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Tag Archive: energy


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CARE2  Green Living

10 Health Benefits of Honey

Discover the health benefits of one of the oldest sweeteners on earth, plus some interesting trivia, some great recipes and a few cautions.

Bees swallow, digest and regurgitate nectar to make honey; this nectar contains almost 600 compounds. We need our bees, so let’s do everything we can to save them and keep them here on this earth.

Honey is so good we have included it in our list of powerfoods that should be in your kitchen right now.

“My son, eat thou honey, for it is good” — King Solomon – Proverbs: 24:13

Health Benefits:

1. Prevent cancer and heart disease:
Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

2. Reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders.
Recent research shows that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis. This may be related to the 3rd benefit…

3. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal :
“All honey is antibacterial, because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide,” said Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.

4. Increase athletic performance.
Ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has now been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners.

 

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Collapse of the Industrial Civilization | Interview with Michael Ruppert

 

Published on Feb 28, 2013

Michael Ruppert let’s fly with both barrels as he speaks on Peak Oil, who the media are serving, and the truth behind Pat Tilman and Christopher Dorner. Ruppert’s candor is so strong that it is clear to see why he has been persecuted for his journalism, and he also shows why he is resilient enough to keep on speaking his truth.

GUEST BIO:
Michael Ruppert is an investigative journalist and author of two books, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil and Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World. In the 1970s, Ruppert was a narcotics officer for the LAPD. While there, he discovered evidence that the CIA was complicit in the illegal drug trade. He alerted his superiors with this information and soon found himself dismissed even though he had an honorable record. These events spurred Ruppert to begin a new career for himself as an investigative journalist. He was the publisher/editor of the From The Wilderness newsletter which, until its closure in 2006, examined government corruption and complicity in such areas as the CIA’s involvement in the war on drugs, the Pat Tillman scandal, the 2008 economic collapse and issues surrounding Peak Oil. Ruppert has lectured widely on these topics and was the subject of a documentary,Collapse, in 2009 which was based on one of his books. Currently, he hosts the radio show, The Lifeboat, on the Progressive Radio Network.

ADD’L LINKS:
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/
http://www.collapsenet.com/
http://www.thelip.tv

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:
00:01 Coming up on Media Mayhem.
00:50 Welcoming Michael Ruppert
01:44 Getting persecuted as a journalist over Pat Tilman.
04:35 Bringing down the Bush administration.
08:55 The Pat Tilman cover-up.
15:01 Getting push back from controversial stories.
23:14 Media red herrings and distractions from the Right and Left.
27:54 Collapse, peak oil and the Iraq War explained.
36:17 The cognitive dissonance swirling around Christopher Dorner.
45:04 Investigative journalism appears through the cracks.

 

Part 2

 

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Published on Mar 5, 2013

Collapse mastermind Michael Ruppert joins Media Mayhem to continue his conversation about the dirty secrets of the US government. This time he pulls out the big guns when discussing 9/11, the Bush administration, and why Dick Cheney was such an important (and nefarious) figure.
He also gives his thoughts on President Obama, and the overwhelming force that keeps the machine of US government ticking in the direction of criminality.

GUEST BIO:
Michael Ruppert is an investigative journalist and author of two books, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil andConfronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World.In the 1970s, Ruppert was a narcotics officer for the LAPD. While there, he discovered evidence that the CIA was complicit in the illegal drug trade. He alerted his superiors with this information and soon found himself dismissed even though he had an honorable record. These events spurred Ruppert to begin a new career for himself as an investigative journalist. He was the publisher/editor of the From The Wilderness newsletter which, until its closure in 2006, examined government corruption and complicity in such areas as the CIA’s involvement in the war on drugs, the Pat Tillman scandal, the 2008 economic collapse and issues surrounding Peak Oil. Ruppert has lectured widely on these topics and was the subject of a documentary, Collapse, in 2009 which was based on one of his books. Currently, he hosts the radio show, The Lifeboat, on the Progressive Radio Network.

