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Friday, May 26, 2017

El Salvador bans Roundup and gets record harvest!

  1. In September 2013, El Salvador passed a ban on 53 crop protection products for agricultural use. Among them, the large coffee, cotton, maize and sugarcane producing country was pulling off Roundup (glyphosate), a Monsanto star herbicide, recently listed as a "probable carcinogen" by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  2. GMO seeds cannot be saved from old crops, they must be purchased every year, leading to an increased cost for the farmers.
  3. The GMO seeds were not adapted to the locality. 
  4. They are using H-29 maize instead.

Source

Link in French.
Link in English via Google Translate.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Monsanto used army of shills to stop negative comments?

At least one news site is reporting that Monsanto used an army of shills to crack down on people who posted negative things about Monsanto or its products.

The case challenges Monsanto’s corrupt relationship with members of the Environmental Protection Agency and their attempts to manipulate scientific publications and crack down on online dissent. Monsanto’s ‘Let Nothing Go’ campaign allegedly hired online ‘shills’ to quickly respond to social media chatter about the carcinogenic properties of their ‘RoundUp’ product.  

  1. Not much surprise if Monsanto colluded with EPA. EPA fired a scientist who started talking about the dangers of toxic sludge being put on farms all over America.  
  2. The EPA claims Bt is safe for people when research shows otherwise (studies at link). 
  3. EPA toxicity levels for neonics in water are far too lax.
  4. Monsanto even claimed PCBs were safe right up to the last lawsuit
  5. And Monsanto exec admits they faked study data.

Read more here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

First test of firefly light board

Video here. One single green LED on Digispark ATtiny85 board.

I'll be making these soon with 4 lights each.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Europe Votes against Import of 2,4-D and Glufosinate Resistant GMOs

Member States criticized the authorization procedure during the three-month consultation period before approval, referring to missing or insufficient data, contradictory statements and poor test design.

Source
Sustainable Pulse.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Beginner solar starter kit for $70!

Here it is: One solar panel, charge controller with 4000mah lithium battery, 2 LED light bulbs, for $70usd. I have this one and it works great.
  1. The solar panel has brackets to mount the panel on the roof at the correct angle, and has long wires from the solar panel so you can link to the battery indoors. 
  2. Also has 1 USB charging port, with USB cable with many adapters.
  3. Charging box (contains battery) also has on/off switch which turns off all lights to make sure no energy is used during vacation. Each light bulb has a tiny red LED to show you there is power going to it.
  4. I will splice in a voltmeter to monitor the voltage myself later.

This $10usd kit with one lightbulb is also great for those who just want to dip their toe into solar power.

Here's one for $61usd: two lightbulbs, 8000mah hour battery, charge controller, solar panels.

These can be good for sheds or workshops too!

Notes about solar power.
  1. The systems above are too small to run a TV but work fine for LED lights, which are typically low powered. Since some of the systems have a USB port, those will run any USB device like a small light, fan, etc.
  2. Charging of the battery can take a long time in overcast or dark weather. Batteries charge best in full sun where the suns rays hit the solar panel at 90 degrees.
  3. Solar panels should be placed in south-facing windows or on the roof facing south.
  4. Latitudes of the earth go from zero (equator) to 90 degrees (north or south pole). The best angle for the solar panel is (if you live in the Northern hemisphere): the angle formed between the ground and the panel should equal your latitude. I.e. at 30 degrees, closer to the equator, the angle would be 30 degrees from the ground, or close to horizontal. For latitude 85, the panel should be 85 degrees from the ground, or nearly vertical. At 43 degrees latitude put the panel at 43 degrees to the ground. This will help your panel get the most sunlight as the sun moves throughout the day.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Voltage booster goes from 225mv to 5.0vdc!

This [voltage booster](http://www.ebay.com/itm/LTC3105-Energy-Harvester-demo-module/332136264440?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D40130%26meid%3De7f86a5b8374439ab3c85d2657cfcb85%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D332071662285) on Ebay takes input as low as 225mv and boosts it to 3.3v or 5vdc.

This can be really useful for boosting power from solar panels on a cloudy day, thermoelectric generation, using the last bit of juice from batteries, and more! WARNING: do not over discharge lithium batteries! They can be permanently damaged. A booster like this would be for like AA alkaline batteries.

The seller, ceech123, has several other similar boards, one even for 2.7v supercaps.




Friday, May 12, 2017

Pesticide found in Iowa drinking water.

From the study:
Periodic tap water grab samples were collected at the University of Iowa over 7 weeks in 2016 (May − July) after maize/soy planting. Clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam were ubiquitously detected in finished water samples at concentrations ranging from 0.24 to 57.3 ng/L. Samples collected along the University of Iowa treatment train indicate no apparent removal of clothianidin or imidacloprid, with modest thiamethoxam removal (∼50%).

NOTE: This is water collected from peoples' taps, not from the water plant exit pipe like is usually done.

Source
Ecowatch.
Study from Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Glyphosate found in more food samples, Canada

In 2015-2016, the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) tested a total of 3,188 food samples for glyphosate. Glyphosate was found in 29.7% of samples.
  1. Testing of 482 samples of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables as part of the National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program (NCRMP);
  2.           Retail survey of 2497 samples of grains (barley, buckwheat, and quinoa), beverages, bean, pea, lentil, chickpea and soy products;
  3.          A survey of over 209 retail samples of infant foods as part of the 2015-2016 Children's Food Project.
Sources
Tweet.
From US RTK.
Link to DOCX file.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Solid electrolytes can lead the way to safer batteries!

Researchers at a Japanese institute (KEK, no that's not a Reddit joke, that's the letters of the institute) have come up with a substance to act as a solid electrolyte in lithium batteries. But researchers at Tufts University are doing something similar. A solid electrolyte greatly reduces the chance of a "runaway reaction", or spontaneously exploding batteries like Samsung had. But many problems have to be overcome with a battery technology:
  1. Self-discharge is bad. It should be low or zero.
  2. Should not explode.
  3. Should work from -30C to 100C. 
  4. If they are rechargeable they should have fairly good recharge time, and the power they can save should not degrade as fast as current technology.
  5. They should be cheap enough for consumers. 
  6. Ability to scale up production for consumer use.

Source
Phys.org. 2016-03.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Holey graphene might make better batteries

At Northwestern University, engineers have made a new type of graphene* electrode: one punched with many microscopic holes. It could store 10x as much power (30,000mah instead of 3000) and charge 10x faster. As with any new technology, a big problem is to make it cheap enough for consumers to buy.

* Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms, usually on a substrate. "Graphite" is actually many layers of graphene.

Source
Stanford Extreme Tech. 2011.