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Discworld recycler extraordinaire!

 
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There's a thread here about a character from Terry Pratchett's Discworld book series Anyone know what Rincewind wears?

It made me think about the character in Discworld that is most Permies-ish...
Harry King, who recycles EVERYTHING!

From Harry King  Discworld Wiki and Harry King Discworld Fandom wiki

Harry King, aka Piss Harry and the King of the Golden River is a businessman in Ankh-Morpork. He is a large pink-faced man who is usually seen smoking a big cigar. He makes his living as a "night soil" removals man, his staff emptying the chamber pots of Ankh-Morpork for a fee. He also collects the rubbish from around the city and the river. He then sells the contents; saltpetre and ammonia to alchemists, urine and feces to tanners and farmers, lost valuables to the pawn brokers, etc. Since he makes money at both ends, people paying him to take away unwanted material, which he sells for more money, it is a perfect operation, one that everyone is happy to have someone else do if they can avoid doing it themselves. In the process, Harry becomes the most wealthy man in Ankh-Morpoork.



The gates of Harry's yard used to carry the slogan "H. King – taking the piss since 1961" but on the insistence of his wife he changed the latter part to "recycling nature's bounty".  



Historically in England

 Night soil collectors sold the urine and excrement that they collected (and still do it some countries). Urine contains urea which degrades into ammonia and is used in a number of industries. Tanners use it to loosen hair on animal hides. Laundresses used it to whiten and clean clothes. It could be used to make saltpeter for gunpowder. It was used to set dyes in the fabric trade and also used as a teeth whitener mouth wash. Human excrement was used as a fertilizer for crops as is animal excrement. Animal excrement is used as a fuel source and to mix into adobe brick to make buildings. Dog droppings were used in the tanning industry to soften the leather.



In one book it's mentioned that anything he can't sell goes into his great steaming compost heaps outside of town.

Now THIS is a book character I can relate to, I can't relate to being a princess captured by a dragon, but I can imagine being the Queen of Compost! :D

 
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i loved how ‘white dog muck’ got the best price from the tanners.
 
Pearl Sutton
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greg mosser wrote:i loved how ‘white dog muck’ got the best price from the tanners.



I think "white" in that context meant fresh. Fresh dog muck is much stronger than aged.
 
greg mosser
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could be! i’ve actually seen very pale dog turds, even relatively fresh - i thought it might be a reference to some kind of rarified upper-crust dog diet. but freshness makes sense.
 
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This is why it pisses me off that pet excrement almost always goes to the landfill in my area. I'll swear there should be enough dogs and cats to justify coming up with a better option. They started a green waste program, but banned pet bedding, among other bodily fluid related things like baby wipes, (so at least they aren't only targeting non-human pets.) On the scale they're working at, I would hope getting a compost hot enough to kill all the nasties, would be an appropriate goal. They did say that invasive plants were also banned, but how many would end up there anyway, so without getting the compost good and hot, they could be inviting trouble!

Yes, Pearl, I can totally believe that you would prefer to be Mr. King's wife than a Princess, however, I think you just need to think up all the uses Discworld had for dragons - fire lighting, forge work, etc - and expand on that list and then figure out how you could befriend that dragon, and you'd be in fine shape! I suppose it would partly depend on what the dragon could/would eat apart from maidens?

 
Pearl Sutton
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Yes, Pearl, I can totally believe that you would prefer to be Mr. King's wife


Wife!? Oh no. I want to depose him. ME be the Queen.  :D

than a Princess, however, I think you just need to think up all the uses Discworld had for dragons - fire lighting, forge work, etc - and expand on that list and then figure out how you could befriend that dragon, and you'd be in fine shape! I suppose it would partly depend on what the dragon could/would eat apart from maidens?