ADD’L LINKS:
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/
http://www.collapsenet.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MediaMayhem
https://twitter.com/ahopeweiner
http://thelip.tv/

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:
00:01 Coming Up on Media Mayhem
00:41 The Collapse network of outside media.
03:34 30 years of experience in skepticism.
05:24 Osama Bin Laden and the truth.
09:44 9/11 was orchestrated by Dick Cheney.
11:24 Evidence for his case.
16:33 How Cheney consolidated power so effectively.
20:56 The excuse for the Iraq War, and the connection to Pearl Harbor.
26:12 Halliburton and the C.I.A.
31:44 Working with the LAPD and C.I.A. and coming from a background related to security.
34:34 The C.I.A. drug shipment conspiracy.
36:35 Has the LAPD changed since Rodney King?
40:14 Obama and the machine.
43:52 The balance of power and the executive.

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Arizona Bushman Arizona Bushman

 

Uploaded on May 24, 2008

http://www.arizonabushman.com The construction of the solar still.

 

 

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The Do It Yourself World The Do It Yourself World

Published on Oct 18, 2013

Simple biomass briquettes you can make as a survival fuel source. Read full article: http://www.thediyworld.com/blog/?p=1469

With a simple caulk gun, some pvc tubing and a bit of hardware you can make a biomass briquette press. I show you how in a previous video. The link to that article can be found on the page above.

With access to a source of paper you can make your own survival heating and cooking fuel with ease. All you need is a bunch of shredded paper. If you have a paper shredder then you can shred paper yourself to use for biomass briquettes. You can also make a paper shredder if needed. Or you can shred paper by hand in an emergency.

For people living in the cities where wood as a fuel source is scarce this is a great survival skill to have. After the recent hurricanes on the East Coast many people were left without power for weeks or even months. People had not light, heat or access to clean drinking water.

Knowing how to make biomass briquettes can save your life and make a grid down situation more bearable.

If you live in the city it may be a good idea to have homemade biomass briquettes on hand already just in case of emergency.

You can use your biomass briquettes in a charcoal grill (outdoors only), in a wood stove or even an empty paint can in an emergency.

In a later article I will show you how to use a mix of paper and natural materials such as leaves to make biomass briquettes.

This project is presented by The Do It Yourself World.
http://www.TheDIYworld.com

Experiments and projects in off grid living, alternate energy, survival, hiking and more.

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‘Co-showering, less tea:’ UK energy firm’s advice how to cut bill

Published time: January 04, 2014 18:46
Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

Shower with other people, go to bed early and stop drinking tea if you want to cut expenses, suggests British energy firm Frist Utility after whopping their prices up by 18 per cent.

Frist Utility, Britain’s biggest independent energy firm with 120,000 customers, has said that customers should follow an “energy diet” where two days of the week, they save and the remaining five days they use whatever electricity they want.

“Just stick to the low-usage energy plan on fast days, then use what you like on the other five and you could save an average of £154 a year,” the company, which charges an average of £1,120 for electricity and gas, said in a statement.

Showering together can save £34 a year, while turning off the telly and turning out the lights can knock another £18 off your bill, Frist Utility said. Playing a board game and microwaving meals instead of cooking them could also save £12 a year.

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The New York Times

 

Yoshikazu Tsuno/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

An offshore wind turbine off the coast of Fukushima.

 

 

 

 

OFF THE COAST OF FUKUSHIMA, Japan — Twelve miles out to sea from the severely damaged and leaking nuclear reactors at Fukushima, a giant floating wind turbine signals the start of Japan’s most ambitious bet yet on clean energy.

The project’s turbines, and even the substation and electrical transformer equipment, float on giant platforms anchored to the seabed.

 

When this 350-foot-tall windmill is switched on next month, it will generate enough electricity to power 1,700 homes. Unremarkable, perhaps, but consider the goal of this offshore project: to generate over 1 gigawatt of electricity from 140 wind turbines by 2020. That is equivalent to the power generated by a nuclear reactor.

