Where there is a will there is a way

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Moss graffiti or garden decor

Spotted on do the green thing, Anna Garforth's beautiful use of it:

Original tutorial is here:

Several clumps of moss
1 pot of natural yoghurt
or 12oz buttermilk (experiment to see which works best)
1/2 tsp of sugar
Plastic pot
(with a lid)
Paint brush
Spray mist
- If growing you're moss inside you will also need a seed tray containing compost

1 - Horticulturist's of the past came up with a brilliant recipe to encourage the growth of moss to age and add interest to their garden designs, this recipe can be used as an an environmentally friendly alternative to spray paint. The success of the recipe itself can be very hit and miss and is very much dependent upon choosing exactly the right location and weather conditions; moss thrives in the damp and can most often be found growing near to a leaky drainpipe or rain-soaked wall. If you have difficulty finding the right climate in which to grow your moss, grow it indoors (where it can be frequently spray-misted with water) and transplant it outdoors as soon as it has begun to grow.

2 - Moss can often be found growing in damp areas, between the cracks in paving stones, on drainpipe covers or, in this example, near to a riverbank.

3 - Gather several clumps of moss in a bag and take them to a place where you can easily wash them

4 - Carefully clean the moss of as much mud as possible.

5 - Place some of the moss, the buttermilk (or yoghurt) and sugar into a blender and start to mix. This must be done in small phases as the moss can easily get caught in the blades of blender. Keep blending until you have a green milkshake with the texture of a thick smoothie. Pour the mixture into a plastic container.

6 - Paint your chosen design onto your chosen location or (if growing indoors) on top of a flattened layer of compost in a seed tray.

7 - Ensure that your moss design is kept moist by spray-misting it with water regularly. After a few weeks the moss should start to re-constitute and grow.

8 - If growing moss indoors transfer it to a suitable location (where it is likely to be kept damp) outdoors. Return regularly to the location and see its progress, spray-misting it if it starts to dry out.

13-Year-Old Makes Solar Power Breakthrough by Harnessing the Fibonacci Sequence - spotted on Inhabitat.com

by Andrew Michler, 08/19/11.

Spotted on http://inhabitat.com/13-year-old-makes-solar-power-breakthrough-by-harnessing-the-fibonacci-sequence/

QUOTH:While most 13-year-olds spend their free time playing video games or cruising Facebook, one 7th grader was trekking through the woods uncovering a mystery of science. After studying how trees branch in a very specific way, Aidan Dwyer created a solar cell tree that produces 20-50% more power than a uniform array of photovoltaic panels. His impressive results show that using a specific formula for distributing solar cells can drastically improve energy generation. The study earned Aidan a provisional U.S patent - it's a rare find in the field of technology and a fantastic example of how biomimicry can drastically improve design.

Aidan Dwyer took a hike through the trees last winter and took notice of patterns in the mangle of branches. His studies into how they branch in very specific ways lead him to a central guiding formula, the Fibonacci sequence. Take a number, add it to the number before it in a sequence like 1+1=2 then 2+1=3 then 3+2=5, 8, 13, 21 and so on a very specific pattern emerges.

It turns out that the pattern and its corresponding ratios are reflected in nature all the time, and Aidan’s keen observation of how trees branch according to the formula lead him to test the theory. First he measured tree branches by how often they branch and at what degree from each other.

To see why they branch this way he built a small solar array using the Fibonacci formula, stepping cells at specific intervals and heights. He then compared the energy output with identical cells set in a row.
Aidan reports the results: “The Fibonacci tree design performed better than the flat-panel model. The tree design made 20% more electricity and collected 2 1/2 more hours of sunlight during the day."

"But the most interesting results were in December, when the Sun was at its lowest point in the sky. The tree design made 50% more electricity, and the collection time of sunlight was up to 50% longer!"

