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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

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, 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:
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 red.

Lead causes irreversible brain damage 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.

Monday, February 20, 2017

DIY Magnesium, graphite, and salt water battery

Here's a Youtube video about making a DIY battery from magnesium, graphite, and salt water as the electrolyte.

  1. I got magnesium ribbon from Ebay. 
  2. Graphite is what's in most US pencils these days, it's not actually lead, the metal. So carefully cut away the wood from a pencil, and you are left with a graphite core. 
  3. Any saltwater solution can be made. You can start with a weak one: 100ml water, 1tsp salt. Take a voltage reading with a multimeter. 
  4. Add another 1tsp of salt and stir well. Take another voltage reading. 

  • How good is this battery compared to other DIY batteries in this series? 
  • What if you change the electrolyte to vinegar? Lemon juice? Soda? Do the volts go up or down?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

DIY penny and nickel battery

This battery is made from some US pennies, and nickels. It also uses a saltwater electrolyte.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Meijer cheese recalled

Meijer brand colby and colby jack cheese has been recalled. Contamination by listeria was suspected but there have been no known illnesses reported.

The product has deli packaging with  labels that begin with the UPCs 215927xxxxxx or 215938xxxxx.

US Food Safety.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Canadian test: gluten free foods have high levels of glyphosate

The (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) tested 7600 foods for presence of Glyphosate and AMPA (a glyphosate metabolite). Some of the foods with the highest levels of this poison are: chickpeas, wheat, gluten free foods, lentils. 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

More DIY battery links

Looking for more fun to make your own batteries at home? Here are some more links.

DIY battery from Uses copper and zinc in an acid electrolyte.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

India: spinach from Hyderabad contains pesticides

Spinach can be good for you, if it doesn't contain pesticides.

A survey by some research scholars of Jayashankar Agricultural University revealed this startling reality after testing the samples secured from Rythu bazaars in Mehdipatnam, Gudimalkapur and Shamshabad. The survey found that the leaf vegetable contains 11 types of pesticides, including five commonly used, like chlorpyrifos, triazophos, cypermethrin, deltamethrin and profenofos, Dr Narasimha Reddy, a scientist of Pesticide Action Networks India told The Hans India. He said the pesticides were found to have been sprinkled on the leaves of the vegetable to prolong its longevity post-harvest, after cutting.
Pesticides are in more foods than you think, which is why it's time to have a portable pesticide detector for consumers to check all food. Not all organic food is pesticide- or gmo-free.


Friday, February 3, 2017

DIY aluminum air battery

This aluminum air battery is made from aluminum foil, and activated charcoal, with a paper towel between them soaked in an electrolyte.

  • Cathode: the negative terminal
  • Anode: the positive terminal

To test the battery, follow the directions from the site. Then take a multimeter and put the negative (-, black) probe on the charcoal, and the positive end (+, red) on the aluminum foil.
  1. How many volts does it produce? 
  2. How many amps? 
  3. What happens if you crush the charcoal into a powder? Do volts or amps increase? 

Monday, January 30, 2017

DIY penny battery

This DIY penny battery needs some US pennies with a zinc core (after 1982) and some cardboard soaked in an electrolyte.

When making the cardboard pieces, make sure they do not touch any other cardboard pieces. This will cause a short and the battery will not work.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Scotts grass escapes test beds

A type of grass by the Scotts company has escaped test beds and is now in the wild of Oregon. The grass is Roundup resistant, and people have been trying to kill it for 10 years. Now Scotts is trying to have Oregonians foot the bill, and ignore its own responsibility in the debacle.

