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Posted: 15 February 2010 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I continue to read Sam Harris, listen to his debates and find his ability to challenge religious dogma with the clarity of reason interesting. I’ve used his conversational pressure technique in discord with alternative energy advocates.  Particularly his differentiation between hope & belief.  (Paraphrasing and forgive me if I’m wrong.  Hope is what you wish the world to be, while belief is shaping the world according to your thoughts). Once reason is applied to the subject such as over 100,000 wind mills are needed to supply current demand load in California alone and conventional power plants are required to stabilize power delivery, the conversation wanes and although you don’t get the obligatory “I’ll pray for you”, there’s no admission that their energy position is tenable. So even though the subject is non secular, the response is similar to one defending their faith.  Leads me to wonder if “reason” is really the arsenal which one can draw upon to “convert” god believers into rational human beings.

[ Edited: 15 February 2010 09:44 PM by mk10108]
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Posted: 07 March 2010 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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mk10108 - 16 February 2010 02:42 AM

I continue to read Sam Harris, listen to his debates and find his ability to challenge religious dogma with the clarity of reason interesting. I’ve used his conversational pressure technique in discord with alternative energy advocates.  Particularly his differentiation between hope & belief.  (Paraphrasing and forgive me if I’m wrong.  Hope is what you wish the world to be, while belief is shaping the world according to your thoughts). Once reason is applied to the subject such as over 100,000 wind mills are needed to supply current demand load in California alone and conventional power plants are required to stabilize power delivery, the conversation wanes and although you don’t get the obligatory “I’ll pray for you”, there’s no admission that their energy position is tenable. So even though the subject is non secular, the response is similar to one defending their faith.  Leads me to wonder if “reason” is really the arsenal which one can draw upon to “convert” god believers into rational human beings.

That people have difficulties applying reason to (emotionally heated) debates doesn’t surprise me. However, if you don’t mind I would like to hear the arguments supporting your skeptical position on alternative energy.

I would welcome government sponsored efforts to diminish our dependency on oil and help the alternative energy to take off. I don’t know the details of your debates with alternative energy advocates but here is what I sense is not fair and reasonable on your side.

You compare the “current demand load in California” with the “100,000 wind mills needed to meet that demand”. Any energy solution in the future must address both sides of the equation. As far as demand is concerned there are at least two major components where something must change: buildings and the transportation. In California we already could start building zero-energy homes and push for regulations mandating that in, say, 10 years no house can be built which consumes energy from the grid. The second step is to gradually move people from their cars to trains, buses and ferries. If the network of public transportation is such that cars are not needed for trips longer than 20 miles the electric cars we already have and don’t need to invent are perfectly adequate. Similarly, following in the footsteps of Europe we can ban airplane flights on routes shorter than 300 miles.

On the second side of the equation are energy sources. Why do you compare the energy needs of California with the wind mills? Solar and ocean energy are the future (in California). In both areas much needs to be researched as the existing solutions are not very efficient. Personally, I believe that there are better options in solar energy than Photovoltaics. The main objection is not the price which will eventually come down but the limits of efficiency. One promising area is to use the Sun generated heat in combination with the Sterling engine.

To those who object that my vision demands a radical transformation of how we live I have this to say. In pursuit of freedom and happiness we embraced cars and transformed our lifestyle and our landscape in a big way. Unfortunately, we gained neither freedom nor happiness. If by some magic we suddenly had the system of public transportation equal to Europe or Japan it wouldn’t take much for us to fall in love with it. So, what are we afraid of? After all I don’t want to confiscate your cars.

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Posted: 16 March 2010 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thomas Orr - 07 March 2010 06:33 PM
mk10108 - 16 February 2010 02:42 AM

I continue to read Sam Harris, listen to his debates and find his ability to challenge religious dogma with the clarity of reason interesting. I’ve used his conversational pressure technique in discord with alternative energy advocates.  Particularly his differentiation between hope & belief.  (Paraphrasing and forgive me if I’m wrong.  Hope is what you wish the world to be, while belief is shaping the world according to your thoughts). Once reason is applied to the subject such as over 100,000 wind mills are needed to supply current demand load in California alone and conventional power plants are required to stabilize power delivery, the conversation wanes and although you don’t get the obligatory “I’ll pray for you”, there’s no admission that their energy position is tenable. So even though the subject is non secular, the response is similar to one defending their faith.  Leads me to wonder if “reason” is really the arsenal which one can draw upon to “convert” god believers into rational human beings.