His work is certainly piquing the interest of the solar industry, and even more impressively he is demonstrating the power of biomimicry -- a concept that many see as the pinnacle of good design, but one that thus far has been exceptionally difficult to achieve. Way to go!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - Chris Hedges Shuts Down CBC's Kevin O'Leary

Obama clip on CBC: "I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel, that we have the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across mainstream, and, yet, we are still seeing the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight effortts to crack down on abusive practices that got us in this problem in the first place."

A polished female presenter speaks, the label Lang & O'Leary Exchange soon appearing in a graphic.

Presenter: "That was President Obama commenting on the growing frustration being expressed by the Occupy Wall Street movement protesters. That movement is spreading to cities across the United States, and across the border to Canada starting next week. Chris Hedges is a Pullitzer Prize winning reporter and author, and participant at the Occupy Wall Street rally at New York last week and in Washington today. He joins us from our Washington Bureau."

Graphics read "Toronto" on her box, "Washington" on his.

"So Mr. Hedges, you were a participant in this protest? How would you describe your role in this movement?"

Chris Hedges - a graphic reads, Author, "The world as it is": "I'm not an organizer, I'm speaking tonight at the rally in Washington, and I've given interviews and participated in events in New York."

Interviewer box suddenly pops back featuring male instead of earlier female questioner. His tone of voice is highly suggestive.

Kevin O'Leary: "So what exactly is everyone complaining about, and is - also, can you give me a sense of how much momentum this movement has, because it looks pretty nothing whatever so far, a few guys, guitars, no-one knows what they want, they can't even name the name of the firms they are protesting against, very weak, low budget."

Chris Hedges: "I wouldn't agree with that assessment at all. They pulled thousands of people into the street last night, and here in Washington when everyone marched past the Bank of America, then knew, they were shouting, 'Shame, shame, shame', they know the names of these firms and they know what these firms have done; not only to the American economy but to the global economy and to the criminal class who runs them."

Female presenter, sounding patient: "Well, Kevin made this point of, you know, nobody knows what they want. What do you think of that? I mean we know that this is a very diverse group, there are many different agendas at play, what is the sense you have of what this movement would like to see happen?"

Chris Hedges, clearly: "Well they know precisely what they want. They want to reverse the corporate coup that's taken place in the United States, and rendered the citizenry impotent, and they won't stop until that happens. And frankly, if we don't break the back of corporations, we're all finished anyways, since they're rapidly trashing the eco-system on which the human species depends for survival."

"This is literally, a fight, for life. It's that grave, it's that serious. Corporations on federal capitalism is as Karl Marx understood is a revolutionary force, it commodifies everything, human beings, the natural world, which it exploits for profit, until exhaustion or collapse..."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Artist's Gypsy Wagon (from the Flying Tortoise)

Spotted at http://theflyingtortoise.blogspot.com/2011/10/artists-gypsy-wagon.html

The Flying Tortoise is a blogger who lives the nomadic life in his caravan, around New Zealand. He often posts about other gypsies.

Wandering Book Artists Peter and Donna are from Northern California and travel the US in their wonderfully whimsical sixteen foot gypsy wagon. They've been together since 1976 when they were craftspeople working at Renaissance Fairs. Making paper, doing letterpress printing, bookbinding and creating beautiful unique books affords them a good life on the road. They love living in their small space,to them it's a mixture of a boat and a caravan. And, it's like living in a fairy tale..." - The Flying Tortoise

"Beware of being co-opted" - Saifedean Ammous to Occupy Wall Street protesters on RT's Keiser Report

Skip to 12:47 of video below to see Max Keiser of RT's Keiser Report (198) interview Doctor Saifedean Ammous, in Beirut, Lebanon. Saifedean Ammous is a visiting scholar at the Centre for Capitalism and Society at Columbia University / a lecturer in Economics at the Lebanese American University / and has written a piece called "Mubarak's Odious Debts.

Interesting words I heard mentioned in this report were "corporatism" versus "capitalism".

