Happy (clean) Shower

For a moment, we are stepping away from the intense and intellectually deep topics of world domination, religious wars, crashing or soaring markets, threats to liberty and life; and we are going to focus on One Small Happiness.

(And, in a side bar, Happiness #1 and #2 ;-)

After a brief detour into a clogged toilet (more on that in a sidebar below) I, today, managed to finally install a new shower head that I bought about 3 months ago. I’m am now one Very Happy (and clean) Camper!

In California, the Green Nazis have specified that No Shower Shall Get You Clean Without Suffering. So we have an absolute limit at 2.5 Gallons per minute and many showers sold deliver 0.9 Gallons / minute. Long gone are the days of the wonderfully soothing flood of water, spread evenly over both shoulders…

I felt this loss most acutely while staying overnight at the home of GallopingCamel in Florida. His guest bath has one of those giant antique-style showers. About a foot in diameter with many wide spread individual holes for the water. Large water flow. I was in heaven. And began to “Covet”… No matter how much I thought “Be the empty vessel…”, I had a want.

After a lot of looking (Orlando, Florida has a nice selection of Lowe’s and Home Depot) I settled on a Delta Design. But forgot to pick one up there. Visiting back here in California, I visited the local Lowe’s and Home Depot. I had a certain kind of dread. Shower after shower praising their Green Credentials and touting their 0.9 (or less…) water ‘consumption’. Then I noticed what looked like the same Delta showerhead…

Investigation of the package showed it claimed to contain TWO shower heads, each at the 2.5 GPM max. (You get to assemble the ‘hand shower’ onto the hose that you attach to the “shower head” outlet). So, the main shower head is installed (with this threaded hole in the side / bottom). Meets the rules. Then a SECOND shower head is installed onto that hole. It, too, is only 2.5 GPM. It also happens to just perfectly nest into the “Shower head”…

The “controls” let you make the “hand shower” do a variety of patterns of water pulsing, including one that is just exactly the same ‘even flow’ as the “Shower Head”.

It also has a “pause” button so you can turn it off individually. (However, the package informs it has a mandatory “dribble” “feature” and it is not really off, just drooling… One can only suppose some Idiot Senator left his shower on “pause” and went to Europe for a month, then came home to find the hose gave out and flooded his bathroom. So now all of US get “dribble cups”, er, showers… The package warns that on ‘dribble’ the heat balance can change and you could get a cold shock or a scalding shot. The laws of physics on fluid dynamics past different orifice sizes not being subject to stupid Senatorial Mandates…)

The “Shower Head” has a lever on the side to divert water to the “Shower Head” or the “Hand Shower” or, right in the middle, to both at once.

Ah, the joy of “Rule Based Behaviour”…

Cruising the Delta web site did NOT show the model numberS I bought (packaged in one blister pack). But I didn’t do much searching… It may be a ‘California Special Package’ or just down a few links somewhere. It did show a single “model number” that looks just like it:

Delta Shower 75584-B1

Delta Shower 75584-B1

The model number is “Close” so the same family, at least. You can see more here:

Selected Delta Showers

So what did I buy? The package claims it contains TWO different shower heads:

Hand Shower: 7420GC
Shower Head: 7618GC

and visibly states “TWO Showers in one”

Gotta love it…

I finally had time to install it today. Easy to do (though I did not need the ‘wrench’ it specified as a needed tool and found that with the plastic fittings a 9 inch slip joint pliers was more than sufficient to get the old head off (using a papertowel folded to protect the finish) and installed the replacement simply turning it by hand. The LARGE shower head giving plenty of leverage to seal plastic to Teflon tape. Even the “hand shower” hose was attached by hand. (Then again I have large strong “farmers hands” and have had folks wince on shaking hands when I forgot to moderate…)

In the process of removing the old one (that had never been very good, but was worse lately) I found that the internal ‘screen’ was clogged with the normal scale found in iron pipes. In the process of cleaning THAT, I found that the 0.9 gallon restrictor could be removed once the screen was out. OK, ought to have noticed that some years ago. So it went off to the garage as an ’emergency repair’ shower for use if anything goes wrong at 2 AM on Saturday with a Sunday Important Event on the schedule…

The new shower also has a screen between the shower head and the pipe, but a larger screen that will take longer to clog up. I didn’t check for “restrictors” behind it, as I wanted to see if this solution worked as advertized.

Using The Shower

I’m in heaven. It is a broad shower very reminiscent in effect to the GallopingCamel’s (even if not as classical nor as interesting visually). With the shower head on “both” or on “Shower head” the spray is roughly the width of the tub bottom, just inside the walls. (this is a standard suburbs tub, not a large luxury one…) We will not be changing where the shower head points much. On “Hand Shower”, the ‘coverage’ is a bit less (so less risk of hitting the walls) but still quite nice. On “both” you get that wonderful “drench” feeling, though at a little less total pressure.

Most of the time I’ll be using the “Hand Shower” setting. It’s “enough” and I don’t always want the “drench” feeling. Sometimes I’ll do the “drench” for a rapid wide rinse, or just for the feeling. It’s very nice to know it’s there…

I finished my “Maiden Voyage” shower in about 1/2 the prior time. Ah, efficiency! It’s been a while. Rapid wet, rapid lather, DRENCH rinse that removed ALL the soap very fast. (No more ‘dribble of water’ on one limb, rub for a while, still feel soap, rub some more, give up and move to the next limb) All up a wonderful experience. I suspect my total water use was about the same (never did run the smallish 30 gallon hot water tank down to cool) Stepped out feeling much cleaner and MUCH happier and with 5 to 10 more minutes in my life. AND I was in control of my experience.

Ah, Bliss 8-)

I have not been so happy with the creativity of Capitalism in a very long time. Makes my “Y” 2-bulb solution to the banning of 100 Watt bulbs look limited in comparison. ( 57 Watt bulbs are still sold in California, so a Y and two of them and you are back in 100ish Watt land and can see clearly again. When we drop to 40 W limits, two Ys will do it, and as “appliance” bulbs are exempt at 40 W, that solution generalizes for a long time….)


3 Flush Green Toilet Fix

OK, the sidebar on the toilet. About last November a friend decided to “help” with some plumbing issues. (A feed line into the house has sprung a leak). Along the way, this fix shed some scale that caused the shower to go a bit slower and caused him to ‘work on the toilet’. In the process, he managed to crack the nice 5 Gallon Tank. Of course, no replacements are available, so we ended up with a 3 gallon tank. (Hard to find, too, as IIRC, we’re at either 1.6 Gallon or 0.9 Gallon as the present “approved” ‘inspect your poo for three flushes and feel guilty about it’ toilets.)

OK, it “worked”. Sometimes in only 2 flushes (for #1)… Mostly in 3 flushes (for #2). Sometimes a “floater” would take 4 flushes.

A few months later, (just a couple of weeks ago) we had a “failure to perform” from the 4 inch line taking the “toilet stuff” to the street. Now I’m sure folks have had them clog up before (mostly from tree roots I suspect). But I’ve got no trees near it. I’ve never had one plug up in 50 some odd years of paying attention. So I thought about this a bit…

My conclusion was that the “poo wads” that HAD gone all the way to the Main Line in the street (take 4 inch pipe x 40 feet or so and 5 gallons has a pretty good odds of going all the way…) were stopping about 10 feet ‘down the line’ (remember THEY didn’t get ‘over the hump’ at the start of the flush, only near the end with most of the water long gone). There they could sit and slowly cement together with the paper wads (we have sometimes sent ‘paper towels’ down the pot too) and form a dam over time. Eventually setting up into a Plug.

After a few hours and two different treatments (gallon of bleach and jug of “semi-caustic almost works” drain clog remover – oh for the good old days of Lye Crystals and Drano Crystals that actually worked…) and some amount of letting hot water seep past (it was still slowly seeping) with some mechanical plunging… I got the “plug” mobilized enough to have the toilet work again.

OK, I’ve sporadically been running extra water ‘down the chute’ after a flush (hot water in the shower that joins about 2 feet from the ‘flush’… so helping to soften and mobilize whatever is still there). The new shower will help in that effort. But… I’m still doing the “2 flushes or 3?” and wondering if the smaller number contributes to plugging anyway?

Then An Answer came to me. (I’d pondered how to “dual tank” it, and how to make my own ceramic tank and…)

Get a nice cheap Gallon Jug like for lemonade (leave the lid off so it’s a Nice Big Hole). Fill with water in the shower. When a #2 moment comes, about 1/2 way into the “flush” when things are moving, but can’t make up their mind which way to go, dump it into the “pot”.

Ah, the sweet smile of success! A nice Forceful Flush ensues and the bowl empties like it always used to do!

Plastic Pitcher 15512

Plastic Pitcher 15512

From: http://www.etundra.com/1_Gallon_Pitcher_w__Lid-P12870.html

Yes, a bit of a PITA to hand fill the Jug, but oh, that sweet smile of success 8-)

And no more “poo inspection moments” and no more “mandatory guilt”. Yes, once again I can “Flush With Pride!”

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Human Interest, Humor and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

95 Responses to Happy (clean) Shower

  1. sandy mcclintock says:

    Well said! :) I’m fed up with the new ‘multi-flush toilet systems’
    In Australia the Green Nazis have been active here too.
    We built a new house with 20,000 gallon rainwater tank and solar heated hot water with the aim of having a good shower. I have bought ‘Green Nazi approved shower heads’ (all that in the shops) and used a fine drill to enlarge all the holes; I also removed the plastic flow-limiter. Mixer valves have built in brass limiters to restrict the flow too and my only solution so far is to lift the operating pressure to around 5 atmospheres by tweaking the variable speed submersible pump.
    I was staying in a university’s hostel accommodation on the weekend when the storm-troopers arrived to replace hundreds of shower heads. The hostel administrator complained to me privately that the town’s water supply had absolutely massive storage capacity and that the new shower heads came out of his meagre maintenance budget. It was a government requirement and so had to be done despite being wasteful and unnecessary!
    How do we fight this ‘international conspiracy’?

  2. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    It’s important after you shower, to let the shower head down, to drain it, otherwise the water stays in it and strange things start to grow in it, which you end up breathing in in your next shower.

