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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Low-powered LED light in the works

A new flat-panel LED light could reduce power use tremendously. Scientists at Tohoku University in Japan have made a cheaper LED lighting device in the form of a flat panel that gets efficiency of 60 lumens per watt, which is pretty darn good for their simple device that has not been tweaked. It uses nanotubes to get this kind of efficiency.

Each carbon nanotube acts similar to a cathode ray tube when a strong electric field is applied. The electric field requires 5kv to work but the device itself uses very little power.

People have been working on other ways for LEDs to use less power. Some pulse power so fast the human eye cannot detect the LED going off and on. One project is the TritiLED which aims to light a dim LED to be used as a marker, for about 10 years. There is also the Decade Flashlight.

Review of Scientific Instruments.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Super efficient nano-LED research

This is not the same as a super efficient LED circuit where a battery could light an LED for 10 years. This is a whole new LED technology at the nanoscale.

One of the larger bottlenecks between microchips is the data connections. An optical connection, rather than a wire connection, would speed things up, but a light source small enough was not available until now. Scientists at TU Eindhoven made a nano LED that is 1000 times more efficient and can communicate at gigabits per second.

But since this article is from 2017, expect to wait another 8-10 years before we see these things in consumer devices... if it can be made at a reasonable price that is.

Elektor Magazine. 3/6/2017.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Monsanto tries to get Seralini study retracted

The study by GE Seralini showed that even low amounts of Roundup had toxic effects on rats over the long-term. This includes liver and kidney damage. Seralini's other study where rats got tumors was done incorrectly as they used a type of rat that is supposed to get tumors.

Extract from employee review:
2. In effort to enhance global long-term scientific outreach and freedom to operate, coordinate (i) an initial South American Toxicology Expert Panel meeting in Buenos Aires by the end of FY2013 and (ii) the 2012 EU. Glyphosate Expert Advisory Panel meeting in Harrogate, UK 8/9 November, 2012.

Employee comment: 
2 (ii) coordinated the November EU Expert Panel meeting which provided opportunity for valuable interaction with experts and peers, consolidating strategies in addressing activist publications (eg. Seralini and Earth Open Source) and industry sponsored technical publications supporting FTO and glyphosate EU Annex I Renewal.

GMO Inside.
The Monsanto memo in PDF form, document name FY2013. This looks like an employee review of David Anthony Saltmiras.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Toys From Trash is great teaching resource

Arvind  Gupta's site "Toys from Trash" is a great learning resource for teaching kids science. It's been at least 10 years since I found this site and he has all kinds of simple, inexpensive projects for elementary school kids to do. But that doesn't mean big kids can't use them also.

Here are some of the topics and projects they have: pressure, water pump, simple motor, simple generator, putt putt boat, AC motor, DC motor, air and water, beginner biology, force fun, fun with light, strong structures, etc.

Here's his portable generator:
Here's his LED torch:

Toys from Trash.

Friday, August 11, 2017

You can download NCBI studies from NIH?

Yes! You can download NCBI studies via FTP! Here's the link. You use software called "client software" or "FTP client software" installed on your PC to access the NCBI FTP site and download files. Be careful how you configure your FTP client. First read the file README.ftp to learn how to optimize your FTP client software.

There seems to be a variety of data here, not just journal articles. Poke around in different directories to see what is there, and in each directory try to read a file called "readme" or "README" or "readme.txt" or "00readme.txt".

Common free FTP clients:
  1. FileZilla 64-bit. I like this one the best.
  2. Smart FTP.
  3. WinSCP
  4. There are several command line utilities for Linux like "ftp" and "ncftp". 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

EWG launches US tapwater database.

Quick start:
  1. Enter your zip code or state, no account required. 
  2. Click your city and get a report on the city water quality. 
The results show the number of pollutants above healthy recommendations, and "other contaminants". EWG also provides a link to filters to filter these out. The Berkey filters have the best filtration ability, but no filter takes all amounts of all contaminants out.
Here is where National News also tested the tap water of 239 cities.

More info
  1. EWG tapwater database
  2. Learn about pharmaceuticals in US streams.
  3. How to filter out poisons from your water. Comprehensive article and link to Berkey filter results.

Evidence Monsanto tried to bribe scientists

Roundup is a big money maker for Monsanto so it's no surprise that more evidence that Monsanto tried to influence writes and bribe scientists has come to light.

From this website, attorneys asked to see Monsanto's "protected documents". The more Monsanto tries to push, the more it looks like people are on the right track to exposing corruption. Quote:
On June 30, 2017, attorneys from Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, along with the leadership of the Roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL), challenged the protection of the documents below, in an effort to make them available to the public. In a meeting to discuss the matter, Monsanto told the plaintiffs’ attorneys to “go away” and that the company would not voluntarily agree to de-designate any documents.
The challenged documents are here, and in PDF form.

GMO Inside.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Moscow Mule" drinks should not be served in copper cups

News says a drink called the Moscow Mule, should not be served in copper-lined cups. Drinks with a pH of less than 6 can release more copper that could make people sick.

Link here.

Monday, August 7, 2017

NIH and EWH recommend ending use of triclosan

Triclosan likely hurts a person's health more than it helps it, and ever-present triclosan is instrumental in creating super bugs. The statement summary:
The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban documents a consensus of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals on the hazards of and lack of demonstrated benefit from common uses of triclosan and triclocarban. These chemicals may be used in thousands of personal care and consumer products as well as in building materials. Based on extensive peer-reviewed research, this statement concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms. Evidence of other hazards to humans and ecosystems from triclosan and triclocarban is presented along with recommendations intended to prevent future harm from triclosan, triclocarban, and antimicrobial substances with similar properties and effects. Because antimicrobials can have unintended adverse health and environmental impacts, they should only be used when they provide an evidence-based health benefit. Greater transparency is needed in product formulations, and before an antimicrobial is incorporated into a product, the long-term health and ecological impacts should be evaluated.

The Florence Statement.
You can search the NIH NCBI library of studies here.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

S. Korean bike highway shades path with solar roof

The runs between Daejon and Sejong, and is covered for 20 miles with a roof of solar panels. Those panels not only generate lots of electricity but also shield cyclists from the sun.