That people have difficulties applying reason to (emotionally heated) debates doesn’t surprise me. However, if you don’t mind I would like to hear the arguments supporting your skeptical position on alternative energy.

I would welcome government sponsored efforts to diminish our dependency on oil and help the alternative energy to take off. I don’t know the details of your debates with alternative energy advocates but here is what I sense is not fair and reasonable on your side.

You compare the “current demand load in California” with the “100,000 wind mills needed to meet that demand”. Any energy solution in the future must address both sides of the equation. As far as demand is concerned there are at least two major components where something must change: buildings and the transportation. In California we already could start building zero-energy homes and push for regulations mandating that in, say, 10 years no house can be built which consumes energy from the grid. The second step is to gradually move people from their cars to trains, buses and ferries. If the network of public transportation is such that cars are not needed for trips longer than 20 miles the electric cars we already have and don’t need to invent are perfectly adequate. Similarly, following in the footsteps of Europe we can ban airplane flights on routes shorter than 300 miles.

On the second side of the equation are energy sources. Why do you compare the energy needs of California with the wind mills? Solar and ocean energy are the future (in California). In both areas much needs to be researched as the existing solutions are not very efficient. Personally, I believe that there are better options in solar energy than Photovoltaics. The main objection is not the price which will eventually come down but the limits of efficiency. One promising area is to use the Sun generated heat in combination with the Sterling engine.

To those who object that my vision demands a radical transformation of how we live I have this to say. In pursuit of freedom and happiness we embraced cars and transformed our lifestyle and our landscape in a big way. Unfortunately, we gained neither freedom nor happiness. If by some magic we suddenly had the system of public transportation equal to Europe or Japan it wouldn’t take much for us to fall in love with it. So, what are we afraid of? After all I don’t want to confiscate your cars.

The freedom to drive thirty miles, to ride my bike 60 miles in the hills, for all the pain it causes, makes me very happy. 

Please define “zero energy” home…are we talking a mud hut in the desert?  Light, AC, and heat all require energy

All research on alternative energy leads to one conclusion conveniently missing from news articles, is the engineering does not support cost/benefit analysis.  Solar asks the consumer to spend 30K + dollars upfront with the promise of selling energy back to utility and tax breaks (usually less then expended) but doesn’t report monthly payment for the solar system nor maintenance cost. And the average roof area cannot produce enough electricity to run your air conditioner.  All the folks I know using alternative energy are spending more for power than their grid only neighbors.

Trains sound nice but at a million + per mile to build not to mention labor, maintenance & logistics puts cost per passenger mile at the highest of any form of transport.  Not to mention the final few miles usually required to reach a destination.  Can you bring a bicycle on a train? During peak hours, you can’t…need the space for paying passengers.  Hidden truth is trains only cover 25-30% of its cost, the rest is borne by the public. 

We all want to do our part, but when alternatives cost more and provide less, we’re really hoping or imposing values more so than embracing current methods that work quite well.

[ Edited: 16 March 2010 08:59 PM by mk10108]
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Posted: 16 March 2010 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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mk10108 - 16 March 2010 06:00 PM

The freedom to drive thirty miles, to ride my bike 60 miles in the hills, for all the pain it causes, makes me very happy. 

Please define “zero energy” home…are we talking a mud hut in the desert?  Light, AC, and heat all require energy

All research on alternative energy leads to one conclusion conveniently missing from news articles, is the engineering does not support cost/benefit analysis.  Solar asks the consumer to spend 30K + dollars upfront with the promise of selling energy back to utility and tax breaks (usually less then expended) but doesn’t report monthly payment for the solar system nor maintenance cost. And the average roof area cannot produce enough electricity to run your air conditioner.  All the folks I know using alternative energy are spending more for power than their grid only neighbors.

Trains sound nice but at a million + per mile to build not to mention labor, maintenance & logistics puts cost per passenger mile at the highest of any form of transport.  Not to mention the final few miles usually required to reach a destination.  Can you bring a bicycle on a train, during peak hours you can’t…need the space for paying passengers.  Hidden truth is trains only cover 25-30% of its cost, the rest is borne by the public. 

We all want to do our part, but when alternatives cost more and provide less, were really hoping and imposing values than embracing current methods that work very well.