    So after the shower, let the shower head down to drain out and dry up and it’s a cleaner shower next time ;)




    BTW shampoo is a massive hoax, but I don’t want to start a massive argument about it :P

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @Sandy McClintock:

    Well, I’m ‘fighting it’ with posting “work arounds” and publishing subversive articles ;-)

    Don’t now how to stop the Agenda21 Driven Global Green Monster other than writing about it. I suspect it will need the next generation to revolt. Perhaps more “DIY solutions”…

    “How to make your own faucet” and “Industrial Fixtures In The Home”…


    We have 4 people a day showering in one shower. No need to drain. Often a need to find an idle time to squeeze in…

    Any “life” ought to take a couple of days to grow to any degree, and as the hot water pasteurizes it and the cold water has chlorine in it, I’m just not going to worry about ‘drip and drain’…

    Per Shampoo:

    I’ve no problem with liquid detergent either. I’ve lived a few years using only a bar of soap (works fine) and I’ve used dish soap (works fine) and I’ve used shampoo. The shampoo smells nicer, but not by much. Same surfactants in the bottle (mostly) along with a bunch of crap… though it does make the hair a bit softer and smoother.

    FWIW I now use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Dirt cheap in large bottles. Works great. Doesn’t stink as much as the ‘other stuff’. And it doesn’t sting the eyes ;-)

  4. kakatoa says:

    I foresee a Bidet in many CA homes in the future as a substitute for toilet paper. The thick fancy toilet paper we have here in the US has a tendency to cake onto piping when the water flow is insufficient to flush the paper down to the larger sewer pipes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet

    I do not have city services (well for water and a septic system for sewage treatment). All our toilets and shower heads are older have high flow rates and water volumes. Even with our high flow rate toilets I can run into clogged pipes. We have an outbuilding that has a toilet on our property and if the toilet gets used by the fairer sex a lot I have to remember to flush it a few times to move the paper products down the piping to the main line that gets further flushed with shower and laundry water.

    If, when, I need a new toilet I will be heading to NV to get a high flow one.

  5. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    @EM yeah, but still you should let the shower drain, as overnight things grow in it and form a film, it’s better to let it drain out by dropping it down. Otherwise you’ll have a deep hot biosphere living inside the shower head. http://news.discovery.com/human/showerhead-pathogens-disease-bacteria.html

    I havn’t used shampoo for a few years now. Actually my hairdresser suggested it once to cut down the number of times I use it per week and I thought whats the point of using it all, just use warm water daily. Actually my hair is really smooth and never boofs. If you think about it, with shampoo, you take out all the natural good oils, then you pay money to put the oils back in again with conditioner.


    And no chemicals either, have you looked on the back of those shampoo bottles lol


    BTW those dual flush toilets are so annoying, you can’t get things down them. I never press the half flush anymore on it either, as I think the reduced flow causes problems. For number 1, it’s full flush to try to keep the system clear.

    See San Fran for eg http://blog.heritage.org/2011/03/02/low-flush-toilets-the-san-francisco-treat/

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Do I really need to point out that there are about 40 feet of water line “upstream” of the shower head, then a few miles of it back to the water treatment plant? That none of that is “drained”? That added ‘aeration’ is how you make more bugs grow (so ‘drained and damp’ will grow better than ‘solid fill of water and nearly anaerobic’?

    Re-read those articles you linked and you can find the real cause / story. It isn’t water paranoia. They repeatedly say it’s not a problem for folks with a normal immune system.

    Well, guess what, folks with compromised immune function are going to get sick and die from a thousand and one common, ordinary, day to day bugs that are all over the place. No amount of “semi-drained aerated damp” hose is going to change that.

    So, you really want to get “wound up in a does-so does-not” over something that pointless? That some article writer and a paranoid professor shopping for grant money have a paranoid delusion? Really? …

    I’ve tried a ‘gentle polite ramp’, but once again there has been little evidence of ‘clue catching’… So, bluntly: Please THINK CRITICALLY and EDIT a bit more before posting a dozen disconnected links and indulging in a bunch of “does so does not does so”. Your opinion goes up. Someone states there opinion. re-stating your opinion each time is tedious and does not make an effective argument. ADDED evidence or ADDED reasoning can be interesting and enlightening. Re-stating what was in the article (and that the other person clearly didn’t weight as much as you did) is not value ADDED.

    So, no, I’m not going to indulge in a ‘water bacteria paranoia’, no matter how many times you state the same thing.

    (ONCE in my life I got a water born infection. I had spent the entire day swimming in a ‘slough’ of stagnant warm water, jumping off a train trestle into it, just downstream of where the Cows waded into it and the cow poo and pee washed into it. On one jump, I hit a bit wrong and not only went down to where my feet kicked up the bottom sediments into a mucky warm cloud, but had the cloud from the last time forced up my nose with velocity and sit in the lower sinus for several days. Eventually I got a tooth ache from an ‘infected sinus’ and the dentist gave me antibiotics to stop it. Next summer we were back swimming in the slough… So, you think if I grew up swimming in drainage ditches and rivers, wallowing in mud chasing animals, and swallowing gallons of “God Only Knows What” along with eating fish from the same waters: That I’m going to be SCARED or even minimally concerned about processed purified chlorinated filtered tested inspected municipal SHOWER water? Really…)

  7. George says:

    A friend whose brother is a plumber says his business has skyrocketed since the low flow toilets were mandated. There isn’t enough water to flush the poo to the street in one flush so … sometimes it meets the next batch in the (relatively) small pipe coming from the house.

    He says he LOVES those low flow toilets, they probably account for over $30,000 a year in income for him. More if a homeowner tries to take care of it themselves and breaks something.

  8. Eric Fithian says:

    One of the Small Blessings of living in Denver, Colorado: a small business called Do-It-Ur-Self Plumbing and Heating Supply. They have a back yard lined with shelves, on which rest hundreds of classic high-volume toilets (tanks, bowls, lids)! If someone ever needs to replace part or all of his 1960s pot, they can help.
    I, personally, have never had a Problem with my 1.5 gpf toilet, but I am the last one on the line before it heads off the property….
    A few years ago Robert Fulghum stayed in a hotel room which came with a bidet. His reaction was truly Classically American!

  9. John F. Hultquist says:

    A can that fits nicely under the sink faucet works very well. Mine is about 18 ounces (pasta sauce, I think) and I’ve found the timing of the toss is the important thing. As you wrote “when things are moving, but can’t make up their mind.”

    One of my “last a long time” pig-tail bulbs failed today. And two weeks ago I replaced 5 such in an overhead fixture. They were on but seemed only about half-so. Here’s the connection – they are crappy things.

  10. George says:

    Thwarted at every turn:


    Our government has declared us to be the enemy.

  11. George says:

    Smallish agricultural town in Northern California. They notice that after low-flow toilets and shower heads were installed, two things happened:

    1: They needed to flush their sewer lines more often because the reduced flow meant that “stuff” wasn’t kept washed out of the main sanitary sewer lines.

    2. The output of their waste water treatment plant was now too salty to use. they have to cut it with fresh water before they can dispose of it. So all that water that is being “saved” at the shower head is being added back in at the tail end in order to get the water fresh enough for disposal.

  12. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    The problem with the shower head, is that the chlorine can evaporate into the air and their is a slight oxygen supply as well as there is an opening. The water is warm as well. It’s a nice breeding ground area. The water isn’t warm all the way down your water supply, and the chlorine escapes through the holes in the shower head.

    Why when you spill water on the sink things will start to grow on it eventually. You have an oxygen supply and also the chlorine dissolves. I used to have a cough after showering, but now since I purge it out it doesn’t happen anymore ;)

  13. George says:

    If you have a cough it could be Pontiac fever. It is caused by the same bacteria that cause Legionnaires but is a milder and much more common form. Pontiac fever is generally caused by people keeping their water heater temperature too low. They end up with chronic coughs as the water is atomized and aspirated into the lungs along with the bacteria.

    You want the water to be 120 degrees at the tap which often means setting the water heater to 125 or 130 degrees, possibly higher in winter depending on your configuration. Setting it any lower than 120 can make you sick.

  14. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Cool, I’ll crank it up. Gas will make more CO2 too which is good for the garden :)

  15. Mark Miller says:

    Here in Boulder, CO. we have mandated low flows as well. The one I have clears the stuff in the water fine, but…it’s really bad at cleaning the sides… I have to wash the toilet bowl a lot more often than I did with the 5 gal. toilets. The city keeps talking about “saving the planet,” but I think this is about something else, as usual. If they cared about sanitation/public health they’d bring back the 5 gal. toilets.

    Ironically, I think the whole movement for water conservation is really about using less power than water. A while back I heard a city official talk about how with less water use they don’t have to operate the water treatment plant as much. That saves the city money.

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    I don’t get how you “Save” Water. You can save energy since it’s destroyed if it’s burnt. But water can’t be destroyed unless you fuse it in fusion. Water comes back eventually, you just have to catch it = dams.

    Australia had a whole circus about this. The El Nino cycle doesn’t exist anymore apparently, so now the taxpayers are stuck with DeSal plants while flooding is everywhere.

  17. Larry Geiger says:

    I. Couldn’t. Live. In. California!

  18. adolfogiurfa says:

    The earth is 71% water, the cost of desalinization by IO is about US$0.20. Why do these nuts worry about it?. It is not a different story, IT´S THE SAME STORY as that of Kleptocracy,world domination, religious wars, crashing or soaring markets, threats to liberty and life.
    This is what it is all about: Scaring people while they suck your blood.

  19. Larry Geiger says:

    I live in sunny Florida with water running all over the house. Yikes, I’m using up all the water and not saving it for my children and grandchildren. Oh, ain’t it awful :-)

    A bunch of Chicken Littles running all over the barnyard, running into each other. Good grief. The plumbers are running into the homeowners who can’t flush. The city workers running into the crazies who don’t send enough water down the pipes. Who comes up with this stuff?