Fast Company.

Monday, July 31, 2017

First family solar car hits market for $119k euros.

The Dutch startup Lightyear has just released it's first solar car Lightyear One for 119,000 euros ($139,945 usd at the time of this blog post writing.) It has a 500km (310 miles) driving range. At this price, most Dutch must be super rich.

No comment on how it recharges in the winter in the northern European sun, or lack thereof. You might be better off with a $100usd trickle charger in your front window hooked to the cigarette lighter.

PV Magazine.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Farmbot: The first CNC farming robot!

The Farmbot acts like a CNC cutter but it plants seeds, waters, and weeds small scale gardens. Spot watering means less weeds to deal with and less water used.
  1. Different heads do different tasks like planting seeds, watering, etc.
  2. Has drag and drop farm designer software. 
  3. Powered by Raspberry Pi and Arduino MegaMicro controller.
  4. Automatically rotates crops over seasons. 
  5. Configure it to plant what you want, in any location in the bed. 
  6. Has soil sensor. 
  7. Has camera to watch how your garden grows and looks for weeds. Weeds are pushed underground. 

Innovation To Inspire.

Monday, July 24, 2017

California declares Roundup as cancer-causing

On some things California ignores the science, but since I've read the science behind toxic Roundup, and how you can't wash it off anything, and how it's absorbed into every cell of the plant, and how it's used on many more than just GMO crops, I have to agree with Cali on this one. Roundup is sprayed on non-GMO crops as well, to kill all the plants at the same time for harvest.
California will add glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer on July 7, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).
Well no, they don't know it, no one really knows if glyphosate causes cancer, but it's a good bet it does. Correlation is easier to prove, but causation is nearly impossible to prove. Let's call hyperbole what it is, since it's not news nor fact. Here are some interesting studies.
  1. PAN has list of studies showing harm of glyphosate.
  2. Graph showing multiple studies on glyphosate, study conclusions, and cancer risk. There is correlation between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. 
  3. Seralini wins lawsuit showing biotech is meddling in studies.
  4. Tests and studies about Roundup toxicity.
  5. Consensus by scientists: Roundup is bad.
  6. 2015: IARC declares glyphosate probable human carcinogen. Article here.
The agency originally announced the move in September 2015, but Monsanto—the producer of Roundup—filed a lawsuit to stop it.  
If Roundup is safe, why the lawsuit from biotech? What do they have to hide?

The US EPA says glyphosate is safe, but there are emails which show probably collusion with biotech. Another EPA scientist was fired for saying biosludge is toxic. Biosludge is what is left over after raw sewage is treated, and it is often sprayed on food crops in the US. Even a Monsanto exec admitted they faked data in studies. And Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto employee, was asked to write a piece supporting Roundup's "safety", and a few days later received a promotion at his university.


The Pooch Times.
All Glyphosate posts.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pediatricians urge EPA to ban pesticides that hurt developing brains

Chlorpyrifos was scheduled to be banned but the EPA is not going to ban it after all. The American Academy of Pediatrics is a nonprofit professional organization, sent a letter to the EPA about this pesticide. Children and their brains are especially vulnerable to chemicals because chemicals can cause brain changes which are permanent. Big Big-Agro is more about money than safety, and this is why many dangerous chemicals are still used on food.

Some portions of the letter:
Children come into contact with pesticides daily through air, food, dust, and soil, and on surfaces through home and public lawn or garden application, household insecticide use, application to pests, and agricultural product residues

Epidemiologic studies associate pesticide exposure with adverse birth outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, congenital abnormalities, pediatric cancers, neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits, and asthma. The evidence is especially strong linking certain pesticide exposure with pediatric cancers and permanent neurological damage. 
Chemicals are especially dangerous if they affect brains (which affects later behavior) or act as hormones like other chemicals do, or remain in the food or environment long-term (like glyphosate).

Environmental Working Group.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Loose lid provokes recall of 325,000 pounds of lard and fat products

Supreme Cuisine, of Montgomery City, Missouri, is recalling approximately 325,000 pounds of meat and poultry fat and lard products due to a single report of a loose lid. This might cause pathogens to grow inside the oil and make people sick. No reports of sick people yet.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Internet In A box for $50usd

Internet In A Box (IIAB) is a Raspberry Pi computer that acts as a wifi access point (WAP). It is designed for poor people and poor countries without reliable internet access, to help with their access to information, to further their education. It's also good for people with no internet access, home schooled kids, and if internet is unreliable, or in an off-grid scenario.

You can hook it up to a real internet connection, but you don't have to. You can also add your own content via a USB flash drive. Here are some of the content collections in the box you receive from IIAB:
  1. Wikipedia for Schools
  2. Offline Medical Encyclopedia
  3. Wiktionary
  4. Wikispecies
  5. Khan Academy Lite
  6. Moodle
  7. OpenStreetMap
  8. Owncloud
  9. PhET (interactive mathematics and science simulations)
  10. Science TED Talks
  11. Sugarizer
  12. Wikibooks
Brought to you by the people who made One Laptop Per Child. 

Similar links with similar devices or downloadable content
  1. Kiwix is a reader program for reading ZIM files offline. However all content must be converted to ZIM in order for Kiwix to read it. 
  2. Lantern receives data from satellites so you can use it offline. Pick and choose which "packs" you want to update. 
  3. lists more similar projects. Some come with hardware and content, other projects are just content. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Lumir: a candle-powered LED light

Lumir, the LED powered by a candle. I can see why this would be useful. It's hard for many people, especially older people, to read by a single candle. But I can also see why people would not understand the concept. I can see them thinking "Why would I use a candle if I could just use my $4 LED flashlight or headlamp?"

That's a valid thought. But the technology in Lumir is pretty neat if a bit impractical for many western nations with power. However for nations without power, this might help them study at night by generating enough light to read by. However Lumir is much more expensive than some of the other solar charged lights for Africa.

There are several variations of Lumir and Lumir Spot would be the best for reading a book or magazine.