The sad thing about your post - and not only your post - is that in today’s America nothing seems to be possible because there is no money. What happened to the country which once was a showcase of how things on a huge scale can be easily accomplished? Tallest buildings, biggest dams, longest bridges, not to mention the landing on the Moon.

Zero energy homes. Maybe not literally yet. What can be done now are three things. The first doesn’t require any additional money and consists of constructing houses correctly facing the Sun. This alone dramatically reduces the cost of cooling and heating. The second thing is to outfit every house with geothermal heating/cooling. China already does it on a big scale (entire apartment blocks). The third is to toughen the building codes so nobody is allowed to build junk houses we now have. Steel and concrete (bricks?) are more appropriate materials for building houses for human beings than lumber, foam and Sheetrock. Roofs can be built from solid pre-constructed pieces where a thick layer of insulating material is encasted in an inflammable composite material. Concrete floors can have built-in pipes with circulating fluids for radiant heating/cooling.

Even if the cost of building the real houses is higher than building the junk which passes for a house today it will actually cost us much less if we stop the insanity of gambling with our houses on the real estate market. Additional cost reducing benefits. You save on home insurance when you build a house which will not burn or get destroyed by a tornado. You save on your medical bills when you move to a healthy house. You spread the cost of the house between generations when your children inherit the house lasting few hundred years as any decent house should.

By the way. I have solar panels on my home (New Jersey) and so far it is financially working as expected. I invested $40,000 (after state refund) and will get the federal tax credit soon (~$11,000). The additional benefit is the new roofing included in the price. I don’t know what extra costs you are talking about. I don’t have any. I sell SRECs (green energy certificates) and expect to recover my investment in ~7 years. True, the solar energy doesn’t stand on its own. Without selling SRECs even 30 years (the expected life of the panels) will not be enough to get my money back. But I cannot say I got cheated by what my state and federal government promised.

I understand what you are saying about trains and public transportation in general. But in my opinion continuing the car madness is not possible. Cars were good when one in every ten people was a car owner. With the population level what it is now and everybody driving a car it is insanity. I learned to hate cars and driving them. Have you ever traveled to Europe? Visited Paris, Rome? It is educational to go there and see that you can rely on public transportation without missing your car.

Talking about cost. Cars costs too. I don’t think that trains + buses to cover those end miles cost more. Psychologically, it is probably easier to spend many thousands dollar a year your car costs you then it would be to spend half of that on public transportation. If we learned to accept higher taxes (like Europeans) and didn’t have to pay high ticket prices when using public transportation that psychological obstacle would be removed. (Well, this will not work with the governments we have today).

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Posted: 16 March 2010 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Disagree….Plenty of money.  We as a nation can do anything we set out to do.  Moon bound and back proved that.  Billions of dollars, employment of 450K.  However the Cost/Benefit - other than the scientific smackdown of the Russians, all we got was Mylar, spacesuits and some rocks.  That patriotic my balls are bigger than yours, enabled some bureaucratic management types to sell us a crap idea called the space shuttle.  Turns out NASA management kills astronauts and since 1972 can’t get a human more than 400 miles above sea level.

The reason we don’t have concrete walls & roofs for houses is it cost to much.  Homes today are an engineering exercise in less materials, Painfully reminded every time I climb my squeaky stairs.  What I would give for 3/4 Doug fir flooring.  Sure they’re junk, but more people can afford them.

“Expect to recover”  “Life expectancy of solar panels”.  Green certificates are driven by market speculation driven through government incentive…which at any time can be removed.  So your a risk / reward kinda guy and that’s your choice.  Loading an additional 40k on each new house built just pushes home ownership that much farther for a grid guy.

Yes mass transit works in Europe but asked the question why.  Could it be gas cost 8 bucks a gallon of which 5 1/2 is taxes.

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Posted: 17 March 2010 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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mk10108 - 17 March 2010 03:40 AM

The reason we don’t have concrete walls & roofs for houses is it cost to much.  Homes today are an engineering exercise in less materials, Painfully reminded every time I climb my squeaky stairs.  What I would give for 3/4 Doug fir flooring.  Sure they’re junk, but more people can afford them.

I disagree on that. The reason we don’t have concrete walls & roofs is the same as it is with our food. We always go with what’s convenient for the corporations which grow food and build houses. Unfortunately, in case of homes and food it is not the same what’s best for us. Thanks to organic movement (and NAFTA I guess) I witnessed a lot of improvement on the food market. Gone are those inedible tomatoes “engineered” for storage and transport. I can buy real bread in my supermarket these days, European style butter, imported cheese ... There is still plenty on my wish list but it is an undeniable progress. Now, I am waiting for the similar revolution in the housing market. In poor Puerto Rico houses for their middle class are built of stone and concrete. They cost less than houses here and yet they are of better quality and healthier, too. True, there are differences of climate but the climate differences alone cannot explain the paradox I am talking about.