    Gotta go get some popcorn! The plot is afoot. Oh, wait. I don’t eat popcorn. Can you still buy popcorn? Is all the corn going into our gas tanks? I haven’t had corn in a while. Does the grocery store still have it? I need to check with the relatives in Kansas and see if they still eat it. Where’s my wife? Hey honey, what’s the price of corn at the market? Hmmmm. Think I’ll go flush the toilet. Just to keep things flowing.

    I drained half my pool two days ago. They guy is fiberglassing the steps in the deep end. He pumped it out on the ground. It all flowed into an area about 10ft square. Just soaked right into the sand. Some humpteen gallons of water all disappeared into a small patch of ground out back. No wonder I don’t have problems with my drainfield :-)

    The plumber was here. He fixed the tub spout and faucet in our shower and took off the old water saver shower head (little bitty thing but I liked it). He replaced it with the one that came with the faucet stuff. Big round thing but it just dribbles. Can’t get the soap off. I’m going in and looking for the screen and restrictor. If I can’t get it to flow any better we’re going back. Or maybe I’ll go look at that thing you bought.

    We have a toilet here at work that seems like it’s open to the vacuum of space. You flush this thing and it sucks everything outta there with a giant whooooooooooosh. Doesn’t seem to use a lot of water but it’s kinda fun to watch.

    So what’s up with hanging the dually toilet paper thing down below your knee. Now I understand about handicapped stuff, but you have to be about 9 inches tall to get the paper out of this thing. Then in some places they hang it below the handicapped hand rail. And then place it right next to where your knee goes. I can’t reach it down there. Does that mean that I’m handicapped? Out in the woods I have a bag with some TP and my golden shovel. Just find a nice quiet place amonst the palmettos and relax whilst listening to the birds and watching the clouds go by. Nobody banging on the door hollering, “Aren’t you done in there yet?”. Just peace and quiet.

    Of course, there’s no shower out there in the forest. No shaving. No showering. No tooth brushing. No flushing. For the whole weekend. Sitting by the fire contemplaing life. Eventually, though, it’s time to go home and take a shower.

  20. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M: Take a shower of protons…from the next CME
    Nobody takes into account whence does water comes or came. GCR are >90% protons, and so CME´s…but, as these are not “PEBBLES” (as famous professor Fred Flintstone, et al. – from the school of consensual science-believes they are) but Hydrogen Nucleii, which, by reason of the ever present universal law of Love, like to engage with she-electrons, from ozone, they form WATER.
    The Earth has no LID whatsoever, except for the intense near field, which is earth´s “skin”, and as such, having two layers (a “double layer”!).

  21. kakatoa says:

    George, I had a tour of my local sewage treatment plant recently. The facility recently upgraded (they were required to upgrade the plant to meet tougher standards) their capabilities to include tertiary treatment- http://www.ehow.com/about_5368260_sewage-water-treatments.html
    “Tertiary treatment is often employed to enhance the quality of effluent. Typical processes include nutrient removal (phosphorous and nitrogen) and disinfection methods using ultraviolet light, ozone or chlorine.”

    An expected outcome of adding in tertiary treatment capabilities (lots of capital improvements) was an increase in folks water and sewage bills. The magnitude of the increase has caused a lot of folks to complain a bit- ok a lot. The latest round of revenue requests- that are working there way through the regulatory process http://issuu.com/el-dorado-irrigation-district/docs/prop218notice/6 – are closing in on a doubling of the bi monthly costs for water and sewer services. In the world of sewage treatment lots of flow is good for reducing the ppm of nutrients- hence 5 gallon flushes would be better then 1 gallon flushes.

    Many folks in Sacramento county are pushing back on having tertiary treatment being required for their sewage treatment plants.

  22. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Water delivered by comets or delivered on the solar wind? Em………. I think that the wind is much more likely. Those super high clouds far above the troposphere are a good clue as water vapor from the surface can not rise above the super cooled tropopause that is the bottom of the stratosphere. pg

  23. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: “Solar wind” it is a confusing term: Really the Earth, relative to the Sun is a cathode and such a “wind” it is not other thing than current (Birkeland currents). Every current it is really an alternate current, a wave where when the electrons are ahead it is positive and when protons component are ahead it is negative (as both are attracted by the contrary). Perpendicularly to these there is the magnetic field created by the current. (Oersted Law (Right Hand Law)).
    and dig into:http://www.holoscience.com/
    All that “or gone energy” tale is about non visible and visible plasma.

  24. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: Invisible or “dark mode plasma” being discharged:

  25. George says:

    “Ironically, I think the whole movement for water conservation is really about using less power than water.”

    Yes, we use a huge amount of energy in moving water around. Of course, if we built some more nuke plants, we would have all the energy (and therefore water) that we could use and there would be no reason to “conserve” as power companies would be begging us to use more.

  26. adolfogiurfa says:

    @George: In California it is perfectly to understand as it is the Hollywood land, full of “stars”.

  27. Ruhroh says:

    Y not?

    Important to remove those restriction orifices, especially if you have low water pressure.

    Regarding that pitcher, before you sit down, just scoop it full from the tank on the back of the toilet.
    The tank will refill in time to finish the job, after you finish the paperwork…

  28. adolfogiurfa says:

    OMG! from suicide muslims to scarce water…you are pissed off!

  29. Jerry says:

    A drain cleaner suggestion: I have used one of these with great sucess. There are several different configurations – small ones with adapters to fit a sink to large ones to stick in a 4-5 inch drain pipe. Bing drain cleaning bladder or click this one for a sample.


  30. Judy F. says:


    You can still get small amounts of lye through soapmaking suppliers http://www.brambleberry.com/Sodium-Hydroxide-Lye-2-lbs-P3037.aspx. I get it in bulk ( 25 lbs at a time) from chemical supply companies, with a sales tax license, for my soapmaking business. I was told that it was taken off the super market shelves because it was used for making meth. It burns like crazy even in the raw soap and I can’t imagine ingesting it, but meth heads probably aren’t thinking too much.

    Another pet peeve for me is the anti-scald mechanism in a shower fixture. I guess we should at least be happy that we aren’t burned from the water merely dribbling from the shower head.

    Another good use for a half gallon pitcher is to use it to add water to the dishwasher so the dishes actually get clean. My new Energy Star dishwasher uses a timer instead of a float, when the water is entering the dishwasher ( at least according to the repairman who had to take my dishwasher apart to clean out the plugged screen on the incoming water hose) Those of us with low water pressure sometimes don’t have enough water go through the lines in the allotted time, so the pitcher method works great.

    What would modern society do without cheap plastic pitchers?

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    [Found it… the Fish F… sent it to the spam queue… -E.M.Smith]

    @John F. Hultquist:

    The Gallon Size reduces the timing criticality…

    Oh, and the “curly bulbs” slowly darken inside, so by normal EOL they can be significantly more “dim” than when new. (One of my complaints… ROI is based on initial lumens, it ought to be based on average lumens…)

    @George: Oh Dear. Guess I’ll have to buy a spare or two…

    I suppose I could just put a T or three on the ‘outlet’ next time…

    I always run the water heater on the hot end, as it’s a small one and I like the idea of really hot water for the dishes and grease removal…

    @Eric Fithian:

    I’d love to find one of those places our here. The problem I have is a bowl designed for 5 gallons with a 3 gallon tank. I’ll likely replace it with a newer total package some time, but as what is sold new is ‘nearly no water’ I’m shopping more widely…

    @Mark Miller:

    Since in California ALL domestic water is something like 5% of total water consumption, the simple fact is that all domestic water conservation will accomplish nothing that matters and is largely political (or makes money for some plumbers /. city departments).

    @Larry Geiger:

    Neither could I, that’s why I left… and I’m looking for my nest gig “somewhere else” too. Spouse has also just ‘thrown in the towel’ and said she wants to GTHO… A watershed moment as she is a ‘never move anywhere lives 2 blocks from where she lived from 3 years old until she met me’ type…

    I often wondered how they would sell ‘save the water’ to folks who get 10 inches of rain every day, but somehow they do… “one size fits all US Feds” after all…

    Yeah, the “all sand all the time’ drains really well…

    Can’t you just stand outside at 4 pm and soap up? Why go home for a shower? It’s 90 F and unlimited… Or is it a lighting thing ;-)

    Friends pool didn’t need added water. Had a gadget to keep the level right by letting some drain into the sand somewhere. One year the had a drought and he had to find a hose to top it up. Then again, the multi-square-mile lake dried up. Turns out it was about 15 feet deep and the bottom was sand. That is, it was the water table. Found out it didn’t have an outlet. Water just ran in and soaked… Strange place, Florida. Gotta love it.


    I like more water in my shower than the mists from space…


    That would involve lid lifting. As the tub is right next to the pot, sit the pitcher under the faucet when you set. Listen to the gentle sound of running water and every happens just fine ;-)

    Pick it up when you stand up and there’s hardly a wasted motion at all…


    Yes, I’ve got a couple for small lines. It wouldn’t work so well for the toilet, as the clog was downstream of the ‘cluster’ (leakage was backing up into the bottom of the tub…) so there were 2 drains (tub, sink), two overflow vents, roof vapor vent, and the toilet that would all have to be closed off for pressure to build. Or take the toilet up and put a big one down the hole.

    So I went with the chemical solution first. If it had not worked, I’d have gone to pressurized water…but might have used my “large Snake” first. I like using the chemicals first as they kind of cut back on the bugs in the “poo juice” oozing up the drains before you have to get too much of your skin into it… I’m OK with the poo exposure, but I’m more OK with caustic treated poo stuff that seems to wash off more easily… Poo Soap? ;-)


    It is not possible to “Save” water. It is yet another logical lie. All water gets widely recycled. It is only a political ploy anyway as domestic water use is nearly nothing of total water use.

    At about 10 years old, we went out to the river where we saw the city sewage plant outfall. 10 miles downstream was the intake for the next city. It was at least 15 miles downstream of THEIR outfall to the next city intake… In between the slime and ‘things’ ate the “stuff” and made the water all nice again… or so they assured us. My town was “different” in that we had ‘well water’ for the town. So we only dumped into the river, we didn’t take out.