This appears to use a thermoelectric generator (TEG) and a voltage booster. But TEGs don't product much power, and the voltage boosters to boost the volts up high enough for an LED are expensive.

Wow! It seems they are $109usd on Amazon now.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The REAL story behind Trump and clean water

During Obama's reign, he extended the Clean Water Act to small streams, some of which only contain water for some months of the year. Trump's rollback of this rule would only roll back that addition: small streams that would be covered under the Clean Water Act.

The Obama rule tried to expand the definition of "navigable waters", waters where you can travel on a boat on them, to included 1 inch deep streams, and stream beds that didn't even have have water in them for parts of the year! This includes drainage ditches on the side of the road.

The claim behind the hysteria: 117 million people in the US get their drinking water from small streams. (The footnote says "Streams classified by the U.S. Geological Survey as intermittent, ephemeral or headwater streams.") Intermittent, and ephemeral, mean the stream is not even there the whole year! From the USGS PDF:
  • Intermittent: "Contains water for only part of the year, but more than just after rainstorms and at snowmelt."
  • Ephemeral: "Contains water only during or after a local rainstorm or heavy snowmelt."
  • Headwater from here: "(1) the source and upper reaches of a stream; also the upper reaches of a reservoir. (2) the water upstream from a structure or point on a stream. (3) the small streams that come together to form a river. Also may be thought of as any and all parts of a river basin except the mainstream river and main tributaries."
The claim: 117 million people get 100% of their water from these sometimes-dry streams. The 2009 EPA map classified counties according to the percent of people in that county that use these types of streams for drinking water. In fact, the 2009 EPA study that EWG used shows somecounties use these streams for 87-100% of their drinking water.

Since "headwaters" were grouped with temporary streams in the 2009 EPA study, this makes the 72 million number suspicious.

  1. EPA 2009 study about drinking water from streams. This has a similar map to the EWG map. PDF of data by county.
  2. EWG article
  3. EWG analysis.  They provide an interactive map of US states and counties.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

LED light that creates more energy than it uses?

(This is from 2012 but it's still interesting to see if this technology became a product.)

With incandescent bulbs, only 10% of the energy used is converted the light, the rest is converted to heat. Current LED diodes, (as opposed to "LED bulbs" which can contain many diodes) use only about 17% of the energy of an incandescent bulb and do not create heat, which is good for heat-sensitive applications. For example, when I used standard (incandescent) bulbs in my outside yard light, and winters got to -20F ambient temperatures, the heat from the bulb would eventually crack and destroy the bulb itself from the sheer difference in temperature and the speed at which the bulb heated up. This was long ago and we moved to fluorescent bulbs at the time.

What if there was an LED bulb that produced more energy than it used? MIT researchers claim they have a bulb that creates energy as it uses it. It is 230% efficient, and seems to defy the laws of physics. But how to harvest that energy?

They researchers had a theory of using less voltage.
As you may have guessed, significantly lowering the input power creates a very weak LED bulb. In their tests, the MIT researchers succeeded in generating about 70 picowatts of light from 30 picowatts of energy — an efficiency of 230 percent! 
Artugo Verdugo comments on the Inhabitat story:
From what I know, this LEDs are more than 100% efficient because they are using electricity+environmental heat to produce light. That means that a large portion of the power being used comes directly from the environment.
At this point, neither 30 nor 70 picowatts will light any LED, but it's an interesting observation.

Inhabitat, 3/24/2012. Retrieved 7/6/2017.
Gizmodo article. Retrieved 7/6/2017.
The journal article. Feb 27, 2012. Retrieved: 7/6/2017.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Henry Miller: Small amounts of poison are good for you

When people selectively ignore facts, that could be called religion, or a cult. So here's Henry I. Miller. He was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology. He's written numerous articles about GMO foods. He is against labeling GMO foods and against informed decisions. He gets paid for writing articles supporting something so you know his opinion is biased.

Be careful with religious fanatics. The results could be bad.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Can LED lights run for 25 years? 10 years?

Some people are working on circuits to make a dim LED light run for a year, or even 25 years. The initial attempts are to provide "marker lights". These lights are not light enough to use to walk around in the dark or read by, but they are perfect for marking tent pegs, camp sites, or trails at, for example, concerts or camp sites. They can also be used to mark latrines which are often some distance from camp sites, and be used in astronomy to possibly read text (although the lights are not very bright).

Tritium gas tubes last about 10 years, but they are expensive and not available legally in the US for hobbyists. Also there are some fakes sold on Ebay that only last a few months. In the US they can only be sold as part of a watch, gun sight or compass.  Ebay does not appear to regulate plain tritium vials sold to the US.

First a quick review of how batteries work.
  • An item, like an LED, needs a minimum amount of volts and amps (or milliamps) coming from the battery to make it work. If the minimum amount of both are not provided, the device does not work.
  • Volts is one measurement of how much power a battery puts out. As the battery is used up, the amount of volts it can provide goes down. So an LED might require 3 volts to work, or about two 1.5v AA batteries. As the battery is used up the volts go down, and the LED might go completely off at 2.5vdc.
  • Amps is another measurement, amps get "used up" as an LED is powered on. An LED might require 20 milliamps (ma), and the battery can supply only so many milliamps. Once those are used up, the battery no longer powers the LED light. But also, as the battery is used, the volts also go down, and the amps it can provide also goes down. Eventually the battery can only provide 10ma, which does not light the LED. 
  • Typical LEDs currently use 20-50ma (milliamps) but these projects are an attempt to use micro amps (a much smaller unit), instead of milliamps.
I have personally used voltage boosters to get more power out of AA and other batteries. The battery life is improved around 30%. Link here. But I don't use low-brightness LEDs. I have used 14,000mcd to 1 watt LEDs in my designs.

Here are some examples of current projects from

TritiLED is a circuit used to power an LED for 1 or more years before the battery needs changing. It is not a tritium vial, it is a low-powered LED with a special circuit.