I wonder how you can say that building decent houses cost too much when the reality is that the building costs are a fraction of the price when you buy your home, in California and elsewhere. I say put more money into building houses and trim the “real estate” fat. We shouldn’t be treating our homes as chips in a casino. Like in a casino we never win. And the gambling fun has its limits, you don’t gamble with your last proverbial shirt. Anyway, whenever I could I tried to use my common sense when making economic decisions, which usually meant going against the trend. My first house I bought in 1990 was a $92,000 townhouse at a time when people with similar income were buying houses costing 3 times more. True, I didn’t have school age children at that time and I didn’t care about school districts. However, I wasn’t evaluating my house in terms of investment. I simply calculated the advantage of buying versus renting in terms of how much money it will cost me over the course of 5 - 10 years and I came up on the winning side. I paid the mortgage off in 5 years at witch point I was paying $400 a month for all my housing costs, utilities including. That was even better than my apartment in a communist country I grew up. And by the way, my first townhouse wasn’t a junk. It was two bedrooms with a finished basement in a solidly built 30 years old home.

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Posted: 17 March 2010 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Close…your on the right track in referencing cost however tilt ups do cost more than a stick frame. Island construction usually is concrete due to climate or logistics.

The real hidden cost in home ownership is city fees.  Here, before the boom, fees were 30K.  Towards the end city government couldn’t resist jumping on the band wagon and tacked on 40K more.  No additional services provided but now have 7 parks withing walking distance and you can drink the water.

Bad news for certified organic - same stuff - different box / bag, with an additional stamp.

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Posted: 17 March 2010 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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mk10108 - 17 March 2010 12:39 PM

Bad news for certified organic - same stuff - different box / bag, with an additional stamp.

That’s capitalism. However, you are free to ignore or laugh at organic stuff to your own disadvantage. Organic as a movement would be invaluable even if it was only a vote of non-confidence for the food industry. But is is more than that. I buy organic as an alternative to specific products of the food industry I don’t trust. Specifically milk, eggs and spring greens such as scallion. I could give you specific reason for my choices but only if I am sure you are genuinely interested.

I wonder why you dismiss organic products so nonchalantly. There is nothing to laugh about it. Millions, perhaps even billions of dollars are at stake and no wonder it makes the food industry nervous. That’s why they desperately try to create impression that organic = unscientific. Well, let’s see who is pro-science and who is against science here.

A digression. Perhaps because of my age (65) I tend to brag a lot. I just came back from an 8M training run, which I covered at 7:50 pace. It will be under 7:30 in a couple of months. But even 7:50 is faster than what average 60+ runner does in a 5K (~3M) race. I think that this adds to my authority of speaking on health issue.

I know that it is boring but let’s put on a table the food industry record in inventing “healthy” products. Hydrogenated oils (trans-fatty acids), corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, white flour (much finer grade than European standards allow). OK, let’s stop here because I want to explain what’s wrong with the white flour. Well, flour from nutritional point of view is mostly carbohydrates. It also happens that for proper metabolism of carbohydrates our bodies require generous amounts of minerals such as zinc and chromium. In other words, the stuff the industry eliminates from the flour to enhance its properties in cooking but mostly to extend its shelf life. You see, even bugs don’t want to touch the sterile product such as white flour but the industry thinks it is a perfect food for us and if you don’t believe it you are un-scientific.

In 70ties, back in my native country I was reading a lot about research on minerals and their role in endemic diseases and health. It’s not an easy subject. Dependencies here are complex because no mineral acts on our bodies in isolation; you can say they interact with each other. One may think that applying computers to such studies would be a wonderful idea. Surprise. Now we are in the computer age but the entire branch of science, the science devoted to studying the role of minerals in nutrition disappeared. Why? It is a good question.