    Then again, the best swimming hole in the river was about 1 mile downstream…

    Enjoy your paranoia. Me? I have a tank running at about 140 F to 160 F and run the hot water until it comes out hot, then add cold to comfortable. Nobody has had any problems in, well, in a few lifetimes ( my Dad did the same thing, once they got a water heater on the farm…)

    BTW, I just spent an hour turning over a 4 x 4 foot square of the garden, including shoveling in a lot of dusty rabbit poo. Then I had a nice cooling drink of water from the hose, that lays in the garden, undrained, never with hot water in it, for days between uses. Later this summer I’ll be running that same hose into a sprinkler, which, on initial start up, well spray me with said water that sat for a few days in the garden hose in the yard. I, hopefully in shorts and no shirt, will enjoy the moment of cool. Sometimes several times in one afternoon.

    Every couple of days I dump the couple of gallons of rabbit water tub. It has a nice layer of slime on the surface. Sometimes it gets mosquito larva in it, so is dumped sooner. Often it has a few stray leaves in it that start to ‘ferment’. I usually dump it in such a way that it splashes and gets on my feet. I’ve been known to taste it to see if it’s still ‘good’ for the bunnies… Sometimes it has bits of rabbit poo on the bottom, but not too often. Usually it’s just a bit of pigeon droppings… but most of the time the pigeons have their nose end over the water when the urge hits them. Usually I get that washed out before refilling with fresh and testing it…

    I also let dogs lick my face and have been known to eat sushi raw. Sometimes even sushi I made for myself. Only a few times have I let the cat lick my face ( the tongue is too rough…) Rabbit licks are peasant, but usually they only lick the hand that is scratching them… Oh, and a wide variety of critters have decided to sneeze right into my face, nose, and on some occasions, open eyes and mouth when I was incautious, while inspecting them to see what’s making them sick. Only some of the times was puss involved…

    You seeing a pattern here? I grew up in Farm Country. “Shit Happens” has a whole different meaning there. Ya either accept it, or you leave town. ( I did both ;-)

    Then I worked in hospitals for a few years. Nothing like having your regular TB tests to make sure you didn’t pick anything up from the “customers”. Then there was that time a staple on some lab work nicked by knuckle (as I grabbed a pile from the In Basket to file). A week later I had a fulminating wound that tested out with 4 different bugs in it, only one of which was Staph… They gave me some mondo-antibiotics as they didn’t want a law suit and it looked like I was getting ‘red streaks’ up my arm (i.e. ‘blood poisoning’). Worked ‘admissions’ for a year or two. All sorts of ‘stuff’ walks in coughing in your face and sneezing on you. Only a few wounds had things “moving” in them. (Learned about that when Dad showed me a “Blow Fly” or bot fly larvae eating into a cow… It was even creepier than the maggot filled bodies of dead things we’d walk by on the way to the best catfishing hole. Best bate was guts that were left out for a day or two to ‘ripen’… Then you ate what ate them… AFTER you cleaned it, that often included getting stuck with a slime covered spine. The red infected spot usually went away in a day or two… Some folks liked to skin them, but I thought that tasted better if you left the skin on. No, you can’t get all the slime off the skin by washing…

    I’ve got a WHOLE LOT more, but I think you get the picture. ( I hope you get the picture). IF you are having an illness, have a doctor take a look and check out your immune status. I had antibiotics all of twice in my life, IIRC, before age 18. After a while, you build up immunity… (Only thing that was really annoying was the mold bugs. Ring worm and athletes foot fungus. In those days we used Mercurichrome made with mercury and tincture of iodine for most things. Usually a good sunburn in summer would cook them if that didn’t work.)

    Last time I had antibiotics was several years ago. “Acne Rosacea” caused by the same H. Pylori that causes ulcers. Not exactly life threatening, but the spouse thought I looked better without a red nose…

    Only regret I’ve got is that I likely have a protozoan or two as parasite infections. Sort of an annoyance to think about it, but then again, most people have them. There’s a whole bunch of them, not just malaria, and most of them are asymptomatic (so if you don’t read up on them don’t know you likely have them). Most folks get them from the cat, or from working with animals. Some folks get them from mosquitoes or other biting things. I grew up in mosquito
    country… (There were a few cases of malaria over my lifetime in that area.

    OnOne One documented about 3 miles from a favorite fishing hole… I remember some doozey fevers as a kid, but no idea what caused them as we would just ‘sweat it out’. I think they were something other than Malaria. Probably…)

    Only once or twice have I had to deal with leaches…

    So, about that shower head… Like I said, several times, I’m just not going to be worried about it… I’d also suggest you work on your immunity response. It’s a nasty world out there; at least once you get out of the shower…

    Then there was the interesting stuff that grew on the wood fluff panels in the “swamp cooler” that spent all summer wet or damp, sucking outside air with “everything” in it over the damp, all kept between about 75 F at night and 100 F during the day – i.e. ideal culture temperatures. Sometimes you could get really interesting cultures…

    Yes, for months on end, my bedroom was about 15 feet from the air blower and we’d run it damp enough to ‘spit a bit of mist’, and I’d breath it. Day after day. For months. Damp. Ideal growing conditions (water recirculating and only make up water having any purification in it, but not much at that). Most of the time no dead bugs or larger critters were in it, but lots of micro-life…

    We’d go swimming in the “Dredger ponds”. These were not connected to running water (other than ground water that seeped through). Lots of interesting things lived in them. Most of the time it wasn’t too green and didn’t taste too funny… Usually the river next to it was more funny. Especially after the Shad Run when there were dead fish all over the place. Had to time your release from the rope swing to not land on anything ‘questionable’ floating by.

    Then there was the time I went “free diving” in a murky irrigation canal. The divers with SCUBA gear were working over the weir, but we needed someone to check the banks and bottom down stream. I did a “arc and back” searching with hands (could only see about 2 feet) for the body of the drowned kid.

    Didn’t find him. He was stuck on an iron rebar in a chunk of cement up at the weir. They found him about a hour after I started searching. So for about an hour I was just down stream of a dead kid. I’m sure the swimming trunks kept me clean… Of course, you get a bit of water in your mouth breathing through a snorkel, but I’m sure it was only the clean water. Not the water fish funk in. Not the water a dead body evacuates into. Not the water scuba divers are spitting into their masks to prevent fogging and rinsing in. Not the water where a sisters friend got polio in. (It was a few years before, so I’m sure it wasn’t still there. We’d even started vaccinations for it a year or so before…)

    Would you like to hear the really gross stuff? Or just accept that maybe what lives in a showerhead is just not very important…

    Then there was the time went camping and …

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    @Judy F.:

    Good points.

    (Oddly, I just did a very large answer everyone comment that has completely evaporated when I hit ‘submit’… Wonder if WordPress is having one of those days… )

    I’ll keep your point about dishwashers in mind on the next one I put in.

    Gee, when my Dad was a kid they had to use pitchers and buckets to fetch water to clean stuff. Sure glade we don’t have to do that anymore ;-)

    Yes, the War On Drugs has done in all sorts of interesting things. At the local Science Shop I was told that to sell me glassware they would have to take my name and ID and submit it to the government on some report. I said I’d just use the Pyrex measuring cups from the store instead of the Pyrex cylindrical cups they sold. Clearly they were much different ;-)

    On my “todo someday” list is make my own Potassium Lye from ashes the old fashioned way…

    I used to make my own soap not too many years ago. Still have a cubic foot or so of it that I use in my shaving mug. Let the lye soap age in open air for a few months and the leftover lye converts to carbonate and you get a more mild soap.

  33. George says:

    “Oh Dear. Guess I’ll have to buy a spare or two… ”

    But you will have to get rid of them when the property changes hands. They now do “inspections” on homes to make sure they are compliant before they are put on the market. You can’t sell the house until you have all the proper energy and water conservation crap. Amazing how a contrived shortage of energy and water can allow them to micromanage people to that level.

  34. R. de Haan says:

    Modern housing in the EU now requires a separate plumbing system for flushing the toilet with waste water.

    All together the addition EU green, sustainable hubris that come with a building permit for a new house have surpassed € 50.000,–
    Totally unsustainable.

    Washing your car in front of your house is now forbidden so I bought an 8 bar steam cleaner to get the job done.
    I also use the steamer to blow the dead flies from the propellor and the trailing edge of the wing of the plane.


    It’s really amazing to see that you can clean an entire car including the engine and the interior with less than half a gallon of water in a few minutes of time.

    James Delingpole has written a nice article
    Why I am so rude to warmists.

    In the mean time Richard North has a nice book revue on Watermelons, also written by James Demingpole

    Drill baby drill for oil, gas and bigger holes in your shower.

    And screw the establishment.

  35. Sabretoothed says:

    @EMSmith cats :


    Watch out for those cat licks :)


    Linked to Schizophrenia as well ;)

    Also, indoor cats, if they even have pot plants in house even that is enough to give them roundworms

  36. Judy F. says:


    I think people who have lived on farms generally have better immune systems than other people. Every year during our County Fair, the local child care centers bring the children to the fair to see and pet the animals. Several days after the fair there is usually an outbreak of intestinal upsets at the child care centers. Now there are portable handwashing stations in the barns for the kids to use after they pet the animals. When my own kids were at the fair and showing animals, they thought that rubbing your hands on your pants to get the “worst chunks” off was good enough. What made the city kids sick didn’t even faze my kids.

    During harvest, I would take supper out to the fields, so we could keep the combines and trucks running. I would take a wet hand towel out, and everyone there would use the one towel to “wash” before eating. Each truck or combine had one jug of water and we all drank out of it. Somehow, we lived through the experience.

    One summer our water well got hit by lightning. I had to haul water for the basic needs for a family of seven. ( We went to Grandma’s for showers). I was so used to turning on a faucet and I had to develop a whole new mindset. I hadn’t ever peeled vegetables without having running water to rinse them off. Hot water had to be heated on the stove.The hand washing and dish washing water was used to flush toilets, or was carried to the garden. Not a drop was wasted. I realized then that God’s greatest gift to womankind was running water in the house.

    If you believe that mankind has evolved over several million years, you have to know that there wasn’t clean, chlorinated, fluoridated, piped-in water, or cloroxed kitchen counters, or pest free homes for virtually all of that time. Somehow our immune systems were able to overcome a germ or two along the way.