ATTiny45 Everled. This runs at 10 microamps (ua) and has run for 2+  years on a single 3v coin cell. In this case the ATTiny45 is pulsed on for just one microsecond, which lights the LED, then the power is turned off. However the flickering is so fast that the human eye does not notice the LED turning off.

Decade Flashlight. Estimated run time is 10 years on 2 AA batteries. 3 boards for $3.05 on Oshpark but you must also pay shipping, buy the parts, and assemble it. You must also program a PIC microcontroller.

Quarter century lamp. Will work for 25 years on 2 AA batteries which provide 3.6vdc. Lithium Iron Disulfide batteries also seem to only lose 5% of their energy after 20 years of storage so the author might use these in his device.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

DIY camping stoves

Like to make new things? Like to make new things from discarded items? Like to have a stove to cook on during a power outage? Take a look at these easy to make DIY camping stoves.

The basic stove

The basic stove is called a "hobo stove" and uses small bits of wood or pinecones for fuel. Leaves or paper are sometimes used to start the file. It is normally big enough to put a small one-person pan on top or boil a quart of water. Fuel can normally be found all over the US.

The hobo stove

The hobo stove usually has holes in the bottom and top edges. They can be made from a variety of metal cans like paint cans, or metal coffee cans, or large food cans. Fancier hobo stoves will have a sliding door to cover the air holes in the bottom of the can.

One variation of hobo stove from metal coffee can.
 Hobo stove cutaway:

The Rocket stove and variations

The rocket stove is similar to the hobo stove in that it has an insulated vertical chimney. The insulation can help direct more heat to the pot sitting on top of the stove. Larger versions of rocket stoves can also be used to heat a house as the insulated portions of the stove, which are often cement, act as thermal mass to release heat slowly over time.

Another rocket stove.

Monday, July 3, 2017

What is the truth about GMOs and pesticides?

EarthOpenSource has a 330pg PDF for free that claims to cut through the corporate BS. But be careful, even well-meaning groups can misinterpret studies or even have their own agenda.

You can read the PDF here. But they want your name and email address, so you will surely be put on a "newsletter" list.

The truth is, many studies from many countries show the harm pesticides can do to people, not just farmers. Some of these studies are covered in this blog. You can click on the right sidebar to find a tag name to narrow down the blog posts you want to see. For example, all blog posts where the main topic is "glyphosate" have the "glyphosate" tag. But tags also are for the main agencies involved (like "FDA"), countries involved (like "India", but not "US"), and the pesticide name (like "dicamba").

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Repurposing plastic bottles

In many countries, plastic bottles seem to be everywhere. So instead of filling the dumps up with them, or recycling them, you can make stuff from them. Check out these collections to get some ideas for you.

Many countries suffer from having too much plastic garbage. Many countries dump the garbage in the ocean, and contribute to the various garbage patches throughout the world. The plastic in the ocean breaks down into smaller pieces but never chemically degrades, so a recycling option would be helpful.
  1. Pinterest: Recycled plastic bottle ideas. They have everything from a painted vase with base, garden slow watering bottles, chained planters for small plants, Tiki masks, water sprinkler, and more!
  2. Make plastic bottle string.  Video
  3. Soda bottle rope. Video. This actually could be strong stuff. 
  4. Simple plastic bottle string from Mr. Gear. Video. If you look at the different designs you will be able to figure out how to make a simple one for little or no money.
  5. Roman Ursu also has a simple way to make soda bottle string. Video.
  6. This machine makes trimmer string from plastic bottles. Video. They run the braided line over a hot plate to congeal it together. Another machine makes brooms from soda bottle "string". 
  7. How I made my soda bottle cutter. Simple. Video
  8. Recycling milk jugs into fencing. Video.  
  9. Roof tiles made from recycled plastic. Video. Plastic doesn't degrade, it doesn't rust, it's waterproof, so roof tiles are a super application here!
  10. Making brooms from plastic bottles! What better way to clean up your garbage and clean up your house too! Video.
A "Recycling Bicycle" (re-bicycle?) makes plastic thread from old plastic. Video. This is a bike-powered grinder to grind down plastics so people can sell the pellets for about $1.80 per kilogram. This could be a significant source of income for them. The device also heats the plastic to make a flat thread which can be used to make chairs or stools or nets. One problem is many people will not have access to electricity for the extruder, which is integrated into the bicycle grinder.

However there are some problems. Buyers do not want plastics of various types mixed together as they make a very low grade plastic. They want plastics separated. Illiterate populations will have a hard time telling the different plastics apart even if there are recycle symbols on the plastic, so this could be an impossible hurdle for most poor people in developing countries.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

2015: IARC declares glyphosate (Roundup) probable carcinogen

IARC, the research arm of WHO, declared that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is a probably human carcinogen. PDF here.

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Food Revolution documentary pushes toxic chemicals

The documentary "Food Revolution" pushes the toxic chemical industry.But there has been quite a history of lying and hiding studies in the past.
  1. 1985: Monsanto admits glyphosate could cause cancer
  2. Monsanto used army of shills to promote pesticides. If it was safe, why the need for paid shills?
  3. Monsanto faces more cancer lawsuits. If it was safe, why all the lawsuits? 
  4. Low levels of Roundup cause liver disease in rats. But they said it was safe? 
  5. Scotts GMO grass escapes test beds. But they said it couldn't escape? 
  6. GM soy linked to sick pigs.  
  7. Monsanto GMO corn damaged intestines.
  8. USDA: 85% of foods tested contain glyphosate
  9. High levels of glyphosate found in many American foods. Lists the foods that were tested, with brands.
  10. Study: glyphosate kills good bacteria in the gut. This leads to several chronic illnesses.
  11. Study: glyphosate linked to more disease
  12. Study: Glyphosate damages algae. Monsanto says "not fair!"
  13. Monsanto and EU hid studies showing dangers of glyphosate (Roundup). But if it's safe, why hide the studies?
  14. Consensus of scientists: Roundup is bad for the body!