The project’s backers say that offshore windmills could be a breakthrough for this energy-poor nation. They would enable Japan to use a resource it possesses in abundance: its coastline, which is longer than that of the United States. With an exclusive economic zone — an area up to 200 miles from its shores where Japan has first dibs on any resources that ranks it among the world’s top 10 largest maritime countries, Japan has millions of square miles to position windmills.

The project is also a bid to seize the initiative in an industry expected to double over the next five years to a global capacity of 536 gigawatts, according to the industry trade group Global Wind Energy Council. The Japanese have lagged at wind turbine manufacturing, which is dominated by European and Chinese makers.

The Japanese government is paying the 22 billion yen, or $226 million, cost of building the first three wind turbines off Fukushima, part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to make renewable energy a pillar of his economic growth program. After that, a consortium of 11 companies, including Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimizu and Marubeni, plan to commercialize the project.

“It’s Japan’s biggest hope,” said Hideo Imamura, a spokesman for Shimizu, during a recent trip to the turbine ahead of its test run. “It’s an all-Japan effort, almost 100 percent Japan-made.”

What sets the project apart from other offshore wind farms around the world, consortium officials say, is that its turbines, and even the substation and electrical transformer equipment, float on giant platforms anchored to the seabed. That technology greatly expands potential locations for offshore wind farms, which have been fixed into the seabed, limiting their location to shallow waters.

For this reason, there have been few great sites for offshore wind farming in Japan, which lies on a continental shelf that quickly gives way to depths that make it unfeasible to build structures into the seabed. But floating wind farms could change the picture in a big way.

Read More Here

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Our planet is surrounded by a wispy layer of gas that keeps us warm, allows the weather to happen and basically makes all of life on Earth possibile.Except that precious atmosphere of ours is leaking into outer space every second. Thankfully it is a rather slow leak, since for any object, weather it is a molecule of gas, a rocket or a cat, to break the tether of our planets gravity and escape, it has to hightail it out of here at a speed of 11 000 m/s.

It takes the energy of a ton of TNT to boost a person to that speed, and less energy for lighter objects ( 1/10 out of that for a cat for example). Other than a large asteroid impact that can eject large amounts of atmosphere into space, the only gases that regularly escape Earths atmosphere are hydrogen and helium.There are different ways hydrogen and helium molecules can wind up on a one-way trip to space.

Some escape by simply getting enough energy from the suns heat-this process is an example of thermal escape mechanisms.

One classical thermal escape mechanism is Jeans escape. In a quantity of gas, the average velocity of a molecule is determined by temperature, but the velocity of individual molecules varies continuously as they collide with one another, gaining and losing kinetic energy. The variation in kinetic energy among the molecules is described by the Maxwell distribution. The kinetic energy and mass of a molecule determine its velocity by E_{\mathit{kin}}=\frac{1}{2}mv^2

Individual molecules in the high tail of the distribution may reach escape velocity, at a level in the atmosphere where the mean free path is comparable to the scale height, and leave the atmosphere. The more massive the molecule of a gas is, the lower the average velocity of molecules of that gas at a given temperature, and the less likely it is that any of them reach escape velocity.

 

Read Full Article Here

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I  have gone  through the Oil Sands Fact   Check site and  honestly  all I  can  find is boasting as  to  the boon in the  US  economy, jobs and the fact that  activists  are  using the  pipeline and  tar sands oil as a   scapegoat. Not once  in all the  supposed  facts they  have there do they  address the  real concerns, simply   twisting  the  facts to their advantage.  Painting themselves  as  responsible entities.  Never  once addressing that this substance  is way  more dangerous  than oil to  the  environment and  the  water, especially.  The tap dance over  the  fact by  stating that   tar  sands  oil has  been  transported into the US for decades. 

What they  fail to miss is  this:  Instead  of  reporting  the  factual analysis of the  toxic substances that this tar sand emits they  skirt  over the  fact  claiming their emissions testing results.  Now  please correct  me if I  am  wrong , but the  major concern  of environmentalists  and activist is  not the emissions once it is  in the  car.  In  fact the  concern is of the  damage  the  unrefined substance will do  to the  environment  and the  water shed if a spill were to take  place.  As we can  see in  Arkansas the substance is so toxic that   the  residents  are  already  suffering  from it’s effects .