    Re: Soap. I let my soap cure for 4 weeks before I label or sell it. My house always smells good in the summer with 20 or more fragrances of soap curing at a time. I use vegetable oils as my fixed oils. My customers prefer the vegetable oils, but I have used both lard and tallow for family use. I even rendered them myself. If someone had told me when I was in high school that I would be hauling water or rendering tallow, I wouldn’t have believed them.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    @R.de Haan:

    Nice article… very nice… Maybe it pays to be selectively rude ;-)

    @Judy F:

    Love the stories!

    Yes, clearly we come from a different world from other folks…

    I remember once at about 5 years old waiting impatiently while my Dad and another guy negotiated who got which parts of the road kill…

    There had been some pheasant that poorly timed a flight across the highway and, well, was it “one each” or “two for one” was the discussion, I think. or maybe who got the least busted up bird. We had pheasant that night… It was really good…

    I can relate to the ‘water issue’… My Dad and I drilled a well in the back yard (mostly so I’d know how, I think, as water was not metered in our town then). Did it by hand with a fence post hole digger. The ‘turn kind’. Had 4 foot of water in a 14 foot hole. (Pipe is threaded on to get the extension between handle and working end.) We watered our garden from that well for years (even after metered water came along). Tasted great, too. Not treated at all, and full of whatever is in farm dirt 10 feet down.

    I don’t remember where or when it was, but as a very young kid ‘somewhere’ we stayed in a place with a pitcher and basin/bowl in the room for ‘washing up’. As the grandparents on one side were Amish, it might have been back in Iowa…or visiting somewhere..

    There’s nothing like the smell of a cast iron wood stove with pots of food on top… Ah, memories…

    But I’m very glad I don’t have to chop wood, carry water, or ‘dispatch’ the chicken for dinner… (Chasing one headless chicken around the backyard once was enough! A profound mix of extreme comedy, mild horror, and incredible mess! as the blood level drops…)

    So I’m happy for the memories and thrilled that they ARE memories!!

    Your soap business sounds like a personal joy. I used mostly vegetable shortening, but did a batch of olive oil / shortening as a kind of “Palm / Olive” Palmolive knock off. It had a nice olive like natural fragrance. Lard works well too. If you get a chance, try the Palm / Olive mix. It really is a nice soap. ( I used a ‘cold process’ on it with the melted oils mixed and cold saturated lye added and cooled; then left to cure for a few days. No cooking, no precipitation, natural glycerin i the soap) It was a favorite, but a bit pricey.

    Once I made a batch of synthetic detergent. It worked, sort of, but was not stable over time (likely a contamination issue). So I went back to soaps. Made some soft soap once. Tended to get used up fast ;-)

    I know it will sound silly, but I found Crisco worked nicely for a clean white hard soap… Things like ‘corn oil’ and ‘soybean’ never seemed to make as clean a product…

    I think I’m going to have to find a soap making supply place… It’s been a while… strange how a hobby like that sticks with you…

    There is a bug that, if exposed as an infant gives you sniffles, that can kill you if your first exposure is as an adult. Started showing up as strong illness in a 12 year old kid in NYC. He’d not touched dirt before and went on a field trip that hospitalized him… Lived high in a highrise…

    Yes, the ‘natural’ immune system conditioning does different things… and in farm country you get ‘conditioned’ a lot ;-)


    Worms? Worms are nothing. I’ve wormed cattle, pets, people. Had worms crawl out of the dogs butt while he was sleeping next to me. Had a kid at school upchuck a load of worms on the sidewalk (they sent him home with advice on wormers). Worming animals is SOP in farm country. Forget the potted plant… If you have soil, plants, and animals, you have worms.

    I think I’ve been treated for worms once, or maybe it was twice. Wasn’t sure if I had any, but we had the wormer and some of the critters had had worms, so you swallow it…

    I’ve got a bottle of Ivermectin on the shelf as we speak. The drench is much more convenient that the “old way” and the old stuff…

    So, about the camping trip…. do you know what raccoons can put in the stream, that gets into you? Probably not… but hey, they’re Gods Creatures too…

    Look, in high school biology class we had to learn what Anthrax looks like. Topical Anthrax is called ‘wool sorters disease’ because it often shows up in people who work with sheep hides.

    Couple of years back there were a couple of cattle from about 5 miles from me, died of inhaled anthrax (spores in the dust, nose in the dust…). Yes, good old wild Anthrax is alive and well and living in farm soil pretty much everywhere that has cattle. But at low levels.

    So realize that since about age 15 I’ve been dealing with the knowledge that I could pick up a bit of anthrax and might want to know what it looks like… ’cause if it goes pneumonic you don’t have long to get treatment… THAT is “Farm Country”. Nothing a city kid experiences even comes close…


    Anthrax has killed 21 beef cattle on a southern Santa Clara County ranch, the California Department of Food and Agriculture said yesterday.

    So just give up now on trying to find something that will scare me or make me even slightly worried. It’s just not going to happen.

    “Soft Kitty Warm Kitty Little Ball Of Fur….”

    On one interesting occasion at the Florida Friends house, his (rather large and kind of obnoxious) cat was inspecting this Foreign Thing that was living there without his permission… Well, he ‘gave me some grief’ and I just ‘got in his grill’ a little bit. (Walked toward him rather than away…)

    He decided to ‘show me!’ and proceeded to sink fangs into shin and claws into calf. Me being in a swim suit, had no pant leg…

    I looked at him, having no reaction at all to him, and said something like “So, you think that’s going to do something?”… He, slowly, realized “nothing was happening”…

    Cat eye opens and looks up at me. I’m looking at him with a “well, I’m not killing you right now as I’d have to bend over and you are not worth it” look…

    He decides to remove fangs and claws from my leg. Then decides to run to the other side of the room…

    About 3 minutes later I realized the ‘tickle’ I was feeling was blood dribbling down the old leg from the tooth hole (that I’d not quite noticed…)

    Well, I figured I’d better wash the blood off before it got on the carpet…

    About 5 days later the hole was mostly healed and the redness from whatever bugs were on his teeth was receding…

    See, what he didn’t know was that I had an 18 pound Persian as a kid that liked to ‘chew on me a bit’ from time to time. So basically his ‘bag of tricks’ was not even close to new, nor ‘an issue’….

    Cat didn’t ever bother me again… He’d shot his wad and got bupkiss, and knew it…

    Now, since I’ve had about a dozen cats in my life, and been bit and scratched and chewed by even more (some of them dog-eared ally cats, others scarred up Farm Cats that had to find their own food in the barn… a few ‘whatever drug itself into the house’ and adopted us), it’s pretty well guaranteed I’ve been exposed to every thing they can carry. As I’ve done ‘wound care’ on cat wounds filled with puss (on a grumpy cat with no anesthetic…) more times than I can count, I’m pretty familiar with the flora..

    SO I’ve either already got it, or had it and killed it off already. See, it, too, has shot it’s wad and got bupkiss for it.

    What surprises me is that despite repeated evidence of what you have in front of you, y’all cain’t see it.

    There is no way in hell I’m going to be worried about cat licks if I’m not worried when the darned thing tries to take a chunk out of my leg.

    Oh, and it’s not just house cats…

    College Roomie had a part time job at the zoo. I got to visit inside the BobCat Cage. Fun critters, if a bit larger than a house cat. Had one leap into my arms and drape itself around my neck. It really wanted some attention.

    Then there was the time he had an African Lion Cub. At about 20 pounds or so, it was something of a baby. But it wanted to “play” so took a run at my hand. He swatted it back about 10 feet head over keester… It responded with “Oh Boy, FUN!” and charged back. Their fir has the texture of a steel wool “Brillo Pad”… Strength per pound was high, even in an infant. Liked to chew, especially leather shoes. Feet in or out, no problem… Eventually it got too big for such play and went off to a ranch in Colorado or some such…

    So, again, you think there is any chance in Hell that I’m going to care about house cat spit when I’ve had an African Lion Cub trying to eat my feet and use my hands as a chew toy? And I LIKED it?! When one of my fondest memories ever is having two “wild bobcats” (that were mostly just starved for affection but I didn’t now that at that moment) bounding at me full tilt and LEAP at me ( I caught one, friend caught the other) and the joy of him then nuzzling my face, licking my ear, and wrapping himself around my neck (with hardly any claw) and me petting him while the biggest purrs I’ve ever heard were going into my face as we shared the same breathing air face to face… You think with THAT as my benchmark I’m going to give a rats ass about spit? (Well, I HAVE given a rats ass… to the cat, who ate it, but that’s another story…)

    I feel like I’m talking to a cement post… At a minimum the City Slicker Warning Flag is at full salute…

  38. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @EM; Glad to hear, you don’t mind getting dirty. ;-) pg

  39. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Yeah you know how lots of single women have cats. Maybe that’s why they stay single ;))))


  40. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, you’ve lived country, so you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout…

    And S.P. seems fixated on cats and bugs, having posted comments about the same bug and same symptoms 3 times now… maybe he has a bug that prevents memory for working well enough to keep track of that? … ;-)

  41. Larry Geiger says:

    Sounds like I had some of the same stuff. I grew up in Florida without A/C. We had an attic fan. Pulled in good, fresh, summer, moisture laden Florida air through the windows and blew it out the attic vents. My dad’s leather shoes would be green with mold in the morning. He would wipe them off, rub on some black, Kiwi polish from a little flat can, and head off to work.

    Mosquitoes were the norm. I go camping with the guys now and most of the younger guys go ballistic if a couple dawn/dusk bugs show up. Hee hee. Just wait an hour, they’ll go away. Of course, that’s when the real biters come out, just not as many :-)

    There’s a reason why they call it Mosquitoe Lagoon. I had some pretty good fevers as a kid, but no one paid much attention. I’ve probably been exposed to West Nile, Encephalitis, and whatever else they carry. I don’t know. I just know that mosquitoe bites don’t bother me much anymore. Now deer flies and horse flies! That’s another story. Those suckers go right for the ankles and you never see or feel them until it’s too late.