Each month more studies come out showing the dangers of pesticides, yet industry keeps saying they are safe. Look at all the times the chemical industry hid studies, lied by omission, and independent studies proved them wrong. It's ridiculous.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Brazil approves world's first gmo sugar cane

It doesn't matter if the sugar can is GMO or not, if they spray it with glyphosate it will end up in our food. Glyphosate is sprayed on the leaves, and taken up by all of the plant. It cannot be washed off. Sugar cane is used in LOTS of foods that need a sweetener. Glyphosate is also used to kill a whole crop all at once to increase crop yields, whether the crop is Roundup Ready or not.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Reusing soap slivers

How does one reuse soap slivers? There are several methods.

There used to be a mold where the top and bottom came off. You soak your slivers for 24 hours to make them soft, drain excess water, and press soft slivers into this mold. Then remove a new block of soap. But I can't find this mold on Amazon, Ebay, or Aliexpress. If you can find this soap press, please let me know in the comments.

Some people mash the soap into a muffin tin with a sturdy plastic cup. I would avoid using a glass since some might break in your hands and cause injury. 

Some people grate the soap, heat it up in a tin can (pop cans are too light for this), and pour into a waxed Dixie cup for a round soap. Some others use muffin tins, and pour the melted soap in there. You can use muffin tins from the Dollar Tree but spray them with oil before pouring melted soap into them. I'm going to try a silicone mold later because I can push the soap out through the bottom.
Aliexpress link to round silicone soap mold.

I  tried to microwave some slivers on 50% power but they just bubbled like popcorn.

If you have an idea that worked well, please leave a comment! Thanks!

Monday, June 26, 2017

New study shows toxic environs cause cancer

  1. It's not just genetics, but a toxic environment can cause cancer, says a new study from the journal Cancer. 
  2. Researchers examined hundreds of variables that contribute to the overall quality of the environment. These included air pollution, water pollution, pesticide and radon levels, access to health services, and healthy food. (Some studies suggest that tires going on the roads produce a black rubber dust which can make asthma worse.)
  3. The researchers concluded that poor quality of air and built environment as well as high sociodemographic risk factors had the strongest associations to higher rates of cancer, particularly in urban areas. (Sociodemographic risk factors mean, besides other things, poor people can only afford older, cheap housing, which often has lead paint, asbestos, etc.)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

BHA and BHT in cosmetics

Butylated compounds, includes BHA and BHT are commonly found in cosmetics.

Butylated compounds are found in creams, lip products, makeup, hair products, sunscreen, fragrance, antiperspirant/deodorant, and more. Some studies have shown they can influence hormones in the body, can be toxic to some organs, can cause with child development, and may cause cancer. The compounds have many names, but here's one: butylated hydroxyanisole. It has a CAS No. 25013-16-5.

From the NTP report on Butylated Hydroxyanisole:
Dietary exposure to BHA caused benign and malignant tumors of the forestomach (papilloma and squamous-cell carcinoma) in rats of both sexes and in male mice and hamsters (IARC 1986, Masui et al. 1986). Since BHA was listed in the Sixth Annual Report on Carcinogens, an additional study in experimental animals has been identified. Dietary administration of BHA to fish (hermaphroditic Rivulus marmoratus) as larvae caused liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) in the adult fish (Park et al. 1990).

Currently there is not enough data to say whether BHA causes cancer in humans, but gathering more data on this can  take years.

The best action to take is to avoid butylated compounds, and help your kids do the same. Check all lotions, chapstick, lip gloss, and anything they put on their skin.

  2. National Toxicology Program, “Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition. Butylated Hydroxyanisole,” 2011. [Last accessed 6/12/2017].
  3. Environmental Working Group, “Skin Deep. Butylated Hydroxytoluene,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 20 June 2013].
  4. Environmental Working Group, “Skin Deep. Butylated Hydroxyanisole,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 20 June 2013].
  5. Labrador V et al., “Cytotoxicity of butylated hydroxyanisole in Vero cells,” Cell biology and toxicology, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 189-99, 2007.
  6. Lanigan RS, Yamarik TA, “Final report on the safety of assessment of BHT (1),” International journal of toxicology, vol. 21, no. Suppl 2, pp. 19-94, 2002.
  7. Jeong SH et al, “Effects of butylated hydroxyanisole on the development and functions of reproductive system in rats,” Toxicology, vol. 208, no. 1, pp. 49-62, 2005.
  8. Masui T et al, “Sequential changes of the forestomach of F344 rats, Syrian golden hamsters, and B6C3F1 mice treated with butylated hydroxyanisole,” Japanese journal of cancer research, vol. 77, no. 11, pp. 1083-90, 1986.
  9. Botterweck AA, “Intake of butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene and stomach cancer risk: results from analyses in the Netherlands Cohort Study,” Food and chemical toxicology, vol. 38, no. 7, pp. 599-605, 2000.

[1] National Toxicology Program, “Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition. Butylated Hydroxyanisole,” 2011.
[2] Environmental Working Group, “Skin Deep. Butylated Hydroxytoluene,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 20 June 2013].
[3] Environmental Working Group, “Skin Deep. Butylated Hydroxyanisole,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 20 June 2013].
[4] Labrador V et al., “Cytotoxicity of butylated hydroxyanisole in Vero cells,” Cell biology and toxicology, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 189-99, 2007.
[5] Lanigan RS, Yamarik TA, “Final report on the safety of assessment of BHT (1),” International journal of toxicology, vol. 21, no. Suppl 2, pp. 19-94, 2002.
[6] Jeong SH et al, “Effects of butylated hydroxyanisole on the development and functions of reproductive system in rats,” Toxicology, vol. 208, no. 1, pp. 49-62, 2005.
[7] Masui T et al, “Sequential changes of the forestomach of F344 rats, Syrian golden hamsters, and B6C3F1 mice treated with butylated hydroxyanisole,” Japanese journal of cancer research, vol. 77, no. 11, pp. 1083-90, 1986.
[8] Botterweck AA, “Intake of butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene and stomach cancer risk: results from analyses in the Netherlands Cohort Study,” Food and chemical toxicology, vol. 38, no. 7, pp. 599-605, 2000. - See more at:

Monday, June 19, 2017

FDA resumes testing foods for glyphosate

  1. The FDA is one of very few labs that can handle testing of lots of foods. But they need to release the data too, like the amount of glyphosate found in ppm. Very much like lead, there is no safe limit where a person can be exposed to glyphosate. The EPA limits of glyphosate exposure are fake, disingenuous, and dangerous. 
  2. Investigation started about collusion between top EPA official and Monsanto. Some people suspect data was cooked or data unfavorable to Monsanto was simply omitted in testing reports.
  3. A group of 20 scientists and doctors say glyphosate is not safe at any level.