When talking about the Occupy Wall Street protest, Doctor Ammous expressed concerns that the movement would be co-opted back into the mainstream, as in the past, the anti-war movement (Iraq war) was strong at first in America - e.g. Obama came in on that tide, but the movement was co-opted back into the mainstream by the time he was in power. When pressed to summarize his message for protesters, Doctor Saifedean Ammous finally said "Beware of being co-opted."

Then, over on "crazy channel" last night (corporate propaganda channel Fox & Friends), they were raving about how much money the Occupy Wall Street protesters had amassed - apparently they had $700,000 dollars in a bank account. And someone on Fox & Friends had seen a protester walking around with a Starbucks coffee, which devalidated the entire movement since Starbucks is a corporation. The "Friends" were in a fervour suggesting that the only reason behind the uprising was the profits - which is ridiculous.

A few days ago as well, I saw their biased "news reporting" of the protest when they chose to only show two photos. One was of a meth addict lying under a tarp, and the other was of a man showing several onlookers how to get out of handcuffs, including a young boy (looked about 12). They made alot of the two photos that they had managed to get of the diverse gathering, saying "So, the protesters are meth addicts and criminals..."

I am shocked that anyone could think this passes as news, but looking at it psychologically, I think the channel is revealing how afraid they (the corporations) are, as Fox & Friends serves the corporations' needs. People are actually rising up, it's out of their control - and the "Friends" are in a panic.


PS - You can follow "saifedean" on Twitter. I am!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anadarko in NZ (US deep sea oil exploration vessel)

Photo from Greenpeace Aotearoa on FB. "Greenpeace activists...protest in front of the Polarcus Alima in Port Taranaki late this afternoon. It is due to leave shortly to start exploring for deep sea oil off Raglan on behalf of the US oil giant Anadarko. Greenpeace NZ is campaigning against the Government’s sell-off of deep water drilling rights in New Zealand." Greenpeace / Amos Chapple

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Found at http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/news/blog/police-protect-us-oil-giant-anadarkos-survey-/blog/37357/

Police protect US oil giant Anadarko's survey vessel in Port Taranaki "Blogpost" by Nick Young, October 17, 2011 at 11:13,
This morning, a team of Greenpeace activists were met by an overwhelming police presence at the Port of Taranaki.

Early this morning the Polarcus Alima - a survey vessel chartered by the US oil giant Anadarko - slipped in to the Port of Taranaki.

They no doubt hoped to keep a low profile before embarking on their scheduled assignment to explore for deep sea oil reserves off the coast of Raglan but we cannot let this go unnoticed. This is the pointy end of the looming deep sea oil rush in New Zealand coastal waters.

Greenpeace had a small team there to meet it with a peaceful protest but the police seem unusually interested in preventing anything coming between Anadarko and New Zealand’s promised deep sea oil reserves. How did they know we were coming? We’re not sure. But what is clear is that someone is determined to keep any protest well away from the Polarcus Alima, including the news that they are in town.

The situation is still unfolding so watch this space.

John Key was completely wrong when he said there there is no correlation between the Rena oil spill and his Government’s deep sea oil drilling plans. Anyone with even a modicum of common sense can see that.

The Rena has spewed oil into the Bay of Plenty and demonstrated with jarring clarity just how damaging an oil spill can be, and just how impossible it is to prevent the damage once the oil has spilled.

Deep sea oil drilling would expose New Zealand’s coastline to catastrophic oil spills.

So to push ahead with dangerous deep sea oil drilling as oil continues to wash ashore on beaches in the Bay of Plenty adds insult to injury.

If the Anadarko’s survey is successful, the drilling of wildcat oil wells off Raglan could begin as early as next year, in waters possibly even deeper than the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Anadarko were part owners of the ill fated Deepwater Horizon well which leaked 780 million litres of oil into the Gulf of Mexico last year. By comparison the Rena spill represents about 2 teaspoonfuls of the bucket that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and we are struggling to deal with even that.

The ship will later go on to prospect in deepwater areas off Stewart Island, a formidable area for weather let alone oil prospecting, in a permit area due to be taken over by Shell Oil.