    We swam in most every body of water around. Sand mine ponds, St Johns River, creeks, Indian River, ocean and those 15ft deep, sandy bottom lakes. So I was working on my immune system, huh? Who knew. At least I was working on something. I sure wasn’t doing my homework :-)

  42. Larry Geiger says:

    Oh yeah. I’ve always had a cat. Our current one is sort of a wimp and just stays inside. Most all the rest of them have been de-nocturnalized by staying in and sleeping all night and being put out during the day (where I think they sleep most of the time also, but it’s a cat). We had one yellow female that was terrified outside. She would sit on the the front porch and try to ward off the mockingbird attacks. She would be so pooped at the end of the day she would eat a little of her food and go lie down in her bed and sleep all night. Had to toss her out each morning. Goofy cat.

    Then there was Oscar Eugene Tubbs. My mom named our cats after psychologists. Dr. Tubbs was one of the guys that helped invent GatorAde. Made quite a bit of money when it was sold to Coke. Oscar was gray with a white tummy. All tomcat all the time. He would eat a fish on the patio until his tummy was a tight as a drum. Nothing left of the fish but bones and the head.

    One day he disappeared. We looked and looked but couldn’t find him. He showed up in the front yard two years later. Happy as could be. He had developed big jowls. Our neighbor was a vet. He said the big cheeks were from being fed milk all the time. Who knew? Oscar moved to North Carolina with my mom and dad. He ran around in the mountains with the collie and the border collie and loved it. He had a special place on the back stoop where he dropped off rodent presents. He lived to 19 1/2 years old. World’s greatest cat.

  43. adolfogiurfa says:

    ….not yet arrived your time to eat cats….That happens after and above 1 million percent devaluation…
    Let them grow fat … :-)

  44. E.M.Smith says:


    No need to eat the cat, as Larry Geiger pointed out, they bring you ‘presents’ so just work on your Mulligan Stew technique ;-) though maybe a burgoo is more appropriate:


    “Mulligan” is a stand-in for any Irishman, and mulligan stew is simply an Irish stew that includes meat, potatoes, vegetables, and whatever else can be begged, scavenged, found or stolen. A local Appalachian variant is a burgoo, where the available ingredients might include squirrel or opossum. Only a pot and a fire are required. The hobo who put it together was known as the “mulligan mixer.”

    so as the cat pays for himself, just let him be. (Now a lazy one that just sits around and gets pudgy… well… here kitty kitty kitty…)

    When I was a kid we tended to sing a song related to this variation:


    but our variation had “floating in the Mulligan Stew” where their version of the chorus has something about not having a spoon…

    @Larry Geiger:

    Naw, my cat was the greatest ever! ;-)

  45. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Adolfo & EM; your remarks remind me I need to pick up a case of 22LR for my meat gun. Haven’t needed to use it for the last 20 years. Price of food is beginning to skyrocket. Lots of tree rats here. pg

  46. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. Lots of….rats here. Kleptocracy? :-)

  47. R. de Haan says:

    adolfogiurfa (17:45:08) :

    You mean KleptocRATS?

  48. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Na guys, I’m after the bushy tail ones. They ARE stealing pine nuts and acorns, not that I need to use them as of yet, 8-) on the other hand them damn bears cause me some grief every fall as they raid the fruit trees and dog food. I don’t mind what they eat, but they tear up the trees and vines and terrorize the dogs. Kind of wish I still had that 16ga deer rifle, maybe I should swap my brother for the 30-06 that I have. I’m getting too old to attack a bear with my staff and the 30-30 is much to penetrating to use around the farmstead. pg

  49. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: As far as I know it is forbidden now in the US to shot bears…unless in self defense and only if the bears carry a weapon with the same caliber as yours…. (They are a “minority” ya know….as lesbians, gays or pedophiles, so they deserve all the respect from society)

  50. Chiefio,
    I am glad you liked the shower. Back in the year 2000 I built a house in North Carolina and ran into the water flow restrictions you mentioned.

    The builder worked with me to ensure a decent flow in the shower but he balked at the idea of installing 1″ pipework that would have ensured a sensational shower by today’s standards. He said he would be opening himself up to fines from the gumment and I would be forced to replace the plumbing.

    One can always look for a house that was built before the restrictions were imposed.

  51. adolfogiurfa says:

    @R.de Haan: If public office charges would be “ad-honorem” (not paid) nobody would wish to become a public “servant”.
    When I was a kid, here in Peru, S.A., members of congress and the President were not paid, . Of course everybody remembers them being the best prepared and qualified people, as they did not need a government salary to survive. The same principle applied to city mayors. In the 60´s it all changed, for the worse of course.
    This is another reason why we will see the french revolution ending, and monarchies reappearing. Not even the pharaohs could have spent such a lot of money. (At least they left the “Pyramids” for us to contemplate).

  52. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Aldolfo; Public officials cry all the time that to get the best people you have to pay them more. They are right! The more you pay them the better they get at turning the general population into their slaves. The pharaohs and their priests ,bureaucrats all, wasted the wealth of their civilizations to build those grand monuments to themselves. At the height of such grand creations the civilization collapsed. All civilizations show the same cycle, the people create wealth, the civilization grows, bureaucracies grow and become powerful. They stifle all advancement except their own and tax all wealth to aggrandize themselves. Then People quit creating wealth and everyone starves, and then revolution. The PIGS always try to take control, starve the PIGS, They need to learn to create wealth and not just “quire wealth unearned.” pg

  53. George says:

    Worming animals is SOP in farm country.

    And people, too. When I was little and lived on the farm, I got “wormed” about once every two years. That stuff was NASTY, too.

  54. w.w.wygart says:

    It wouldn’t be so hard to put up with the meanie greenies if they thought with their brains instead of their ideologies.

    You take an extensive, existing housing base with plumbing systems built with a fixed 1/4″ to 1/2″ slope [actually installed it may barely meet the minimum] potentially with many twists and turns, THEN, arbitrarily decide to halve or quarter the ‘flow’ you are going to have problems, its an engineering certainty. It will inevitably lead to “failures to perform”, waste and inefficiencies, and cases where you will wind up using more water per ‘event’ with a “low-flush” toilet than you would with standard flush toilet. Intelligent stupidity.

    At Anthony’s suggestion I had the household convert to a ‘dual flush’ system, No.1 gets ~1/2 a flush [enough to evacuate to bowl], No.2 gets a traditional ‘full flush’ [enough to evacuate sewer line to the street]. Total cost ~$30 and <45 minutes per fixture, including a proactive replacement of the flapper. Smart.

    The fact that 'green' thinking seems to involve the systematic denial of well understood principles of science and engineering in favor of ideologically driven calculations in order to accomplish their objectives just leaves me shaking my head in wonder.

    They want to run the world, but they can't even get the plumbing right!


  55. cm says:

    I’ll send you a shower head from the free world if you want e.m. ;-) I’ve got a couple of the adjustable shower heads lying spare.

  56. Mark Miller says:

    @Judy F:

    I watched a reality series produced in the UK some years ago that was meant to simulate what life was like in ancient celtic times. Everything was going along pretty well until they slaughtered some animals for meat. First of all, the show participants were grossed out killing the livestock, and they didn’t even do it themselves. Government regulations said that animals had to be killed by a “professional”…using a modern pellet gun. Then they tried to use authentic meat storage techniques. It didn’t work. People came down with stomach illnesses so severe they had to go to the hospital. Europeans of just a few hundred years ago had stronger digestive and immune systems, because their bodies often had to deal with spoiled meat, though that could’ve contributed to their relatively short life spans.

    A few years ago I was hearing that doctors were admonishing parents to *not* disinfect the house and such, that kids should be exposed to some “dirt and grime” to develop their immune systems.

    Earlier than that I was hearing that nursing mothers should nurse their babies *especially* when the mother is sick, because antibodies are transferred to the baby through the milk.

    The truth is, as I think many on here know, only some bacteria are “icky”–dangerous to our health, and even then it’s a matter of “dosage” than being exposed to them at all. There’s plenty of other bacteria, swimming around in and on our bodies, that’s *essential* to our existence. We would literally die without them. I don’t know if this has changed, but it seems to me we still have a culture that regards bacteria as “dirty,” something to be avoided and killed. Sometimes that’s a good idea, but not always.

  57. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Plumbing was one of the first trades that I learned before I became a teen.
    Bell end socket cast iron, I still have a piece in my hand from cutting it with a cold chisel. Lead and oakem made in place seals. Galvanized steel pipe, cut to correct length and threaded with white lead pipe dope. How to lay drain lines so they don’t plug, how to plumb a shower so it flows properly even when a toilet is flushed or faucet is opened.

    I was once told by a plumbing contractor that you had to know 3 things to be a plumber. Shit runs down hill. Pay day was on Friday and the Boss is a S.O.B. pg

  58. Mark Miller says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Interesting articles re. Dellingpole and the thesis that the issue of AGW is purely political. I got this sense about it a few years ago, but I’ve been thinking that the argument can be sufficiently countered by trying to reason with others about what’s being said, whether scientifically, or just logically, and by doing that, show up people who are political shills. From what I’ve observed, though, this approach hasn’t worked well. I just haven’t been able to think of another one. What Dellingpole is saying is “give it up” on that front. That’s a sobering assessment, but I’ll take it to heart. The question that comes to my mind, though, is “What do we use, then, to counter this?” I guess another compelling narrative?

    I think what Dellingpole makes clear with his argument is the entire AGW argument is a mirage. The very *premise of the argument*, that science is even involved, is misleading. What makes their argument stick so darn well, though, is that a newsman can stick a microphone in a scientist’s face, and they’ll say, “Human activities are altering the earth’s climate,” whether they know that (which at this point is doubtful) or not. It would be one thing if political activists were out front about who they were, and were saying, “Scientists say this,” but you never saw an actual scientist say it. In this case we have scientists, who are representing themselves as scientists when they say these things, who are in fact speaking as political activists! Again I ask, how do we counter that if not by using the same premise they’re using? Change the subject, perhaps, to something more compelling, not even addressing the claims of “science” on their merits?