Let me give you a hint. America had a very fine doctor and scientist Dr. Henry Schroeder. He is known for conducting a huge experiment with mice and rats trying to determine toxic effects of mineral pollutants (His research convinced the governments to ban leaded gasoline). But here is one battle where he lost. The contact with Japanese scientists got him interested in studies on relation between quality of drinking water and health. In Japan most of the water supply comes from rivers, and acidic drinking water is more common there that in the US for instance. Japanese found a strong correlation between health and acidity of drinking water. Simply put the lower pH the more heart problems in the population. In simpler terms hard water rich in calcium and magnesium is good for your heart, soft water especially with high iron content is bad. Interestingly, it is just the opposite when it comes to washing your clothes. Hard water bad for the laundry. Soft water good. Dr. Schroeder wanted to research the water health relationship but that put him on a collision course with the “water treatment” industry. You know, the guys who install central water filters in your home and add salts to your water to make it soft and more suitable for washing.

Lately I noticed a curious increase in bashing the bottled water industry. I am not a fan of drinking bottled water (unless it is mineral water from France, Germany or Poland) but I don’t drink the tap water either. No, I am not haunted by bad memories of water born diseases from contaminated tap water in Chicago. I avoid tap water for the simplest of all reasons and I wonder how it is possible that this reason is not even mentioned by journalists or whoever decides to ridicule the price and the content of the bottled water. In most placed the tap water stinks. It stinks chlorine. I am convinced that drinking chlorinated water is harmful in the long run but my primary motif is to avoid the stench. By the way, for the same reason I don’t swim in swimming pools. I even avoid the areas surrounding swimming pools in hotels when I occasionally stay in the ski season. My point? I just wanted to give you one more example of “unbiased” discussion between those who pretend to be “scientific”, and their opponents, whoever happens to threaten their financial interest.

But let’s go back to organic movement. Back in my native country I used to trust science and scientists even if the science there was behind the science in the US and Western Europe. I trusted them because their motifs were rather pure, unspoiled by the need to make a buck. I read some scientific papers in areas of my interest. I found few research cases where the negative impact of chemical fertilizers was studied. In short, intensive fertilizing resulted in diminished variety of amino-acids in grains according to one study. If you talked to farmers you could learn more. The potatoes grown on fertilizer couldn’t survive the winter storage as well as potatoes grown traditionally (organic was an unknown term back then). They didn’t taste as well as traditional variety either. However, the government was trying to encourage the use of fertilizer in agriculture, so smart farmers did what every self respecting capitalist would do. They grew with chemical fertilizer the stuff for sale, and without chemical fertilizers the stuff for their own consumption.

Today, we can answer some of the intriguing question raised back then. Why the organic methods seem to produce healthier food, more suitable for human consumption? Well, again I don’t want to impose myself with lecturing you on that unless I am sure you are genuinely interested in the subject.

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Posted: 18 March 2010 12:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Thomas Orr - 17 March 2010 11:01 PM
mk10108 - 17 March 2010 12:39 PM

Bad news for certified organic - same stuff - different box / bag, with an additional stamp.

That’s capitalism. However, you are free to ignore or laugh at organic stuff to your own disadvantage. Organic as a movement would be invaluable even if it was only a vote of non-confidence for the food industry. But is is more than that. I buy organic as an alternative to specific products of the food industry I don’t trust. Specifically milk, eggs and spring greens such as scallion. I could give you specific reason for my choices but only if I am sure you are genuinely interested.

I wonder why you dismiss organic products so nonchalantly. There is nothing to laugh about it. Millions, perhaps even billions of dollars are at stake and no wonder it makes the food industry nervous. That’s why they desperately try to create impression that organic = unscientific. Well, let’s see who is pro-science and who is against science here.

A digression. Perhaps because of my age (65) I tend to brag a lot. I just came back from an 8M training run, which I covered at 7:50 pace. It will be under 7:30 in a couple of months. But even 7:50 is faster than what average 60+ runner does in a 5K (~3M) race. I think that this adds to my authority of speaking on health issue.

I know that it is boring but let’s put on a table the food industry record in inventing “healthy” products. Hydrogenated oils (trans-fatty acids), corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, white flour (much finer grade than European standards allow). OK, let’s stop here because I want to explain what’s wrong with the white flour. Well, flour from nutritional point of view is mostly carbohydrates. It also happens that for proper metabolism of carbohydrates our bodies require generous amounts of minerals such as zinc and chromium. In other words, the stuff the industry eliminates from the flour to enhance its properties in cooking but mostly to extend its shelf life. You see, even bugs don’t want to touch the sterile product such as white flour but the industry thinks it is a perfect food for us and if you don’t believe it you are un-scientific.