I'd like to have a pet dragon, and trust me, I'd be very willing and able to put it to work :D
 
greg mosser
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of course, most of the dragons left on discworld are ‘swamp dragons’, which are housecat-sized…i suppose that would somewhat limit their usefulness. but you wouldn’t have to worry about their potential diet so much, either.

i know i’m veering farther off-topic here, but another thing i always enjoyed about discworld was how for most of the ‘advanced’ technology items, the discworld equivalent just had imps who lived in them and did the work (little painter-imps in cameras, etc).  to me that would have more potential applications than dragons.
 
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I want a Swamp Dragon jet pack!
DragonPack.jpg
[Thumbnail for DragonPack.jpg]
 
Pearl Sutton
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Dc Stewart wrote:I want a Swamp Dragon jet pack!


But swamp dragons tend to explode!
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

I can imagine being the Queen of Compost! :D



Pearl, sometimes I wonder if you are my twin...

 
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Dc Stewart wrote:I want a Swamp Dragon jet pack!



I want Sapient pearwood luggage!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Cat Knight wrote:

Pearl Sutton wrote:
I can imagine being the Queen of Compost! :D


Pearl, sometimes I wonder if you are my twin...


If so, you oughta come to parties with me :D
Best thing you ever pulled from a dumpster  (direct link to my post in that thread)
 
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He he, here's Asby Brown author of Just Enough talking about profit from poo in Japan using a similar scheme to the King of Compost ;)

(start at 27:18)  
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

greg mosser wrote:i loved how ‘white dog muck’ got the best price from the tanners.



I think "white" in that context meant fresh. Fresh dog muck is much stronger than aged.



I actually beg to disagree. It's a bit of (strange) trope that older folk, here in the UK, talk about seeing white dog poo on the streets - before it was common for people to bag it and bin it (or flick it into the undergrowth!). The "dog eggs" would become colonised by various molds and fungi and turn all sorts of lurid shades, eventually becoming white. Terry Pratchett would have been aware of that and I suspect was playing up to it.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Luke Mitchell wrote:

Pearl Sutton wrote:

greg mosser wrote:i loved how ‘white dog muck’ got the best price from the tanners.



I think "white" in that context meant fresh. Fresh dog muck is much stronger than aged.



I actually beg to disagree. It's a bit of (strange) trope that older folk, here in the UK, talk about seeing white dog poo on the streets - before it was common for people to bag it and bin it (or flick it into the undergrowth!). The "dog eggs" would become colonised by various molds and fungi and turn all sorts of lurid shades, eventually becoming white. Terry Pratchett would have been aware of that and I suspect was playing up to it.



Oh COOL! Thank you! I didn't know that!
I was thinking how fresh dog poop burns plants way faster than older poop.
Wonder what the mold etc did for the tanners?  Hmm...
 
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Jay Angler wrote:This is why it pisses me off that pet excrement almost always goes to the landfill in my area. I'll swear there should be enough dogs and cats to justify coming up with a better option. They started a green waste program, but banned pet bedding, among other bodily fluid related things like baby wipes, (so at least they aren't only targeting non-human pets.) On the scale they're working at, I would hope getting a compost hot enough to kill all the nasties, would be an appropriate goal. They did say that invasive plants were also banned, but how many would end up there anyway, so without getting the compost good and hot, they could be inviting trouble!

Yes, Pearl, I can totally believe that you would prefer to be Mr. King's wife than a Princess, however, I think you just need to think up all the uses Discworld had for dragons - fire lighting, forge work, etc - and expand on that list and then figure out how you could befriend that dragon, and you'd be in fine shape! I suppose it would partly depend on what the dragon could/would eat apart from maidens?



All my pet excrement goes on the compost heap. Never had a problem. But they are raw fed and that makes a difference to to quality of the poop.
 
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greg mosser wrote:could be! i’ve actually seen very pale dog turds, even relatively fresh - i thought it might be a reference to some kind of rarified upper-crust dog diet. but freshness makes sense.



I believe it's more to do with shedding excess calcium.
 
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