It’s time for the government to stop spending millions enticing the deep sea oil industry to New Zealand.

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The following photos in this post were posted by Greenpeace Aotearoa's Facebook presence:

"The Polarcus Alima arrives at Taranaki Port. It is due to leave shortly to start exploring for deep sea oil off Raglan on behalf of the US oil giant Anadarko." Greenpeace/Amos Chapple

"The Polarcus Alima arrives at Taranaki Port. It is due to leave shortly to start exploring for deep sea oil off Raglan on behalf of the US oil giant Anadarko." Greenpeace/Amos Chapple


September Garden

Cleared out and made way for new things....

Monday, October 10, 2011

How to Make Buns (Bread-Rolls) At Home Easily Using a Breadmaker (avoid the plastic bags from buying them in a grocery store)

I use a breadmaker to make our daily bread - just to avoid the millions of plastic bags. BUT in doing so, we often have the smell of fresh bread in our home, can add cool ingredients to the bread. Also, we know what we are eating.

So that's the bread - BUT my husband also likes to get those really fluffy white buns with sesame seeds on the top, which happen to be sold in non-recyclable clear plastic bags. Living sustainably shouldn't have to mean losing out on things like fluffy buns - at least, sacrificing all the time will mean that my family will revolt. So, I schemed a way to regularly have buns without all the plastic. And a realistically easy way as well - breadmakers take all the time out of kneading the bread and waiting for it to rise - something you do twice with bread-rolls.

You will need:
4 tsp yeast
450g white flour (I replace 25g with this with wheat germ, makes it healthier)
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp milk powder
4 tbsp butter (or margarine)
1.5 tsp sugar
270mL water

Permanent items:
1 good quality breadmaker (It's worth getting good tools, trust me.)
1 scale

Do this:

Measure ingredients and throw them in the breadmaker metal tin. (Make sure you have the kneading blade in first - I have actually forgotten this a few times after cleaning it.)

Set your breadmaker on the appropriate "dough" mode. My dough mode takes 2 hours and 20 minutes.

After the dough is done, it will have risen in the doughmaker. Either right away or within a couple of hours, throw some flour onto a surface, and throw the dough onto it. Skwoosh it down, making sure the flour touches the sticky dough before your hands. Knead it and punch it down and cut off bits with a plastic spatula, or with your hands, and make little balls. I place them into a greased pan with sides so they can rise up contained, not just splatting out in every direction, similar to the ones you buy bagged at the store. I fit eight balls into each large bread loaf tin.

Then you cover them with either a plastic bag you are trying to get rid of, which is greased, or you could use tin foil - or paper - something so that the balls don't dry out as they are rising again. Let them rise to double the size (could be half an hour, or more).

Then you brush beaten egg on the tops, and throw some sesame seeds all over them (the egg will stick them on), and bake them. They will bake quickly - 180 degrees Celsius for 10-20 minutes or until golden brown.

They will be just as good, or better than those "boughten" rolls!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Noam Chomsky interviewed by RT - "It's about time for some protest"

Can I just say I love Noam Chomsky? He is for politics what David Suzuki is for the environment.

He is renowned in his field as well - a famous linguist. And a brave magic person.

Check out what he says about the Wall Street protest, Obama, other current political situations in this interview by RT's Marina Portnaya, which aired October 2, 2011:

Text from the interview:

Marina Portnaya: RT's sitting down with world-renowned scholar, linguist, author and MIT professor, Noam Chomsky. Professor Chomsky, thank-you very much for taking the time to speak with our team.

Noam Chomsky: Glad to be with you.

Marina Portnaya: The first issue I want to speak with you about is the recent clashes that have taken place on Wall Street between Americans who are turning out to demonstrate and police officers. From what I read you recently sent a message to support the activists of this group called Occupy Wall Street, you've called them courageous, and honourable; could you just talk to me about your take on Occupy Wall Street?