GMO Inside. Jan 8, 2017.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lantern receives free data 24/7

The Lantern device from Outernet receives data for free from their collection of L-band satellites.
  • It is solar charged. Battery holds 4000mah.
  • It receives 20mb per day. That's about 20 minutes of good quality audio, average quality video, or 40 minutes of mono audio.
  • It does data to the internet, communication is receive only. 
  • A DIY receiver kit is $100.  It comes with the CHIP single board computer. (This means it requires a monitor, keyboard, mouse.)
  • It saves data and becomes a wifi hotspot, so you can share data with others. 
  • It currently receives content from offline Wikipedia files, and news stations like BBC, Medline, WHO and Al Jazeera. 
  • It has a USB for output, an SD card slot.  
  • You need to install an Oracle VM in order to update the hardware for Skylark.
  • The CHIP computer uses the OS called rxOS. 
From Wikipedia:
The Outernet broadcast is broken into three categories: the Queue, Sponsored Content, and the Core Archive.[5] Content in the Queue is decided via votes on Whiteboard as well as requests via the Outernet Facebook page. Outernet plans to expand the avenues through which it is able to receive requests for content. Anyone can view what is being broadcast on Outernet at any time.
The pieces
DIY home kit. $99us with USB power pack.

But there are still questions.
  1. How do we select which data we want to receive? 
  2. How can I request a specific file, ebook, or video? Use their Whiteboard, as a way to suggest content.Or their Filecast Center.
  3. Is the hotspot secured with a password that I can give to other people?  
  4. For the hotspot, is there user-level security where some people can access only one or two folders? 
  5. Can it connect to a Windows PC via wifi or USB port? Or do I need a separate keyboard, mouse and monitor? 
  6. How can I remove and manage content on my own Lantern hotspot? 
  7. Can I name the hotspot? Does it need it's own IP address? How do I get an IP address?  
  8. Can I leave it out in the rain? What about the snow?  A plastic enclosure is due soon.
  9. The DIY weather kit is not weather-proof. Are there any cases for the receiver?  
  10. How do we point the receiver to make sure we get the strongest signal?
  11. It uses a battery pack for power, but can it use 5vdc connected to mains power?
Future features
We currently envision a system that allows content-requests through SMS, phone calls, feature phone apps, and the website. Source.

Sources and more info

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Foods help you destress

People can get stress from a variety of sources, including work, relationships, neighbors, family, and more. Read this article to find out why these foods help the body deal with stress. Dark leafy greens and Chia seeds have magnesium which is important.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

DIY AA battery delivers 1.6vdc!

Yes I'm Jonesing for DIY batteries! There will be several articles on different types of DIY batteries.

This is a neat DIY project even kids can do. The voltage is so low it will hurt no one.

This delivers 1.6vdc. It probably costs more than batteries at the Dollar Tree, but it will work in a pinch. All you need is galvanized washers (which provides the zinc layer) and copper washes (for the copper layer), and cardboard soaked in vinegar or another acidic solution, or salt water.

An AA battery has a diameter of .53" (14mm) and a length of 1.95" (49.7mm) including the top button. If fitting this into a device is important, try to get 13mm washers (outside diameter) so you will room for the shrink wrap. A US penny can be used but it's too wide at 18.9mm.

Modern US pennies since about 1984 have a zinc inside, and thin copper layer outside. So you can sand off one side of the penny to expose the zinc, and the other side will be copper.

Some questions to ask when making this:
  1. Does the voltage or amps produced depend on the surface area of the washers? 
  2. What happens to the volts or amps if you change the electrolytes? 
Copper washers.
  1. Copper washers, 10x, from Hong Kong.
  2. Assorted copper washers various sizes, 200 pcs
  3. Copper washers, 6mm inside diam, 10mm outside diam, 1mm thick. 10 pcs.
  4. Copper washers, 14mm outside diam, 10pcs.  
  5. Copper washers, 13mm outside diam, 10pcs.

Zinc washers. (Galvanized washers means they are coated with zinc to resist rust.)
In various metric sizes.

  1. Washer dimensions.
  2. More metric washer dimensions (PDF).
  3. M6 washers have an OUTSIDE diameter of 11.5-16mm.
  4. M7 washers have outside diameter of 13.5mm.