    A rather easy place to go for conservatives is an appeal to economics and prosperity, but one libertarian I saw speak last year pointed out that “man does not live by bread alone,” that conservatives are neglecting the moral argument for their cause. He didn’t say this in the sense of it being a Christian argument. I just put that out there for conservatives to ponder.

    AGW alarmists don’t even address their real goals, to suppress human population growth, and the spread of capitalism. Instead they talk about the ice sheets melting, species dying off, coastal flooding, etc. They don’t talk about economic issues at all, at least not in public. They appeal to our sense of self preservation, guilt, our love for the aesthetic beauty of nature, and empathy for vulnerable creatures. They don’t talk about the implications of where this induced concern leads.

    I think the big secret to the success of this top-down movement is they have concocted something larger in scope than the issues they’re really going after, which exists almost purely in an emotional space for most people. For the relative few who are more technically interested, and perhaps are more skeptical, though not so discerning, a load of data and computer models will suffice. For many, just the mere correlation of CO2 to temperature is enough to make the argument stick. They have constructed an alternate reality, another world, using everything that seems relevant to people in our modern society. Another aspect is they have been able to involve people from all sorts of institutions in their activities, from businesses to churches to universities to governments. I don’t know if this applies to churches, but the big draw (and a disincentive for them to pull away from it) for the others has been PR and money. Again, we’re back to the Achilles heel for conservatives. Any ideas?

  59. R. de Haan says:

    @Mark Miller (04:05:29) :

    “Any ideas?”

    1. clean up (and out) the GOP
    2. Ron Paul for President.
    He will defund the UN and the EPA from day one, the only way to get rid of of the scares and beat Obama.

    Ignore the warmists.
    They will come up with a new mantra now they have lost the CO2 discussion.
    Oops, they already have a new mantra:

    Defunding them is the only way to stop them.

  60. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve managed to trap “Bushy Tree Rats” with a ‘live trap’ and peanut butter. (They were, um, harvesting the garden, so needed a new home… and I wanted to test out the method). PB is pretty cheap and very quiet…

    Per The Bear: A 20 Ga. with 3 inch Magnum chambering is about the same as a 12 Ga with slugs, but the kick is lower and the gun lighter. Use the “Sabot Slugs” not the big fat pellet gun hollow shape ones… Winchester make ’em I think. Took on apart (12 Ga). It’s a nice solid slug with a dimple in the tip and kind of an hour glass shape that likely stabilizes the flight.

    Then again, some cans of Bear Spray and some trigger lines might make less noise and get the bear gone without needing to haul off a flea and tick covered ton of gristle and chew… while the buggers are looking for a new home…


    Watch that insulting minorities… Here in California I’m a minority (Straight White Married Male) and Gays and Lesbians are often the majority ( how Nancy Pelosy “we have to pass the bill to find out what is in it” keeps her seat). Don’t want to get me in trouble with “La Man” now do you?


    As the “restrictor” looks to be about 1/8 inch, even a 1/2 feed line ought to be plenty.

    1 inch to the shower is most likely not needed.

    Yeah, buy old houses and take the fixtures with you when you move…

    Some decade+ ago California passed a “Bathroom must have high efficiency lighting” code. No LED lights then and the curly bulbs were a sickly greenish most of the time. Similarly, Kitchens, where Color Rendering Index is critical to getting food to look right. ( I have a 150 W Halogen in the Kitchen as we speak for just that reason. Use a Chef BoyArdee can to test light color. It has lots of hard to get right reds and oranges on it. It will look delicious under an incandescent and like crap under a curly bulb…)

    Thus was sprouted a New Industry. At Inspection, all would be CFL bulbs and women would complain about how ghastly they looked in the bath. Just AFTER inspection, the fixtures would be swapped out by an “independent home repairman” (i.e. not a contractor and no inspection…) The same Fluorescent Fixtures got inspected again and again and again and…

    My Realtor had a set of Big Round CFL bulbs for the bathrooms that had screw in bulbs. Post inspection he’d just swap in the regular bulbs… and show the house…

    If it ever reaches that point, I’ve already got a DIY idea for a shower head. As I learned to weld an braze early, it’s just a copper pipe into a large flat copper “can” and holes drilled. Then dip into a chrome plating bath.

    I made a “mock up” using PVC ( a 3 or 4 inch ‘cap’ with holes in it works nicely for watering flowers… and yes, the ‘water wand’ shower ends that fit the same pipe as the bath have no flow restrictions ;-) I expect we will see a lot of Very Fancy Garden Watering Wands someday… ;-)

    @P.G. Sharrow / Adolfo:

    Hmmm… Maybe I need to revisit that French Revolution history for a brush up. Might get some “pointers” ;-)

    Also, the Egyptian Civilization / history is very interesting. Several times the entire structure is kept in place, but an outside “King” takes over. The Greek Ptolemy bunch was only the last of several. They had Hyxsos at one time, Nubian / Ethiopians at another. Slowly went down hill until it could not stand up to Rome and collapsed. Then later the Arabs / Ottomans replaced the whole culture.

    So: Who will be Our Rome? And what is the next Ottoman Culture? Have to think on that…


    You too, eh?

    The Ivermectin Drench is hardly notable. (Tried some on me last year). Just dump on a ‘dose’ and it soaks in. A week later, repeat. Less exciting than hair oil…

    Kids these days will be getting off sooo easy and they won’t even know it…



    Thanks for the offer. If it ever gets that bad I’ll let you know…


    That’s my only complaint, too. It is ideological not logical driven.

    It’s like they WANT to suffer by looking at their poo in the bowl and having it “not go away” to remind them how evil they are to the planet…

    I’ll be glad when society dumps them (as societies always dump their fads)…

    @Mark Miller:

    At time of “disposal” human poo is about 1/4 bacteria by mass.

    Your ability to live depends on bacteria in your gut making B vitamins.

    I’ve taken antibiotics and then had so much of a ‘gut bug kill’ that the gut went kind of anaerobic; with sulphurous “gas” and headaches. Well, eventually I learned to eat a quart of yogurt and “ripe” cheese to get things right again…

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    Your ‘teacher’ sounds like my Dad talking about plumbing…

    At 7 years of age I was learning to “wire hot” and working on old bare wire “Knob and Tube” wiring in the attic of our house. (We were replacing it with 2 wire “Romex”… no ground wire then… or, rather, the ‘neutral’ was ground…)

    @Mark Miller:

    Well, only in the last year or so did I come to the “Dillingpole Conclusion”.

    What I do is to observe the Other Side present there case, and respond to a challenge.

    Genuine Seekers Of Truth will present the argument and listen to the complaint, then evaluate and sometimes struggle. (As I started via thinking “This Global Warming stuff is bad, I better learn about it”, I was one of them once. Took about 9 months to figure out there was something big wrong…)

    The Useful Idiots will argue from The Book. You get lots of “You just don’t now the science, go read these links” that take about a month to read and are mostly propaganda, not ‘how it works’ and certainly not “here are the loose ends”. They present NO “issues” or “loose ends”.

    The ones doing the Crafting divide into:

    1) Political True Believers. They will never see, nor admit to a problem. Dissent is to be crushed. Messengers of skepticism will be shot on sight. Ridicule and manipulation are common. The Big Lye doesn’t phase them in the slightest. So when AlGore gets slapped by the UK Court, he just ignores and presses on.

    2) The self deluded honest researcher. Usually fair. Often with a concerned overtone. They will ‘worry a point’ endlessly until you ‘get it’. Mostly just consume time to no end. For example, they may well be right on the physics of IR Transfer, so will take you through a Ph.D. level of math on photons. But ask “What about the convection and rain” and you get “It doesn’t matter, it average out”… There is hope for them, but it takes a while to get them to look at a bigger picture…

    3) The Ideologue. Usually a Rabid Green. Spends hours wailing about the poor Polar Bears and the destruction to be caused by Island Flooding. Rarely understands the actual science. Just accepts “appeal to authority” as it confirms their bias. You will never convince them as they only recognize the authority they like.

    So basically there are “new bright guys still learning” and there are “old bright guys with too narrow a focus” who will listen and may figure out that you’ve got something right and the AGW folks have it wrong. The rest are hopelessly entangled and will not change until the whole things blows up in an new L.I.A….

    I tend to manage my engagement and time budget based on an assessment of what type they are…. (BTW, while those types are named and organized above, in practice I really just “feel” the type and intuit the time to allow them. Right Brain process, translated to Left Brain language above… Why I’m a good computer programmer – the two sides ‘talk’ ;-)

    So, for folks where there is a hope of reason to convince them, I spend the time. For the ‘time sinks’ and the “bought and paid for” I think it’s best to just state your conclusions and move on. (Sometimes I phish for strategic ideas, but that’s just me). Spend more time on “ordinary folks” who are waffling or “newbies” to the warmer side. Show them the best and simplest “Here is how that side lies” (like polar bears increasing, snow in Tunisia, etc) and be patient. Took me 3 years to get a very close engineer friend to realize it wasn’t happening. (He swapped when it got cold in year 3 after I’d said in year 1 it will be cold inside 2 more years ;-) He’s very bright, but busy, and had just accepted Appeal To Authority.

    It will be much easier now with “Authority” so tarnished by ClimateGate 1&2 and FakeGate and…

    And I second R. de Haan’s point about defunding.

    We need a global and non-stop effort to shut down the money laundry.

    NO ‘gifts’ to NGOs from the Feds. NO “gifts” to the UN. NO ‘taxes’ or taxing authority to the UN.

    And lots of light. Attend local planning meetings and when someone brings up Sustainable Development point out that is a UN Driven Socialist Agenda and is neither about development nor is it sustainable anything.

    Buy copies of “Watermellons” for gifts to family and friends…

  61. Mark Miller says:


    In my neck of the woods I get a lot of the Useful Idiots and Political True Believers. I dialogue with them a little, mostly to show that their reasoning is flawed, and to share a little of what I’ve learned about it, but I stop after that. It’s mostly to show them up, not to try to educate them. They are beyond hope.