Noam Chomsky: Well, Wall Street is just a shorthand for the financial institutions. The banks are bigger and richer than before, corporate profits are reaching record levels, and for much of - and unemployment today is about the level of the Great Depression, real unemployment.

These people are saying 'Oh let's blame the corporates and the institutions behind them, so... fiscal policies like taxation, rules of corporate governance, deregulation and so on. It does set in motion a vicious cycle which is getting worse and worse, in New York, walk down the streets and you can see it, very serious poverty, on the other hand phenomenal wealth, right side by side, very much like a third world country. It's what you see if you go to sub-Saharan Africa, and while infrastructure is collapsing, schools are collapsing, and all of that increases the - it keeps the cycle going and in fact rising. Well, it's about time for some protest.
Marina Portnaya: What may be new, in the coming year, for the 2012 election is that many, including yourself, have speculated and assumed that the campaign spending for the US election in 2012 will exceed 1 billion dollars.

Noam Chomsky: For each candidate.
Marina Portnaya: For each candidate. That is a massive amount of money.

Noam Chomsky: It'll probably be much bigger than that. And where does that come from? Well, you know, basically alot of it comes from financial institutions. In fact if you look at the 2008 election, what's won Obama, what gave him the election was primarily financial institution contributions - they preferred him to McCain. They expected to be paid back, and they were. And the next one will be even worse, and certainly that's only a part of it. In parliamentary systems, including our own, up 'til maybe - 20 years ago, positions of influence in a functioning parliamentary system, let's say - chair of a committee, comes from - principally at least - from experience, seniority, legislative contributions and so on - that's gone. Now they're bought. If you want to become chair of a committee in the House of the Senate, you have to pay off the Party. You have to pay for it. And where to you get the money to pay for it? Same pockets. You know, so - provides even more influence to the already overwhelming influence of concentrated capital.

So it's harder and harder to distinguish between the elected officials and economic concentration - it never was easy to distinguish I should say, this is not something novel - but now it's reaching an extreme level.
Marina Portnaya: But what's left of America's democratic system if this is the process that has been cemented in place, I mean, what is really left if, if, from every angle there is these financial institutions?

Noam Chomsky: Well, just take a look at public opinion, they'll tell you. About two-thirds of the public thinks that the entire congress ought to be thrown out.
Marina Portnaya: But that doesn't mean that it's going to happen!

Noam Chomsky: No, but it means that the system isn't working; and the public knows it. The popularity of - favourability rating for congress is in the single digits, [for the] President, not much higher, and the same runs across all other institutions. It's a very widespread sense that everything is going wrong.

That tells you the democratic system is just not functioning. Now in fact, I don't want to suggest that this is totally new, so you, you go back a century, and you can still predict throughout all this period pretty well the outcome of elections by campaign funding. But there are degrees.

And now it's gotten extreme, the levels to which the US has departed from other capitalist societies are pretty remarkable.
Marina Portnaya: You released a book recently called "9/11, was there an alternative?" focusing on the US assassination of Osama Bin Laden and the continuity, you say, between George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Noam Chomsky: I'm telling you that Osama Bin Laden is an interesting case. It was done in such a way as to infuriate the Pakistanis, which is extremely dangerous - that's the most dangerous country in the world [if you]go into it, they have a professional army committed to the sovereignty of Pakistan, and Pakistanis were already oerwhelmingly anti-American; this shoots it through the stratosphere.

The army is bitterly angry, not only at the invasion of the country and the murder of someone on their soil but also that they're being pressured, forced, to take part in an American war in Afghanistan. Some of the not-so conservative military analysts who wrote about the Bin Laden assassination, I quoted some of them, pointed out quite accurately that a shift between Bush's policies and Obama's on this, Bush - Bush's policy was to kidnap people, whatever they thought about them, they'd tak'em to Guantanimo or Abu Graib or some other torture chamber, and they'll try to extract some information out of them - we know what that was like, I don't have to describe it - Obama's policy is just to kill them. They're killing them all over the world - that's targeted assassination campaigns, you don't have to kidnap and torture them, just kill them, and the Bin Laden assassination was a case in point.

