A Close Shave Part IV

...his product and while we’re disappointed that neither the container nor Colonel Conk’s website lists the ingredients, we’ve sent a letter to the company to see if they will let us know what is in the soap. We’ll report back when we find out. Lastly, fellow bloggist and Starcrash scholar Doug Harvey writes to suggest a visit to a traditional barber for a professional straight-edge blade experience. We used to do this until...

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A New Source of Fuel

...300 oilmen at GO-EXPO, Canada’s largest oil conference, held at Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta, today. The speech was billed beforehand by the GO-EXPO organizers as the major highlight of this year’s conference, which had 20,000 attendees. In it, the “NPC rep” was expected to deliver the long-awaited conclusions of a study commissioned by US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. The NPC is headed by former ExxonMobil CEO Lee...

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Nuts!

...still say “raw almonds but they will have been subjected to high heat and a five log kill step…that they are calling Pasteurization”. This lie is being permitted by the marketing order!! But there’s even more bad news since pasteurization, according to the Almond Board of California, involves a choice of steam, high heat or, we kid you not, highly toxic and carcinogenic propylene oxide once used as a racing fuel, an insec...

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Simple Tech

...locally. There can also be a considerable amount of arrogance in asking poor folks living in places decimated by the legacy of colonialism, and our rapacious WTO/World Bank/global economy to “make do” while we in the first world bleed them dry for the raw materials that keep our SUVs, plasma screens and iPhones running. Isn’t it time we in the first world used some of these low-tech ideas–say by replacing our iPhones with...

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The Chicken and the Egg

Back before we relegated the television to a junk pile in the garage we used to channel surf the obscure reaches of cable television creating our own mood-leveling visual mix of Korean melodramas, infomercials and the ongoing freak show that is Los Angeles public access television (click for some Francine Dancer!). Now instead of television we just pull up a chair in the late afternoon and watch the four chickens that populate our backyard in th...

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Using Greywater from your Washing Machine

...ine from burning out, which might happen if you tried to pump the water through pipes. The tank also slows down the flow of water going out to the garden, allowing more time for it to percolate into the soil. In addition the tank lets the water cool a bit, should we run a load in hot water. Bottom of barrel showing fittings Top of the barrel where the hose from the washing machine comes in For the tank we picked up a used and cleaned 55 gall...

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Mallow (Malva parviflora) an Edible Friend

...ecially strong or exciting taste, but does make a pleasant addition to salads and can be cooked as a green. Both the leaves and the immature fruit are edible. An assortment of cooking ideas can be found on Of the Field, maintained by wild food author and self described “environmentarian” Linda Runyan. A Turkish blogger has a recipe for mallow and rice here. We’ve used mallow in salads, and it would also do well cooked Italian style in...

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Planting a Mini-Orchard

...is buried in the mulch basin, is to help the greywater infiltrate our heavy clay soil. To use it we simply place the hose coming from the surge tank into the hole in the top of the outlet chamber. We cover this hole with a brick when not in use. The photo below shows the digging of the mulch basin and the installation of the outlet chamber in progress: The completed mulch basin and (hard to see) pomegranate tree to the right. We used straw for mu...

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A Parvati Solar Cooker

...Pardeshi, who runs an “appropriate technology” company with her husband in India has another design for a similar dish-shaped cooker here. We found both of these cookers (and many more) via the amazing Solar Cooking Archive. For the Parvati cooker, we cut the cardboard according to the plans, and affixed the aluminum foil with spray glue. For our first pot of rice we used a black enamel pot to better absorb the heat of the sun’...

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Cichorium intybus a.k.a. Italian Dandelion

...we made sure to get is Cichorium intybus, known in Italian as “cicoria” or chicory, but somehow, in the case of leaf chicory, mistranslated as “Italian dandelion,” probably because the leaves resemble the common dandelion weed, Taraxacum officinale (a relative which is also edible). Both Cichorium intybus and its weedy cousin share a powerfully bitter taste that took our supermarket weaned taste buds some time to get used...

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