Chris Kott

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since Jan 25, 2012
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Recent posts by Chris Kott

Thanks Trace. I was wondering about side-effects. I still want to hear from others who do experience them, but it's good to know that some don't get any at all.

Please do keep us apprised, and good luck.

1 week ago
Also, history's first female composer, as far as I know.

4 weeks ago
Quite right, Judson, though if relocation of breeding pairs were possible,  it might do a lot of good to the larger system.

As to the protein thing, Rio, I was imprecise. Specifically, I was thinking about human food systems and research on sustainable vertical mariculture being used to replaced collapsed fisheries operations. I will try to find some links to interesting reading material.

1 month ago
Actually, I was also thinking the same, though mine is a microplane, and in addition to making lovely garlic mush in seconds, it takes care of ginger and turmeric roots, too, and probably horseradish, and any other root veggie or spice you'd normally crush and chop, and then add to the pot and wish you'd been able to make finer and more uniform.

Actually I have found really good uses in herbal preparations (lots of root spices and veg in fire cider). Microplanes produce finer, more uniform pieces, so if you're trying for some semblance of homogenaiety, it's really useful.

1 month ago
1. What, to you, is the most pressing environmental problem?

Systemic dysfunction. We have economic systems that externalise costs that the producers don't want to deal with, historically environmental and social costs, specifically. We need to fix the broken outlook and systems derived from it that have caused anthropogenic climate change.

2. Are you alarmed by the proliferation of plastic in the environment?

Wholeheartedly, yes. In my view, it's a plague. The only way to remove it from the biosphere after it's there as microplastics, so far as I can figure, is to gather up biomass and sand filters used to accumulate it, along with straining it from the oceans and gathering it in whatever matter possible, and to incinerate it in an oxygen-free retort at high enough temperatures that the plastics break back down into their constituent parts, rather than creating things like dioxins at lower temperatures.

3. Do you take any actions to reduce your use of plastic?


3b. If so, what?

It's mostly personal choices. I find shopping solutions that cut the amount of packaging I pay for. Bulk food stores that let you bring reusable containers are my go-to for everything they sell, and mason jars of every size are suitable for everything from spices to grains and beans, to pasta. We have eschewed plastic sponges and scrubbers for cloth and paper-based compostable cloths, as an example. Most of our food containers are glass. Some still have plastic lids, but when those crack, I get the glass-and-silicone-seal ones, and I don't buy plastic containers any more. Silicone and wood replaces many kitchen things, and glass and metal has always been there.

4. Do you support government mandated plastic bans?

Absolutely. It's like petroleum, unsurprisingly. It's a cheap, easy solution if the environmental and social costs are ignored, so the government must be made to apply those costs to those seeking to profit off pollution and people's suffering.

5. Has anyone here nearly eliminated their use of plastic, and if so, what is the most challenging aspect to get rid of?

That's a long road. I mean, if you take it seriously and do everything everyone here advocates, we still have PEX piping in some structures, and other ubiquitous plastic bits everywhere, as insulation around every wire in our houses and devices, everywhere. I think the most challenging part is that. The least, then, should be our focus for the initiate.

6. Do you think reusables are too  dangerous in the time of coronavirus?

Before plastic, they had reusables, but they were designed to be subjected to an autoclave with some frequency. Trying to reuse materials not designed for it could be hazardous, but not even things like cloth masks would be dangerous, when washed properly with soap and allowed to dry fully.

7.Do you agree that efforts to reduce waste should be suspended or cancelled in light of the pandemic?

No. I don't think that's at all reasonable, or even logical. A pilot doesn't stop piloting because there's a small cabin fire. They direct the crew not flying the plane to put the fire out and handle the momentary emergency. This allows the pilot to keep the plane from plowing into mountains.

Thanks for this, Katerina. I love getting people's views on these things. Most of the time, it's as I would guess, but every once in a while, you get surprised.

1 month ago
Beavers can indeed prove harmful to infrastructure, but they are ecological keystones. It's a tough issue.

