night time weather, then close up the windows at noon when it's unberable, and run the AC until midnight again.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:37 PM   #73
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Default Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

A few suggestions to Reduce energy usage. Many you've heard before, and several in this thread, but they bear repeating.

1. Change the 5 or so most used light bulbs to fluorescent.

2. Put your electronic battery chargers on an old computer plug strip. Cell phone, portable phone, camera battery, ect. have voltage transformers that consume energy even though they aren't being used. Have a charging station where they can all be turned off by the plug strip when not in use. These are called 'ghost' energy users. Time LED displays, DVD players, home entertainment equipment & all the electronic stuff we have these days use power 7/24 365 days/yr.

3. Put your computer on stand-by if leaving for a while.

4. Look for the 'Energy Star' labels when replacing appliances.

5. Buy fresh not frozen food. Frozen food consumes 10 times the energy of fresh due to refrigeration costs.

6. Buy locally grown food if possible. Eliminate transportation fuel usage.

7. Take advantage of local utility company 'energy audits' if available.

8. Change your furnace filter. I'm serious!

9. Consider joining 'Stop Global Warming Virtual March'. http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/default.asp

10. Spread the word, tell 5 friends.

Does anyone else have examples on how you Reduce-Reuse-Recycle?
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Old 01-04-2007, 07:40 PM   #74
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I use low energy lightbulbs in every light in my house, ceiling pendants and table lamps. I use 20 watt bulbs in the pendants (equiv to 100 watt) and 11 watt bulbs in my lamps (equiv to 60 watts).

I have double glazed windows but they were quite draughty so I had draughtproofing felt strips put round them all, and also draught proofing strips put at the bottom of each door in the house. I also have had extra loft insulation put in. Blackout blinds and good curtain liners stop lots of heat escaping in the winter and heat building up in the summer. All of this has made the house much more energy efficient and warmer in the cold weather, meaning the heating doesn't cost so much.

I know some people don't like microwave ovens, but i make good use of mine. It takes 90% less energy to cook food in it, and veg come out beautifully, keeping most of the flavour and goodness.

If you use an electric kettle for boiling water, always only put the amount of water you need in. Boiling a litre when you only need 300ml for a cup of tea is so wasteful, and takes longer too.

I dont have a garden, but I buy StayFresh Longer bags to store veg in the fridge, and it keeps them fresh for several weeks so I am not wasting food.
http://www.lakelandlimited.co.uk/pro...1932_1094_1092

I have tried to give up bleach but I found it too hard when cleaning the toilet (my bad i know!) so I put one fifth bleach and four fifths water into a spray bottle and use that to clean the toilet, spray then scrub. Still better than pouring gobs of straight bleach down the pan.

Some toilet cisterns use a lot of water. A house brick placed carefully into the cistern reduces the amount of water used each flush.

I dry lots of laundry over heaters or on clothes horses then just use the dryer to fluff them up for a few minutes at the end.

I never leave appliances on standby, always turn them off properly when not in use.

Very frustratingly I cannot recycle as i would love to, as my local City Council keep refusing to put recycling bins in our bin shelters. There is no recycling station within walking distance of my house and I have no car. I do save all glass and bag it and give it to a friend when she visits to drop at the bottle bank, but with a small apartment and no storage spaces, I cant recycle any more. However i am keeping on at my local Council and contacting my local Councillor and will not give up til we get recycling bins for each building.

I do believe that one of the biggest things we can all do to help effect a more environmentally responsible attitude all round, is to keep on the backs of our local City Councils to provide recycling stations, bins, information on energy efficiency for householders, etc etc. Pester power is a great thing.

Last edited by Ruby Ripples; 01-04-2007 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 01-07-2007, 11:51 AM   #75
Wayne_Zitkus
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Default GM shows Chevy plug-in concept (new hybrid car)

Something like this may make sense for me. I have a relatively short commute (7 1/2 miles each way), so the gas engine would probably never be used.

Quote:
GM shows Chevy plug-in concept

Volt runs on elecricity, uses gas engine as back-up generator.

POSTED: 9:34 a.m. EST, January 7, 2007



DETROIT (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors will unveil a plug-in hybird vehicle Sunday that, the company says, offers a preview of a high-mileage vehicle platform that GM could use in future vehicles.

The Chevrolet Volt, which is driven by electricity alone, uses a small three-cylinder gasoline engine only to recharge its batteries. The batteries can also be charged by plugging into an ordinary electrical outlet.

Starting with a full charge, the car could theoretically operate for about 40 miles at suburban street speeds without needing to burn any gasoline at all.

It would take about 6.5 hours to fully charge the Volt's batteries from an outlet. The vehicle could, however, be driven without a full charge but would need to rely on its gasoline engine sooner.

Unlike other hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, the Volt's gasoline engine would never power the car's wheels. Instead, it would recharge the car's batteries if needed while the car would continue to run on electric power alone.

The Volt's electric motor can produce up to 121 kilowatts

<more>

http://www.cnn.com/2007/AUTOS/01/07/...ept/index.html
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