Huffington Post.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

New Spark drone only $500usd

Why is this a big deal? Because it has features of more expensive drones. The Spark from DJI has these high-end features:
  1. 16 minutes of battery life. (Not bad for a drone this size.)
  2. 12 megapixel camera (12 million pixels).
  3. HD 720p real-time Wi-Fi transmits video 2km away.
  4. Intuitive gesture controls so you can fly it without using a controller or smart phone. (I assume the camera would have to be looking at the user for this to work.)
  5. Built-in motion tracking to keep important people or objects in frame. 
  6. VPS range: 30m
  7. Transmission range: 2km (1.2 miles)
  8. Speed: 50km/h.
  9. 2 axis gimbal
  10. Requires smart phone to control: 
  11. First person view: YES. Supports DJI goggles.
  12. Return home function: YES.
  13. Quickshot modes for making videos. DRONIE: drone watches target and flies up and backwards. ROCKET: Drone points camera down and flies straight up. CIRCLE: circle around your target. HELIX: fly upward circling around your target. 
  14. TRACE: follow your subject from front or behind or circle around it. 
  15. PROFILE: follow subject from a fixed perspective.

But this drone is not for beginners. The Mavic Pro is $1000 and is the next smallest drone.

To be released June 15, 2017.

Popular Mechanics. May 24, 2017.

Friday, June 16, 2017

White "pineapple" strawberries a bust

We recently got some straweberries that taste like "pineapple", at least that's what the tag says. When they are ripe they are white, with a slight blush, and the seeds turn red. But they just aren't that great, they just taste like sour strawberries.

Would not buy again.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

PiTop: $89 open source laptop!

The PiTop is a laptop that has a Pine64 (similar to a Raspberry Pi) inside it. The PiTop has a 11.6" screen, keyboard, touch pad, 1.2MP camera, Bluetooth 4.0, and more. The MicroSD card slot supports up to 256GB cards. This is a low-end laptop with 2GB RAM, 12GB of storage, and it only runs Linux, not Windows. But there are many free apps for Linux like OpenOffice. This laptop will do fine for word processing, spreadsheets, but may not do great at streaming video.

The 11.6" screen version weights only 2.3lbs (1.04kg). 

This might be worth checking out. See full article here.

The main Pine64 site that sells the laptop.

Dicamba pesticide drift destroying more crops in Arkansas

  1. Dicamba spray can be lifted by the wind onto neighboring fields. This drifting spray is killing thousands of acres of cotton, soybeans, fruit trees, and more.
  2. Damage to people from dicamba shows up at much lower concentrations than originally though. (Source.)
  3. Insurance companies do not cover losses from dicamba. (See here.)
  4. And Monsanto has been sued over dead crops from spray drift.
  5. There has also been an assault over continued spray drift onto a neighboring field.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Portable spectrometer

This might help you find pesticides in your food, or lead in your water. Read more here.

This would require smart phone. Estimated delivery Nov 2017.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Bee-killing neonicitinoids approval violated the law

  1. A Federal Court in San Francisco has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) systematically violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – a key wildlife protection law – when it approved bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids.
  2. The EPA also has rules where the cost of approval (or non-approval) must also be taken into account. This lets industry influence the approval process far too much if the company asking for approval simply reports there is little cost associated with the pesticide.
  3. Judge Maxine Chesney of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that EPA had unlawfully issued 59 pesticide registrations between 2007 and 2012 for a wide variety of  uses.
  4. The more recent theory of bee colony collapse disorder is various pesticides, including neonicotinoids, harm the bees' immune system and allow infections of fungus and mite infestations on the bees, which eventually kills multiple hives. Hobby bee keepers have also reported large bee deaths when their hives are near a farmer's field.
  5. Neonics., as they are often called, can be sprayed on plants, and their flowers, and when bees touch the flowers the pesticide gets on them.
Center for Food Safety.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

1985 memo: Monsanto suspected glyphosate caused cancer

Twitter pic.

The letter is as follows:

April 3, 1985

To: T. F. Evans

The following item of information is in addition to those included in the current monthly report.

Senior management at EPA is reviewing a proposal to classify glyphosate as a class C "possible human carcinogen" because of kidney adenonomas in male mice. Dr. Marvin Kuschner will review kidney sections and present his evaluation of them to EPA in an effort to persuade the agency that the observed tumors are not related to glyphosate.

George J. Levinskas

cc: G Rousch Jr MD

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.


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.

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, or charge power banks, 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]( 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.

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.
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 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.

Stanford Extreme Tech. 2011.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monsanto faces more new cancer lawsuits

Monsanto is facing more lawsuits, and a bundle of 3 lawsuits was filed in St. Louis recently. The claim is glyphosate exposure caused them to get non-Hodgkins lymphoma, for which there is some correlation to glyphosate exposure.

This graph of correlation shows how closely the studies found glyphosate exposure was related to certain illnesses. Non-Hodgkins lymphoma was the most correlated.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Joule Thief circuits

A Joule Thief is a circuit that can boost voltage. It can be useful to make LED flashlights, or for emergencies, where you only have a single 1.5vdc battery. The Joule Thief (JT) can be used to boost the 1.5vdc to 3.0vdc or more. All the parts can be bought at Radio Shack, or Ebay.