             Image Source                                                                                 Image Source

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They  call themselves  responsible entities, so  then my   question is this :  

what  is  Exxon doing  to  make this right? 

Exxon  has  stated  that the   water   quality was  within  safe  limits. 

So what  exactly  does that  mean ? 

Are  we to  accept  the  status  quo with  regards to safety limits just  as  we  are  to  accept that  GMO’s are  good for us  even  though there   are more and more opponents  coming out  stating  that   it is  in fact  detrimental to human  health?

What about  the air quality?  Or does  that not  matter? 

Children are   getting  sick.  People are  becoming  ill due to the  toxic  conditions.

Are we to believe  this is acceptable ?

Or will this also be  kept from the  people and the sick treated like insignificant data as  the  people of the  gulf  were?

Good health  once it has been compromised cannot be replaced. 

Will your  tar sands oil paycheck take care  of it?

There  is no amount of compensation that will replace good health.  Nor erase catastrophic  illness.

Or does it  not  matter  because  it isn’t your family?

I am sorry to break it to you  , but  unless  you  have a crystal ball that tells  you otherwise .  It could  very well be  you  and  your  family that suffers  next!  Do not  delude  yourself  by  detaching from the reality  of things entertaining the belief that  it  won’t happen to you .  I am sure the  people  of Mayflower , Arkansas never  imagined they would now  be mired  in this  poison.  Their children getting sick and  their  homes surrounded, helpless waiting  for some  heartless  oil company to decide  whether the clean up is worth the expense.  Not the  lives  of the people affected by their poison, but their bottomline.

Don’t kid yourself!

With  the   lack of responsibility  and  lack of corrective  action  taken  by   oil companies in  Africa.  With  leaking pipelines and  toxic sludge where lakes had once been.  Dead  soil where crops were once  grown. 

How can  anyone  in their  right  mind take the  word of these companies as to their integrity and responsibility? 

We  have  seen  what  BP did  in the  Gulf Of Mexico.

Do you  truly  consider what  was done in the  gulf an adequate job  of cleaning up the mess  made by their incompetence  and lust  for profits? 

The sea life  dying  as  a result and scientists complaining  that they  have  been  legally gagged  from making their findings available to the  public. 

Restrained by  whom? 

The oil companies?

No restrained by the  government   that  is supposed to  be looking  out  for our   benefit.  Instead  they are  protecting the Oil Companies interests. 

Is this the kind of safety  measure   you  want?  

The  reins handed over to a company  who’s  haste  for fattening up their bottom line poisons our earth , our  air and our water so  that they  can  police themselves? 

How many  journalists  were   kept away  from  the  Gulf  to keep them from reporting  what they   saw  there?

How many  reporters  were  kept from Mayflower, Arkansas for the  same reason?   

Everyone is crowing about  the jobs the  tar  sands oil will bring to the  US.

  Are  you truly  understanding  what  you are   asking  for? 

Do you  even understand that   Mayflower  Arkansas could be anywhere   in the heartland? 

Do  you  realize  what   would happen if  that   pipeline leaked into the  water  shed.?

It  would not  be someone else’s problem , it  would be  everyone’s problem . You are looking for  jobs, yes  we  understand.  We  all live  here in the   States and we are all going  through  the  same hard  times.  We  all need to  work and  we all  need  to  pay  our  bills. 

Where  do  we   draw the line  at  what  is admissible and what  is  over the  not? 

There  is only  one   Earth and when  she is   completely  trashed   where  will you  go ? 

Will your  job with  tars sands oil help you  bring  her  back ? 

Will you  be  able to remove  the  horrible toxins  deposited by   your  tars  sands  oil from the  earth,the rivers, the  water?

Are  you  not paying attention to what  is  happening around  you?