Friday, January 20, 2017

97% of threatened species likely harmed by 2 pesticides

The EPA recently released its analysis of 1800 species protected under the Endangered Species Act are likely harmed by 2 pesticides: chlorpyrifos and malathion. It appears decades later, that neither government nor industry has learned a thing after the PCB and other fiascos of the 1960s and 1970s.

  1. EcoWatch. Jan 19, 2017. EcoWatch did not provide a link to the EPA report.
  2. Possible related reports: EPA report on malathion. The date of the report is conspicuously absent. EPA report on chlorpyrifos. EPA report on diazinon.
  3. Possible draft of the report from the EPA, April 2016. "As part of the Endangered Species Act consultation process with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), EPA has released for public comment the first-ever draft biological evaluations analyzing the nation-wide effects of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion on endangered and threatened species and designated critical habitat. Partial evaluations, without the effects determinations, were released in December 2015."

Study shows Roundup causes liver disease

Keep in mind that there's a difference between glyphosate (which is bad enough) and Roundup, which contains surfactants to make it better absorbed by plants. Some studies indicate Roundup to be much more dangerous than plain glyphosate.

The study was peer reviewed at Nature.comdoi:10.1038/srep39328
The impairment of liver function by low environmentally relevant doses of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) is still a debatable and unresolved matter. Previously we have shown that rats administered for 2 years with 0.1 ppb (50 ng/L glyphosate equivalent dilution; 4 ng/kg body weight/day daily intake) of a Roundup GBH formulation showed signs of enhanced liver injury as indicated by anatomorphological, blood/urine biochemical changes and transcriptome profiling. 
Wow! Damage at parts per billion! Or 4 NANOgrams per kg of body weight! Damage occurs at concentrations far below EPA standards.

This was a 2 year study on female rat liver tissue.  The rats suffered from Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). NAFLD currently affects 25% of the US population. NAFLD can progress to the more serious condition non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Over the 24 months the trigliceride levels rose in the rates. See Figure 1 graph in study.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Danish study: GM soy linked to sick pigs

Don't forget about this one from 2012. Farmers are learning how huge losses are caused by GM feed. But it's not the GM feed that's the problem, it's the pesticides, especially glyphosate, sprayed on the feed. Glyphosate is a systemic chemical, it's in all parts of the plant, and it can't be washed off. Many studies show it's harmful to mammals and mammal cells.
A Danish farming newspaper has caused quite a stir by devoting a sizeable part of its 13 April edition to the discoveries by pig farmer lb Borup Pedersen that GM soy has a damaging effect both on his animals and on his farming profitability. On the front page of the paper there was a lead story under the headline "Pig farmer reaps gains from GMO-free soy". On a sidebar the paper referred to Mr Pedersen's contention that DDT and Thalidomide were minor problems when set alongside GMOs and Glyphosate. In an Editorial Comment on page 2, the paper argued that it would be grossly irresponsible for the authorities to ignore or ridicule the discoveries made by the farmer in his pig farming operations, and it congratulated the authorities for commissioning a new study designed to determine whether stomach lesions and other effects might be associated with GM soy; in the study 100 animals will be fed with non-GM soy and 100 with GM soy in their diets.
Mr. Borup Pederson talked to a mainstream Danish farming newspaper (Effektivt Landbrug).