The below Joule Thief is very efficient. It can be made from simple parts and is powered by one AA battery (or any 1.5v battery).
This Joule Thief needs 0.4v-1.5vdc as input. You will have to make your own custom toroid though.
Below is another simple JT circuit.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

DIY batteries and choosing an electrolyte

When making DIY batteries, which electrolyte should we use? It should be easily found in stores, inexpensive, and fairly safe. But which liquid electrolyte works best? 
The best electrolyte we found was hydrogen peroxide + table salt. Hydrogen peroxide is available at drug stores and safe to use, but we suspect the solution has to be made up fresh -- it won't keep.
Another battery they talk about uses 2 different electrolytes, one electrolyte for each metal:
copper metal | copper sulfate solution | salt solution | zinc metal

This uses 2 different paper layers soaked in each electrolyte: copper sulfate and a salt solution. The problems with this is the paper would eventually dry out unless it is in a sealed container. Putting shrink tubing around a penny and zinc battery might help.

But ethanol, ammonia, vinegar, sulfuric acide, and muriatic acid can also be used. But saltwater can be very harsh on certain metals like magnesium.

By looking for a "galvanic potential" chart we can see that aluminum and graphite in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and salt can work well, but the hydrogen peroxide will not last long, especially if exposed to light.

More examples of electrolytes, including bases.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Broken energy meters report up to 600% more energy used than actually used

A new study by the University of Twente in Holland shows many meters can give inaccurate readings, in some cases showing up to 582% more energy used than was actually used. The most problematic meters are the newer digital "smart" meters. Older meters with a rotating disk are more accurate.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Monsanto defeated re: PCBs

PCBs are highly toxic to people and the environment, and Monsanto has been dodging lawsuits for decades. PCBs were banned by the EPA in 1979. Various cities, like Portland, and even Washington state, want Monsanto to pay for cleanup costs. Monsanto didn't want to be responsible for chemicals it no longer manufactures. Monsanto requested a judge for a motion to dismiss lawsuits but the motion was denied, and the lawsuits continue.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Farmers know how dangerous dicamba is

  1. Dicamba use will expand a lot in 2017.
  2. Make sure to wash dicamba tanks REALLY well. Not doing so can result in crop damage and legal problems.
  3. A triple rinse is advised.
  4. Damage from that chemical "shows up at much lower levels" than some other herbicides, said Fred Whitford, a professor in Purdue University's pesticide program
  5. Disposing of rinse water can be tricky as even small amounts of dicamba are dangerous. 

The Progressive Farmer.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Food additive might be linked to stomach and several other problems.

Researchers at Binghamton University in New York found that chronic exposure to titanium dioxide — an additive present in chewing gum, candy and bread — changed digestive cells’ structure and function. Ultimately, the study suggests that frequent consumption of foods with the additive may lead to less nutrient absorption, impaired digestive function and a slower metabolism. Chronic exposure also led to more inflammation, an effect that is tied to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Fox News.
The news from

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Is Power over Ethernet cable the next big thing?

New CREE light fixtures (not just bulbs, fixtures) use power from ethernet cables. They can also be controlled by the computer over the network. It looks like a special router just for these lights is needed.

There are several levels of PoE:
  1. PoE (IEEE 802.3af) provides up to 13 W (37 to 57 V, max 350 mA).
  2. PoE+ (802.3at) bumps it up to 25 W (42 to 57 V, max 600 mA), but requires Cat5 cabling or better. (If each LED draws 3.3vdc then PoE+ port can support up to 7 of those LEDs. The volts drawn by each LED seems to be the limiting factor, not the amps.)
  3. UPoE: 60vdc limit but at how many amps?


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

100s of lipsticks contain lead

Out of 20 brands the FDA tested 100s of lipsticks and found lead in every one. Red lipstick pigments are more likely to contain lead.

Lead causes irreversible brain damage, personality changes, and violent behavior and there is no safe level of exposure. Try to avoid it. 


Monday, March 6, 2017

Self-charging battery from

Usually 2 separate units are used to generate and store energy. 1. Something to generate the energy, like solar, coal, gas, etc. 2. A battery to store the energy. Now for the first time, using nanomaterials, a self-charging battery has been made.

They used a PVDF film, which is a piezoelectric material. That means when it's compressed, it generates a small amount of electricity. This is how many cigarette and barbecue lighters work. You have to press that "ignite" button pretty hard to make a spring-loaded hammer smack a piezoelectric material, to generate that spark.

A compressive force at 2.3Hz could generate 327 to 395 millivolts. While that is not enough to power an LED, which requires about 2200mv, that voltage can be boosted somewhat. This important because it creates energy from mechanical movement in one step.

A compressive force with a frequency of 2.3 Hz could increase the voltage of the device from 327 to 395 mV in 4 minutes.

Read more at:

A compressive force with a frequency of 2.3 Hz could increase the voltage of the device from 327 to 395 mV in 4 minutes.

Read more at:
A compressive force with a frequency of 2.3 Hz could increase the voltage of the device from 327 to 395 mV in 4 minutes.

Read more at:
Source 2012-08.

Study: Xinyu Xue, et al. “Hybridizing Energy Conversion and Storage in a Mechanical-to-Electrochemical Process for Self-Charging Power Cell.” Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/nl302879t.

Xinyu Xue, et al. “Hybridizing Energy Conversion and Storage in a Mechanical-to-Electrochemical Process for Self-Charging Power Cell.” Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/nl302879t

Read more at:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

This is what love is

How to tell if someone loves you. This goes for the women too.


Interesting Vertical Wind turbine

Near VAWT. I wonder if they just sell the turbine?

A 3-d printed VAWT that uses old plastic shades for some parts.

A box fan wind turbine. NOTE: box fan motors are not normally DC motors. You will probably have to swap out the old motor for a DC motor.
A PC fan wind turbine. These are often DC motors but not always. Check the motor carefully. You need a DC motor for generating electricity easily.
And another one that looks easy to make out of PVC tubing glued to plastic sheets.
Here's a style where you can use winder PVC pipes instead of having to build them.