I want  you  to  understand one very  important thing.  The responsibility   for the  destruction of  our environment  is not just  on the  oil companies.  It is  on  everyone of  you   who  don’t  give it  a second thought.  On  everyone of you that  takes  clean  air ,and water  for  granted.  On everyone of you that  places  a  job  over  the  well  being  of  your  children and your fellow  American’s children.  This is not a  game this is a very   hazardous  situation  that  has   grave   consequences and until all of  you realize  that , we  are  lost.

Money  has become the  denominating factor in our lives. 

What  happened to principal , responsibility and honor.

What  happened to doing  what is  right ?

  Where is  the  concern for our   children’s well being?

   I  see  my  fellow citizens on a collision course with destruction,  hell bent on  ignoring  the  warning   signs.  Their eyes on the prize of money and material things. 

One wonders how much that  money  and those materials possessions  will help when  you  can  no longer   give  your   child a cup of clean , safe  water to  drink?

 

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Excerpts  taken  from  Oils Sands  Fact Check

Top 5 Things You Should Know About Transporting Oil Sands Crude

On March 29, an oil pipeline running through Mayflower, Arkansas experienced a leak that resulted in the evacuation of 22 homes and immediate clean up efforts from the pipeline’s operator, ExxonMobil. According to reports, the Pegasus line was carrying Wabasca Heavy crude oil – a blend of crude produced in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta.

Of course, in the minds of oil sands opponents, all pipelines are made alike and are uniformly threatened by oil sands crudes. In fact, following the news of the incident, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) stated:

“This latest pipeline incident is a troubling reminder that oil companies still have not proven that they can safely transport Canadian tar sands oil across the United States without creating risks to our citizens and our environment.”

We have the top five reasons why that’s not the case.

1)     Oil sands crudes have been transported safely in the U.S. for more than 40 years. Accident reports from the Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) from 2002 through mid-2012 show zero internal corrosion-related releases from pipelines carrying diluted bitumen.

 2)     Oil sands crudes are not more corrosive than other crude oils. In a 2011 report, Canadian research group Alberta Innovates found that acid and sulfur compounds found in oil sands crudes “are too stable to be corrosive and some may even decrease corrosion.” Recent testing and studies by ASTM International and Penspen support this conclusion.

 3)     Oil sands crudes are transported at comparable pipeline pressures as other heavy crude oils. All U.S. pipelines must operate under Maximum Operating Pressure limitations administered by PHMSA. In other words, pipelines are constructed to specifications that ensure they can handle the intended operating pressure and the type of liquid that flows through them.

 4)     Oil sands crudes are not heated for transportation in pipelines above the temperature of other crude oils. The range of temperatures for all crude oils from Canada is 40-135 degrees Fahrenheit. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code for Pipeline Transportation Systems for Liquid Hydrocarbons and Other Liquids does not consider pipeline temperatures to be elevated unless they exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

5)     Keystone XL would “have a degree of safety over any other.” As mentioned in point #3, pipelines must meet certain specifications before transporting any type of crude, no matter if it’s heavy or light. Keystone XL, which will also carry heavy oil from Alberta, is going above and beyond those requirements by adopting 57 extra safety measures, leading the State Department to declare that the project would “have a degree of safety over any other.”

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I challenge  you to watch this  video and  tell me  a  paycheck is worth all this destruction and misery! 

           …………………………….The True Cost Of Oil…………………………………

             If  you  have a  conscience you  would have  to admit  it  is not  worth it.                    Unless this is how you  want  to see  America  when they are done

                                                                             with   her

 photo Nowenteringamericavulturesign_zps13093b1f.jpg
~Desert Rose~

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Image Source                                                                            Image  Source

Citizen group sees ‘toxic’ oil soup in Arkansas

UPI
Published: April 30, 2013 at 7:34 AM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 30 (UPI) — There’s been a “toxic soup” hanging over residents in Mayflower, Ark., as a result of an Exxon Mobil oil pipeline accident, a citizen’s group said.

Exxon said about 5,000 barrels of oil was released last month from a 22-foot rupture on its Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower. The pipeline, built in the 1940s, was carrying a diluted form of Canadian crude oil, dubbed oil sands, at the time of the spill.