In his discussions with GM-Free Cymru Mr Pedersen itemised the following effects:
  1. Within 2 days diarrhoea virtually disappeared in the farrowing house, whereas before we had used 50-100 ml Borgal / day.
  2. Since switching, we have not experienced death from bloat in sows or death by ulcers, as opposed to minimum 1 per month previously. (36 sows died due to stomach related sickness over the last two years before switching)
  3. No sows have died through loss of appetite, whereas 2 sows died from this cause last year.
  4. Even without washing between farrowings, diarrhoea does not now reappear. Previously when we failed to wash between sows, we noticed more diarrhoea.
  5. Previously we have struggled with diarrhoea in first layer sows, we do not have this problem any more!
  6. Two years ago when the diarrhoea was as its worst, we had months with nearly 30% dead in the farrowing house. At that time it was impossible to find sows that could nurse piglets.
  7. Before it was unusual to have a sow with 13 piglets weaned. The average was about 10.5 per sow plus spare mothers. Now we are getting over 12 piglets on average weaned and 14 piglets weaned per sow is common. We have fewer nursing sows, simply because the sows are milking better and eating more.
  8. Sows farrow better and we have 0.3 more live births per sow, of which 0.2 is gained from fewer stillborn. Now we have 14.9 liveborn and 1.6 stillborn, averaged over the past 7 months.
  9. The piglets weaned are stronger and more evenly sized.
  10. Man-hours are reduced by 20-30 hours per month, partly by washing less and because everything is easier.
 This isn't a full-blown study, but still, it's very telling and should point the way to a larger study.

Post from GMWatch.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Batteroo post updated

The Batteroo post has been updated as people test the device. Read up here.

Basically I thought it was possible to miniaturize a Joule Thief but this device doesn't even do that. It's a total scam.

Testing different electrolytes at home for DIY batteries.

For each DIY battery you make, you have dissimilar metals, like copper and zinc. But sometimes they are not always metal, like the aluminum foil and activated charcoal battery. In order to test the power output of different electrolytes we must make all other variables the same. Here's what you will need:
  1. Penny
  2. Nickel, post-1964 (1964 was a transition year so some nickels contain silver, get a nickel post-1964 to make sure it has no silver)
  3. 2 wires each with an alligator clip.
  4. Multimeter. If you want to use a USB meter instead you will need to buy this USB to test hook adapter.
  5. 3 beakers or glasses. Plastic cups can work also. 
  6. Salt
  7. Vinegar
  8. Lemon juice
  9. Measuring spoon of 1 teaspoon
  10. Measuring beaker of 100ml. If you don't have a beaker use a measuring cup for liquid measurements, not dry measurements.

Above: I use different containers, and I found a 60ml measuring cup!
Above: Find some wires with alligator clips on both ends. Hook the red wire to the nickel (+, red) and the black wire to the penny (-, black).

Now put 100ml in a glass, put both the penny and nickel in the water, and turn the multimeter to measure DC voltage. We get about 147millivolts with plain water, that's not enough to even light an LED.

Remove the penny and nickel. Now take the 100ml of water and add one level teaspoon of salt to it. Stir it well. Now put the penny and nickel back into the water. What voltage does the voltmeter read now?

If your multimeter reads a negative voltage it just means you have to switch the probes around. A negative voltage won't harm your multimeter. 

Remove the nickel and penny and add a second teaspoon of salt, stir it well. Put the nickel and penny back into the saltwater. How much voltage is being generated? How many amps?

Discard the salt water and rinse the glass well. Now make these solutions and test the voltage and amps they output. Write each result down.
  1. 50ml water, 50ml vinegar. 
  2. 50ml water, 100ml vinegar. 
  3. Discard vinegar water and rinse glass well. 
  4. 50ml water, 50ml lemon juice. 
  5. Discard lemon water and rinse glass well. 
  6. Add 100ml of soda. Take a voltage reading. Write it down.

What happens to the voltage and amps in each case? By adding more vinegar or lemon juice (both acids), does the voltage go up or down? What kind of voltage does soda give? Sodas are very acidic so they should work very well.

You can search the internet for different kinds of metals. Certain combinations of metals give higher voltages, and some give more amps, and some give a longer run time. Likewise, the stronger acids can also have an effect on voltage.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"I'm not dead yet!"

"I'm not dead yet!" said a plague victim in Monty Python. Well, we're not dead yet either, we're just busy. If you have an article to submit, please write it up and get in contact with me to have it posted.

Thank you and have a great new year!