More news about clean power: CleanTechnica.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

GMOFreeUSA testing foods for glyphosate

GMOFreeUSA is testing foods in the US for GMO content along with glyphosate. This program is called Operation Label GMO. In the future they also want to test 2,4-D, dicamba, atrazine, and neonicotinoid insecticides. A combination of these toxic chemicals is likely responsible for lots of bee deaths around the US. The chemicals overwhelm their immune system, and they can get fungal or mite infections, and die. These infections then spread to the rest of the hive and can wipe out most of the hive. Commercial bee keepers, who help pollinate many of the US crops, are very concerned.

Sunchips and Gerber Lil Crunchies have already been found to contain pesticides by GMO Free USA. So have Cheerios, Doritos, Goldfish crackers, Oreos, and Ritz crackers (source).

Related articles
Pollinators being killed by pesticides
Wikipedia Colony Collapse Disorder
85% of tested foods contain pesticides.
How to test your food and water for pesticides.
60% of bread tested in the UK contains pesticides

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

EPUBreader needs your help!

EPUBReader is the best EPUB  reader/library for Firefox. It's an add-on for the Firefox browser which can read EPUB books from anywhere. EPUBReader will cease to work in a few months due to major changes coming to Firefox, and rewriting this very complex add-on will take time.

Please consider pledging $10euros, about $10usd, to keep the project alive. Donate here. You use your credit card to make a donation. Your credit card is not charged unless the project meets its goal. When the goal is met, only then is your credit chard charged.

Thank you.

Second class action lawsuit against Monsanto for dicamba damage


A new class action lawsuit against Monsanto, in US district court in Missouri, is about damage from dicamba. Even small amounts of dicamba are dangerous to crops, and can directions advise triple rinsing dicamba tanks and carefully disposing of rinse water. Even spray that drifts from one property to another can kill many crops costing the farmers a lot of money.

Monsanto's Xtend cotton and soybeans are resistant to dicamba, and so farmers spray them to control weeds. But spray drift can kill neighboring farmers' crops.

A Missouri bill wants to stop illegal dicamba use. And farmers must be careful about spraying in windy conditions.

Progressive Farmer.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Research continues on non-exploding lithium batteries

Researchers at Tufts University continue to develop their lithium battery that does not explode or catch fire or even heat up when punctured or cut. Prof. Zimmerman does not use an electrolyte and instead uses a plastic barrier between the anode and cathode. This could be a great leap in safety, and storage capacity, for lithium batteries. But can they scale up production?

There was even a Nova show (Search for the Super Battery) with Prof. Zimmerman.

Prof Mike Zimmerman's page at Tufts. Zimmerman founded a company Ionic Materials to develop the battery.

Scientists call for ban on GMO mustard in India

Also: Kerala gov't wants to ban GMO mustard.
Bihar chief fights against GMO mustard.
Indian political party AAP against GMO mustard
Safety concerns over GMO mustard.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Low levels of Roundup cause liver disease in rats

A long-term, low-dose study by Seralini and others shows Roundup causes liver disease in female rats. The study took 2 years and...
The dose selected was below what people are commonly exposed to in the everyday environment and 75,000 times below what is permitted by EU regulators.
The study found Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in the rates. NAFLD is found in 20% of the general population today, making people wonder if there's a link between Roundup (which contains more chemicals than just glyphosate) and NAFLD. Naturally, a study was warranted. In a previous study, even rats given 0.1ppb (parts per billion!) over 2 years showed liver damage. In the current study, 214 proteins out of 1906 were "disturbed". That's 11.2%. But hundreds of proteins being disrupted is still very bad.

EurActive. Jan 11, 2017.
The study in Nature. Backup link at

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Thin film cell generates 6vdc.

This cell is no more than 1mm thick and about 2x2 inches. It generates 6vdc. I'd like to figure out how to make one to test how many amps it has.

This guy has been doing a lot of work over a year and he might be on to something if he can scale up production.


He also has a prototype called  mini generator. He uses a silicon graphite cell but with a slightly different electrolyte. These are not capacitors, they are generators that make their own electricity. The voltage is 3.5-v4dc, good enough to power 1-2 LED lights, or more with a voltage booster. Magnets are used to compress the layers to increase efficiency, but if he uses neodymium magnets the cost could go up to $10usd for the one cell he displays in this video. NDs are not cheap.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

China rejects tons of GMO corn

This is from 2014, but I list it just for the "hmmmm".
[SANTIAGO] China’s rejection on March 24 of 21,800 tonnes of US corn containing an unapproved genetically-modified organisms (GMO) strain takes the volume of US corn turned away by the Asian nation since November to 908,800 tonnes. The contamination detected by the Chinese has hit sales and corn prices, damaging US farmers growing GM-free crops.
GMO Journal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New chicken lays eggs of different chicken varieties.

New genetically modified chicken lays eggs which hatch into different chicken varieties.

TLDR: Chicken lays egg. A camel hatches out.

Also, The Mirror uses hyperbole! Wait, that's not news.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Radioactivity spreads over Europe

No one can figure out where the radioactive Iodine-131 comes from. Wikipedia says:
It has a radioactive decay half-life of about eight days. It is associated with nuclear energy, medical diagnostic and treatment procedures, and natural gas production. It also plays a major role as a radioactive isotope present in nuclear fission products, and was a significant contributor to the health hazards from open-air atomic bomb testing in the 1950s, and from the Chernobyl disaster, as well as being a large fraction of the contamination hazard in the first weeks in the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
It was first found near the Norway Russia border in January 2017. Perhaps there is a nuclear site near there. It also appeared in Finland, Poland, Czechia (Czech Republic), Germany, France and Spain but details of the problem were only release recently.


EPA to reevaluate Neonics, as possibly responsible for bee deaths around the US


EPA documents say that the EPA will reevaluate neonicotinoids as they are possibly responsible bee devastation around the US. Assessments to be finished in 2018.

On Jan 12, 2017, the EPA released its preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin (Poncho), thiamethoxam (Cruiser), and dinotefuran, a preliminary aquatic risk assessment for imidacloprid (Gaucho). The risk assessment plan is open to public comment until about Mar 12, 2017. The actual risk assessments wil be released in mid-2018.

EPA risk assessment for neonics. This is just a timeline that shows they are reassessing several pesticides. Alt link.
Comment on the EPA's risk assessment plan here.