Air samples taken March 30, the day after the incident, indicated high levels of compounds considered harmful to human health. The samples were conducted by a student activist trained by the Faulkner County (Ark.) Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor.

“Total toxic hydrocarbons were detected at more than 88,000 parts per billion in the ambient air and present a complex airborne mixture or soup of toxic chemicals that residents may have been exposed to from the Mayflower tar sands bitumen spill,” Neil Carman, a representative from the Texas chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

Exxon admitted to finding levels of benzene and other harmful chemicals in early samples taken at Mayflower. It said air and water quality was within safe limits in the weeks following the spill, however.

The report, published by the activist groups, said residents are showing signs of exposure to chemicals ranging from benzene, a carcinogen, to toluene, a central nervous system depressant, more than four weeks after the spill.

There was no response from Exxon on the report.

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Study Reveals 30 Toxic Chemicals at High Levels at Exxon Arkansas Tar Sands Pipeline Spill Site

An independent study co-published by the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor reveals that, in the aftermath of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 500,000 gallons of diluted bitumen (dilbit) into Mayflower, AR, air quality in the area surrounding the spill has been affected by high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

Roughly four weeks after the spill took place, many basic details are still unknown to the public, according to recent reporting by InsideClimate News. Questions include what exactly caused the spill, how big was the spill exactly, and how long did it take for emergency responders to react to the spill, to name a few.

But one thing is certain according to the new study: For the residents of Mayflower, quality of life has been changed forever.

The chemicals found in the samples include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, n-hexane, and xylenes. Breathing in both ethylbenzene and benzene can cause cancer and reproductive effects, while breathing in n-hexane can damage the nervous system and usher in numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue.

All of these chemicals are hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), “regulated under the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act amendments as the most toxic of all known airborne chemicals,” as explained in the press release summarzing the study.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

paulwheaton12

Uploaded on May 27, 2011

http://www.permies.com

The first solar dehydrator is shown by robert and marina at dell artimus farm. The solar heat comes from a heated panel at the bottom, and there is a black chimney at the top that creates a draw. They use a stainless steel screen. The dryer is a year and a half old. They have dried beans, flowers, cherries, grapes (raisins), kale, walnuts and apples. They tried some tomatoes, but those ended up as pig food.

Matt at feral farm shows a “down draft solar dehydrator.” The solar heat enters at the top and then goes down. Because as it gathers moisture, the solar heated air gets heavier. He has nettles in there.

Mark Vander Meer, of wildland conservation service in Missoula, Montana shows off his solar food dehydrator still loaded with dried plums. Those plums have been in there all fall, winter and most of the spring. He talks about trying to dry fruit with electric food dehydrators and how expensive that was. This solar dehydrator also uses the down draft technique. He says plums take three days and apples take a day and a half.

These are all passive systems. There are no fans.

Relevant threads at permies:
http://www.permies.com/permaculture-f…
http://www.permies.com/permaculture-f…
http://www.permies.com/permaculture-f…

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 How to Make a Solar Food Dehydrater From Beer Cans

rickvanman

Uploaded on Apr 27, 2010

How to Make a Solar Food Dehydrater From Beer Cans
This is how I constructed my Solar Food Dehydrater out of soda and beer cans, scrap and recycled wood, using a solar furnace design.

http://www.container-gardening-for-fo…

#9 – Most Discussed (Today)) – Howto & Style
#11 – Top Favourited (Today)) – Howto & Style
#17 – Top Rated (Today)) – Howto & Style
#79 – Top Rated (This Week)) – Howto & Style

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a solar dehydrator that’s cooler than lady gaga

americanfamilynowamericanfamilynow

 

Uploaded on Mar 21, 2011

this is a quick video explaining the solar dehydrator I just built

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How Yoga Breathing Keeps You Healthy in Mind, Body and Spirit

March 23, 2013 | By | Reply

Anna Hunt, Staff Writer
Waking Times

 

By giving consideration to the purpose, mechanics and awareness of breath, we can greatly improve mind, body and spirit.