If you can work around them and find other nettle patches, I would do so. Their action on the land increases water infiltration. In addition, more protein is generated in aquatic versus terrestrial systems, so if you can benefit directly from the added water, I would do that.

They have specific cues after they've established themselves. Basically, if they hear the sound of flowing water, they take it as a sign that they need to build infrastructure. If you eliminate the sound of flowing water, you should eliminate most of the reason they have to continue to build.

Ranchers, from what I gather, especially in your neck of the continent, hate their activities with a passion because raising the water table has the potential to not only flood pastureland, but also rot away fence posts.

I understand the concerns, but personally, I feel strongly, in this age of yearly catastrophic wildfires, that keeping beaver populations thriving is key. They will put more water in the ground, keeping areas humid that might otherwise dry out and burn. Not only do beavers have a specific strategy and prefer certain species of tree, there's no way they can cause the devastation that drought-caused disease, pest infestation, and wildfire can.

If they could be relocated where regeneration from fire is happening, and where their ecological effects would literally "trickle down," downhill in this case, we could actually see them accelerating an adaptation and regeneration of fire-ravaged landscapes.

Basically, the TLDR here is that beavers are a systemic counter to wildfire and drought. They are an infrastructural nuisance, but getting rid of them has a good chance of causing more problems rooted in drought, including drought itself, tree disease and pest infestation, and yes, wildfire.

1 month ago
Thanks, Robert. I prefer pottery, preferably unglazed. The only metal that holds up at all is usually galvanized, and that's a lot of zinc to deal with.

I view plastics as a plague, a bane to all biology. The only way I have thought of to properly remove microplastics from the environment is to find where they accumulate most, and then gather whatever that medium is and pyrolise it in an oxygen-free retort at a high enough temperatures to crack the microplastics into their constituent components.

I will check "Gardening with Leon" out. Thanks for the lead.

1 month ago
I don't even like planting in plastic planters, if I have the choice. I personally consider plastic a sub-optimal material to use in a living biological context.

I think having water pass between strands of bundled plastic threads is a likely recipe for introducing microplastics into the environment at large, and into the bodies of those eating any food grown in such a manner.

Here's a thought: why not embrace decomposition? The above-mentioned wooden wick is a terrific long-lasting wicking material, and though it will eventually decompose, I think I am much more sanguine with the thought of the intersection of fungi and plant biology with decomposing wood than I am with the same in the context of slowly degrading plastic.

Pressed cardboard would be preferable, as the potentially problematic elements are limited to bleach residues, adhesives, and binding agents, all of which would likely be more easily handled by ambient fungi than plastics.

One possibility the biological ramifications of which I don't know is the potential use of vegetable-derived plastics to act as wicks and vessel material. Substances like tomato peels are apparently rich sources of raw material for plant-derived plastics, but I don't know if their degradation resembles that of plants, or if the polymerisation leaves them in plasticised microparticles no different from the petrochemical article. If anyone has any information on this last, I would be most interested to find out.

How did the original project work out, William? How did you decide to proceed? Do you have a thread up?

1 month ago

r ranson wrote:not the books, the salmon!

it comes from Port Hardy.  in British Colombia.

it is what the queen eats when she visits Canada.

it shows I've lived on the west coast too long when I find it hilarious that someone from the'far east' (East of thunder bay) immediately assumes ontario.  

I mean, I wasn't the one citing an obscure local brand, but okay, whereas the Hardy Boys are so well-known, americans think it originated there.

But I suppose if you sent me some, I might be convinced that the true representative Hardy Boys was actually spelled with an "u." Maybe.

1 month ago

Hate to break it to you, but Leslie McFarlane, who wrote 19 of the first 25 Hardy Boys Books, grew up in Haileybury, Ontario, and most of the setting was actually based on the surrounding area, with Lake Temiskaming standing in for the Atlantic.

Or was that for Canada in toto?

1 month ago