In 70ties, back in my native country I was reading a lot about research on minerals and their role in endemic diseases and health. It’s not an easy subject. Dependencies here are complex because no mineral acts on our bodies in isolation; you can say they interact with each other. One may think that applying computers to such studies would be a wonderful idea. Surprise. Now we are in the computer age but the entire branch of science, the science devoted to studying the role of minerals in nutrition disappeared. Why? It is a good question.

Let me give you a hint. America had a very fine doctor and scientist Dr. Henry Schroeder. He is known for conducting a huge experiment with mice and rats trying to determine toxic effects of mineral pollutants (His research convinced the governments to ban leaded gasoline). But here is one battle where he lost. The contact with Japanese scientists got him interested in studies on relation between quality of drinking water and health. In Japan most of the water supply comes from rivers, and acidic drinking water is more common there that in the US for instance. Japanese found a strong correlation between health and acidity of drinking water. Simply put the lower pH the more heart problems in the population. In simpler terms hard water rich in calcium and magnesium is good for your heart, soft water especially with high iron content is bad. Interestingly, it is just the opposite when it comes to washing your clothes. Hard water bad for the laundry. Soft water good. Dr. Schroeder wanted to research the water health relationship but that put him on a collision course with the “water treatment” industry. You know, the guys who install central water filters in your home and add salts to your water to make it soft and more suitable for washing.

Lately I noticed a curious increase in bashing the bottled water industry. I am not a fan of drinking bottled water (unless it is mineral water from France, Germany or Poland) but I don’t drink the tap water either. No, I am not haunted by bad memories of water born diseases from contaminated tap water in Chicago. I avoid tap water for the simplest of all reasons and I wonder how it is possible that this reason is not even mentioned by journalists or whoever decides to ridicule the price and the content of the bottled water. In most placed the tap water stinks. It stinks chlorine. I am convinced that drinking chlorinated water is harmful in the long run but my primary motif is to avoid the stench. By the way, for the same reason I don’t swim in swimming pools. I even avoid the areas surrounding swimming pools in hotels when I occasionally stay in the ski season. My point? I just wanted to give you one more example of “unbiased” discussion between those who pretend to be “scientific”, and their opponents, whoever happens to threaten their financial interest.

But let’s go back to organic movement. Back in my native country I used to trust science and scientists even if the science there was behind the science in the US and Western Europe. I trusted them because their motifs were rather pure, unspoiled by the need to make a buck. I read some scientific papers in areas of my interest. I found few research cases where the negative impact of chemical fertilizers was studied. In short, intensive fertilizing resulted in diminished variety of amino-acids in grains according to one study. If you talked to farmers you could learn more. The potatoes grown on fertilizer couldn’t survive the winter storage as well as potatoes grown traditionally (organic was an unknown term back then). They didn’t taste as well as traditional variety either. However, the government was trying to encourage the use of fertilizer in agriculture, so smart farmers did what every self respecting capitalist would do. They grew with chemical fertilizer the stuff for sale, and without chemical fertilizers the stuff for their own consumption.

Today, we can answer some of the intriguing question raised back then. Why the organic methods seem to produce healthier food, more suitable for human consumption? Well, again I don’t want to impose myself with lecturing you on that unless I am sure you are genuinely interested in the subject.

The best book I’ve read is Micheal Pollan Omnivores Dilemma.  It tracks four meals to their sources and when you finish, it will keep you thinking.  Covers industrial food production and organic processing.  Value adding products, science of sugar, salt & fat on our taste buds etc.  Good read.  The author is non judgmental and relays food choices are really political choices.

http://www.michaelpollan.com/omnivore.php

Organic is a MARKETING movement embraced by major food chains to increase margins.  I crack up every time I enter a produce section seeing the Organic label.  Here’s why. My employer makes equipment that packages salad.  While on a call, I watched the same product going in standard bag and the operator switched the film roll and now the same stuff is labeled organic….Deep Bag…just follow the packaging.

If you want organic become friends with a farmer, not your grocer.  I’m fine not eating organic because I see the hard work processors go through to provide a quality product.  What is far more important to health than minerals, chlorine, flour mineral content or bottle water is portion control & exercise.  I was 290 lbs and recently lost 40 lbs (140,000 calories)in 120 days.  Ate the same non organic stuff but reduced the quantity by 1/3 and rode a bike.  The goal was to burn an additional 1000 calories per day and it worked.  I can report the most efficient weight loss method, on the planet is riding a bike at X speed over Y distance at Z weight. But you can’t sell riding a bike for weight lost - too simple of an idea.  The 11 billion weight loss industry would shudder to a halt if people understood that eating a muffin requires, on average riding a bike for 45 minutes to go calorie neutral.