It's hard to remember, but there used to be a system of justice in the West, which said if a person is a suspect, until he's proven guilty, until then - he's a suspect - he's innocent until proven guilty. Well, that's gone. Now you just kill them if you think they're guilty. So he was apprehended - no resistance, he was alone, with his wife, no defence, nothing - highly trained commandos could certainly have apprehended him. They didn't, they were under orders to murder and then toss his body into the ocean - acts that are almost designed in such a way as to increase anger and hatred throughout the Muslim world, in fact, among anyone who's got their eyes open.
Marina Portnaya: You talk about the Obama administration and how the US actions right now could be infuriating the Muslim world, the Arab world. The Obama administration has supported the Tunisians, has supported the Egyptians, has supported the Libyans, and the so-called Arab Spring. The Palestinians have officially submitted an application for UN membership and statehood. The US says that they will cast a veto against it if they have to because they believe that direct negotiation should take place between Palestine and Israel before there's an independent Palestine.

Noam Chomsky: Well, first of all I have to make a qualification: the United States and its Western allies did not support the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, they opposed them - they backed the dictator - and Tunisia was mostly France, that's their colony, (?)'s colony - the United States and Birming(?), they supported the dictator's until the last minute, and when the army turned against them and it was no longer possible to support them, then they said, 'Ok, democracy is wonderful", and then they moved to try to ensure that the regimes would stay pretty much as they were,that's why it's a very old pattern.

But putting that aside, it's true that the United States announced that it would cast a veto, for about 35 years the United States and Israel have been rejecting a political settlement that is supported by virtually the entire world: the Arab League, the organization of Islamic States which includes Iran, Hamas supports it; almost no relevant party disagrees with it except that the United States and Israel won't let it happen.
Marina Portnaya: How about the fact that Egypt right now, and Turkey, have really severed their relationship with Israel?

Noam Chomsky: See that's an effect of the Arab Spring. What's happened, there are changes in the world, what's happening is, Israel is getting far more isolated, meaning the US is getting far more isolated - for example a couple of months ago there was a meeting of the oligarchs, the people who pretty much own the economy - they warned the government that they better accept something like this resolution, because otherwise Israel will be as they put it, South-Africanized, even more isolated, boycotts, refusal to load ships and so on, their economy will collapse. Now it's interesting that Israel is reacting pretty much as South Africa did - and if you look back at the history, by about 1960 - we have the records, the South African foreign minister called in the American embassador, described this to him, and said We don't really care as long as you got this, because you're the one vote that matters. And that's how it worked out. Right through the 1980s, the UN embargo, corporations were pulling out, sanctions all over, boycotts, they were doing fine, the gan administration was backing them. And as long as the US was supporting them, nothing happened. Then the US withdrew support, and almost instantly apartheid collapsed.
Marina Portnaya: So you're saying it's in Israel's best interest, and possibly the US's to allow this Palestinian UN membership and statehood...considering the change in landscape?

Noam Chomsky: For 35 years..nnw that it's been for almost 40 years, there's a choice between security and expansion - a very clear choice. Now Israel is like other states, preferring it...since the early '70s, it had a choice between security and expansion- can have peace, but not with expansion into the territories, which incidentally is recognised to be criminal by everyone, including Israel. They can get away with it as long as the most powerful state in the world backs them - and as long as Europe goes along.

Europe is remarkably cowardly - they don't like this, but they don't like to step on the toenails of the master, so they go along - so as you notice the quartet has backed the United States, Tony Blair - you know....I don't have to comment on him, they might as well have picked George Bush to bring the message, 'do what the United States tells you, stop this nonsense about statehood and go back to negotiations'. But that where we now stand. It's up to the people in the advanced industrial countries to compel their governments to go along with the world.

Marina Portnaya: Professor Chomsky, thank-you very much for your time.