The Mechanics of Breathing

Did you know that you aren’t really breathing? It is the planet’s atmospheric pressure that sends breath into the body. With the process we call breathing, our body simply changes its shape in such a way that the pressure in the chest cavity is lowered, thus permitting air to be pushed into the body during inhalation. During passive breathing, as when sleeping, it is the universe that breathes for us. On the exhalation, we do nothing; the body tissues that have stretched during inhalation simply spring back to their original shape.

The movements of the diaphragm, the principle muscle associated with breathing, brings the body into complete alignment and coordination, because it is connected to all of the major organs in the thoracic (chest) cavity and the abdominal cavity, as well to the heart. This is the reason why a calm, full, deliberate breath can slow your heartbeat, improve digestion, decrease abdominal pains, subdue intense emotions, etc.

Once the muscles and organs associated with breathing – the lungs, the tissues around the thoracic cavity, the diaphragm and its lower and upper attachments – loose some of their elasticity, it is difficult for the body to exhale on its own because the tissues do not spring back. For example, compromised elasticity of the lungs results in respiratory problems such as emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis.

During a typical yoga practice, we find ourselves focusing on slow, deliberate breathing, which tones the body’s respiratory system and associated muscles, keeping them healthy and effective.

Increasing Awareness of the Body

Yoga, at its core, is the practice of effective and efficient breathing. During a yoga practice, we’re not only bringing alignment and coordination to our physical systems, we’re also creating a connection between the mind and the physical body with the breath. By focusing on the areas where we need the breath most, usually following tension, we develop our ability to perceive what each part of our body requires for healthy function, increase awareness of any ailments that need attention. The mind/body connection also develops our sensitivity to the subtle energy of the body, called prana.

Yoga breathing (pranayama) – long, deep inhales, active exhales, and focused awareness, following the breath in and out of the body – allows you to calm the chatter in the mind and open up to the subtle dialog that your physical body has with the mind. The practice helps improve your concentration to a point that, with experience, you may become so familiar with your body that you will instinctively know which postures/foods/surroundings your body needs in order to address physical, mental and spiritual weaknesses.

The Universe Fills Us with Life’s Energy

As the universe fills us with air on the inhalation, it also replenishes us with prana – the energy of the living things that surround us. But if we’re to receive this energy, we must first make space for it in within ourselves.

Much of yoga is about removing waste from the bod to prepare it for spiritual experience. TKV Desikachar, one of the great masters of modern yoga, has often claimed that yoga is 90% waste removal. With every exhale, we remove from the body what is no longer needed, physically in terms of carbon dioxide and energetically in terms of stale energy and negative emotions. Yoga breathing also unites and integrates all of the body’s systems to assist with the overall elimination process, thus bringing us closer into a state of sukhagood space.

Three Yoga Breathing Techniques

In addition to the many functions and benefits of a regular deep breath used during a yoga practice, various breathing techniques called pranayama have been developed by yoga masters to help us accomplish certain objectives. The following three are examples of what we can achieve with pranayama and concentrated breath.

Direct & Guide Chakra Breathing Technique

This chakra breathing technique will help balance the energy and revitalize any of the chakras. For example, if you focus on the heart chakra Anahata, you will strengthen your sense of compassion and unconditional love, balance your feelings of joy and passion, and invigorate the immune and endocrine systems. Click here for more details on each of the seven chakra energy centers.

Begin this exercise by sitting comfortably in a chair or cross legged on a pillow on the ground, the spine straight and the wrists resting on the knees or legs, palms facing upward. Breathe naturally and bring your awareness to one of the chakras. Keep your attention on only one chakra during this exercise. Notice any feelings in the area of the chakra that you’ve chosen – feelings such as tingling, warmth or buzzing. Then follow this process:

  • Keep your awareness on the chakra.
  • As you inhale, guide the energy of the in-breath to this chakra.
  • As you exhale, settle your awareness and once again notice any sensations present in the chakra.
  • Repeat for several breaths, before returning to your natural breath.

This breath is ideal at the beginning or end of your yoga practice, or anytime you need to revitalize one of your energy centers.

 

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