By the way 7:50 a mile at your age is AWESOME.  If you can strap on a bike and climb some hills you would be dangerous.

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Posted: 18 March 2010 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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mk10108 - 18 March 2010 04:08 AM

Organic is a MARKETING movement embraced by major food chains to increase margins.  I crack up every time I enter a produce section seeing the Organic label.  Here’s why. My employer makes equipment that packages salad.  While on a call, I watched the same product going in standard bag and the operator switched the film roll and now the same stuff is labeled organic….Deep Bag…just follow the packaging.

Sad. That’s what the organic movement was predicting when the battle over organic labels was fought. And that’s why I don’t buy (in supermarkets or in my cafeteria at work) any green stuff. I grow it in my garden (parsley, dill, lettuce). Regarding the milk I stay away from big chains like Horizon and buy from trusted sources, Vermont farmers and/or Stonyfield brand. Milk, by the way, is for my family. I don’t drink it. Eggs of dubious origin are betrayed by bad taste or by the Horizon label. As for other stuff, I don’t care whether it is organic or not.

mk10108 - 18 March 2010 04:08 AM

If you want organic become friends with a farmer, not your grocer.  I’m fine not eating organic because I see the hard work processors go through to provide a quality product.  What is far more important to health than minerals, chlorine, flour mineral content or bottle water is portion control & exercise.  I was 290 lbs and recently lost 40 lbs (140,000 calories)in 120 days.  Ate the same non organic stuff but reduced the quantity by 1/3 and rode a bike.  The goal was to burn an additional 1000 calories per day and it worked.  I can report the most efficient weight loss method, on the planet is riding a bike at X speed over Y distance at Z weight. But you can’t sell riding a bike for weight lost - too simple of an idea.  The 11 billion weight loss industry would shudder to a halt if people understood that eating a muffin requires, on average riding a bike for 45 minutes to go calorie neutral.

Agree. However, it’s not that simple with a weight loss. When your metabolism goes out of whack you don’t have the energy to exercise. And the mineral content of your food is essential to keeping your thyroid gland in a good shape. Also, the scientist still do not agree what’s behind the epidemic of obesity today. Hormonal imbalances might play much bigger role than we think. And what’s behind the hormonal imbalances? Have you heard about endocrine disruptors? Scary stuff. Google if you are not afraid. One more question. What’s the major source of endocrine disruptors in the environment? Food packaging.

mk10108 - 18 March 2010 04:08 AM

By the way 7:50 a mile at your age is AWESOME.  If you can strap on a bike and climb some hills you would be dangerous.

Yeah. Biking is a family exercise though and I am having a hard time trying to get my family for a ride with me. When I finally get on a bike it will be Silvio

Climbing hills ... most of all I like hiking and climbing something bigger. Getting together with my old college friend to hike in Colorado this August.

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Posted: 16 March 2012 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“Thomas Orr” date=“1268832010]In poor Puerto Rico houses for their middle class are built of stone and concrete. They cost less than houses here and yet they are of better quality and healthier, too. True, there are differences of climate but the climate differences alone cannot explain the paradox I am talking about.

I am a Puerto Rico resident, and yes, the price difference between housing here and, let’s say, Florida, is very much different. Houses over in CONUS are, in my opinion, too expensive for what little protection they give the resident. I have lived all my life dreading that next CAT5 hurricane to hit my little island, because of the loss of basic services like running water and electricity, but not for fear that my home will be destroyed. As a matter of fact, during H. Georges, I was “watching the show”, as it were, on an enclosed balcony in my front neighboor’s house. I’m pretty sure that if I had lived in Florida, and in the same situation, I would have been asked to evacuate the area. Most houses over there could not take a pounding like that. All we had to do afterwards, was scrape off the leaves encrusted in the paint of the house…

Last year, I bought a house. Four Bedroom, two full bathrooms, 1 half bathroom, 10’ ceilings, 2 car garage, one office area for my photography business, etc… around $125,000 after we added a few things we needed (security windows, Solar water heater, Water Cistern, etc). It is made completly of concrete.

[ Edited: 16 March 2012 01:36 PM by prcrash]
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