    Fortunately there are some others around here who can think and have gotten it already. Pretty good for such a progressive town. It’s been kind of funny to watch. On the one hand we have people who really and truly believe “the debate is over,” and anyone who disagrees is some political-corporatist apparatchik. Then we have others like myself who say the science isn’t settled, and say why. It’s clear from the discussions that there’s a controversy, yet one side keeps wanting to (ahem) deny it… On a few rare occasions I’ve seen guest columns written by skeptics in the local paper. What doesn’t help matters is the overwhelming number of opinion columns that get published that go the other way. So to most readers it looks like there’s a few people with a different opinion, but “the majority” is the other way.

    I have seen some of the Self Deluded Researchers on WUWT. Those discussions are at least somewhat interesting. The thing is, I usually can’t argue at the level of how much heat energy comes from a photon, and such. I’m not that into the subject. I come at it from the point of view of the scientific reasoning I was taught in Jr. high school. The AGW argument doesn’t even pass that level of analysis. It could be stated that the discussions around what this and that data say are irrelevant on the matter, because they always avoid the central point of the AGW theory. I keep going back to it: “What’s going on with the tropospheric temperature?” Most have no answer for that, or they say, “It’s too difficult to measure.” They have nothing. As Richard Lindzen said, “They don’t have an a priori case.”

    The only time I seriously considered the AGW argument, after having come to my own conclusion that there was something wrong with it, was when a newspaper columnist I had been arguing with suggested I read a book written by a scientist who had studied the issue for years. I forget the title now, but I think it was called “The Case for Global Warming,” “The Case for Climate Change,” something like that. I read it online from a physics organization. There was some science discussed in the book, but then it got into speculation. I expected the author to follow up on those points with observational evidence, but he didn’t. Instead he gathered more data which had nothing to do with his earlier speculations, and used his prior speculations as premises for further speculations, incorporating the new data, and so on. The more I read the more I felt agitated. I was kind of furious that a scientist would think that this was quality workmanship worthy of being published for public consumption. I didn’t finish reading it. I threw up my hands when the author said that the carbon cycle for the whole world was too complex to be observed (well go figure!), and so he and other scientists would have to consult computer models to figure out what was going on. I was ready to have a fit! If I could’ve had the guy right in front of me, I would’ve pointed to his first speculation in the book and said, “Look. Work on that. If you have more speculative thoughts after that, work on them, too. Forget all this other SHIT!”

    I used to accept Gingrich’s point that the UN was “a good talking place.” He said they had gotten out of hand with everything else they were doing, but he thought the UN should be preserved with a more limited role. With what I now know they have been doing, and now, given that I don’t view Gingrich’s opinion on things as highly as I used to, I say to hell with it. Get rid of the UN! If all the UN was was a “talking place,” and that was all it had the power to be, I’d be fine with it. But it has screwed up again and again. It screwed up in the Black Hawk Down incident. It screwed up its “oil for food program.” And now it’s screwing up our country by maneuvering away our property rights. Conspiracy theory is coming true right before our eyes, and a lot of people don’t seem to see it. That’s likely because of the “greenwashing.” Good distraction!

    As for planning meetings, giving the UN socialist shpeal would get me laughed out of the room. The locals would consider it name calling, not to mention a little crazy. All in all, the voters around here *like* the UN, and they like the idea of “sustainability.” Hell, they embrace it. I don’t think that comes from much knowledge, but they certainly like the idea of it. There may come a point in the future where they reject it when they actually feel its impacts. There are some who understand that we’re “climate hypocrites.” We say we want “sustainability,” but most of us here are unwilling to fully implement what that means. I point out to people sometimes that Ed Begley Jr. walks the walk, and he seems to be one of only a relatively few people in the whole country doing that. I have more respect for him than most of these people, even though I disagree with him. We have our insulated windows, CFLs, low flow toilets, a few have solar panels on their roofs, but we still have multiple cars per household, and people driving SUVs…

  62. Mark Miller says:


    Oh yeah. I’ll have to give “Watermelons” a read. I’m still working on “Radical in Chief,” by Stanley Kurtz.

  63. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “So: Who will be Our Rome? And what is the next Ottoman Culture? Have to think on that…”

    One possibility: Our Rome is already finished; England was our Rome. We (the US) are Constantinople.

  64. Larry Geiger says:

    “They want to run the world, but they can’t even get the plumbing right!” A quote for the ages! There is a lot of wisdom right there.

  65. Jason Calley says:

    Oh, and China is the Ottoman Culture this time.

  66. R. de Haan says:

    Jason Calley (14:29:46) :
    Oh, and China is the Ottoman Culture this time.

    China is sitting on huge stock of shale gas that will last for the next 200 years.

    So does the USA and so does Europe.

    No need to make war, no need to hike fuel prices, no need to make any investment in alternatives and no need for Global Governance.

    All we need to do is to get rid of the extremists currently in Government.

  67. Pascvaks says:

    Various –

    They are the problem????
    Are they really the problem, or are WE the problem since we vote for them and when they get into their new position they think their job is to tell us how to suck eggs? Is something broken here? Sniff! Sniff! Anyone else smell smoke? Are our pipes backed up for want of a little pressure on the system? Where do they get the idea that once elected their job is to dictate and start stupid programs that cost lots of money, and if they don’t they’re failing to do what they were elected to do? Do we need a prerequisite set of certification courses and exams that every wanna-be and elected official must take and pass (and pay for themselves) before being elected to office? How about judges too? And federal, state and local employees too? Hummmmm… do they do it to us (or is it WE who do it to us because we elected them and hired them to do it to us)? Who are the fools here? Hay Culligan Man!

    Has anyone else thought, while passing the time in the Loo, that perhaps we need a better way to do the daily deed (and ablute our bods)? Talking about a new device, the mechanism we have now is rather dated isn’t it? Imagine driving a vintage 1596 “Harrington“, or a slightly newer 19th Century “Crapper”, with little tweaks in efficiency every now and then, say every 20-30 years or so, in your “Necessary“. Now if you wouldn’t drive a Ford or Toyota that was that old, why would you still be flushing all that great biodegradable stuff out your home and into the nearest river with some ancient 16th or 19th Century design? The sun may make a little water as it bathes us with photons, and we do seem to have a lot of salty water since you mention it, but remember this is a rock we live on and it doesn’t have much of anything else but rock. Water is precious! Ask an Arab. Anyway, if we can make a low-grade nuclear generator/battery device to power a home, we can make good use of all that stuff were now flushing down the street to.. well, do something with. Right? As an intermediate ‘eco-fix’ couldn’t we re-use our old bath/shower/dishwash/clotheswash water to flush the commode? Now all we need is an in-home water-sanitation re-cycle system the size of a hot water heater to put in the garage or crawlspace that pipes gas to the kitchen stove and home-heating system too. The objective: every home, apartment, tipi, wikiup, lean-to, shanty-town hovel, and you-name-it, not to mention every factory, office, bank, and brokerage, needs to be totally self-contained and self-sufficient, just like the ISS. Talk about GREEN! (Hush now, don’t say a word about any of this to anyone that works for any level of government, they‘ll tell the EPA, Justice, and every nut-case “Occupier” in the country (I really think “Occupiers“ are poor folks that the Chicago Mob tells they have to do XYZ or lose their food stamps;~}

    Age Lye Soap in open air to get it to be more mild. Crisco for clean, white, hard; pass on soybean and corn oil. Gotta’ remember that. Ever wonder why we’re going to less inpatient and more outpatient surgery? One reason I know it that the Hospitals are filthy with superbugs and they develop from too much use of antiseptics and closed air systems (lots of windows but they don‘t open). We seem to be going backwards in science, as well as many other areas, don’t we? Why do people have weaker jaws and teeth than ever before? They don’t eat anything tough anymore. Nature’s trove of bugs do keep the healthy healthier and make them stronger, and those denied the exposure are weaker, sicker, or shorter lived. Civilization is a jungle. Be careful out there.

  68. adolfogiurfa says:

    “They” are not many, “they” are a few. Do not confuse butlers with masters. Identify masters.

  69. Pascvaks says:

    But you see Adolfo, that is the problem, the “They” of which I speak are the fools who elect the quality of the few chosen to lead the many. The “They” who are to blame for the failures of government are not the ‘some’ but rather the ‘many’. The weathering of rock takes time, but given time all rock weathers. (How to make new rock? Last time I looked into it, it takes a hell of a lot of heat; a real fire and brimstone factory that gets people down to their base metal. The last one we had in this country started in October 1929. No, Adolfo, I understand what you’re saying; but I’ve come to the conclusion that the worst of times fire and forge the best of people and there’s no half way, quickie, shortcut to it. People make a country. Good people with real values make a good country with real values. Weak people with no integrity make a weak country with no integrity. People change over time, they fatigue and get soft, they crumble in the face of challenge and hardship. Hard people are forged in the fire of adversity, not opulence.

  70. E.M.Smith says:


    Shortly most all significant use of energy in the production of goods will be focused in China. China that per the link above (R. de Haan – Game Changer) has enough shale gas for 200 years.

    So who will need oil to power the global manufacturing industry?…

    USA flooded with cheap shale gas too…

    Russia passing gas at an incredible rate (and mostly in the direction of the EU) ;-)

    Looks to me like China and Russia could set up some Gas To Liquids plants and tell the Middle East it was just not that interesting any more ;-)

    Ah, a ray of hope… Even if the USA it too stupid to do it, Russia and China are pretty bright about power politics. China does not want to be dependent on the Middle East for Gas, Natural Gas, and Oil, so I think this will be happening fast, there.

  71. Judy F. says:

    Just a note about Crisco for soapmaking. Crisco IS mostly soybean oil, with something else thrown in. Currently the “something else” is palm oil. Each brand of solid shortening has a different percentage of the kinds of oils it uses- I have seen palm, cottonseed and tallow used with the hydrogenated soybean. Each of those oils has a different saponification value, so the hardness of the bars can be tricky because the lye to fat ratio changes. Not much of a problem for home use, but it can be a problem if you need a consistent product to sell.

    For an easy to use Lye Calculator, I recommend the one at Majestic Mountain Sage. You can plug in ingredients and it will calculate the lye you need. http://www.thesage.com/calcs/lyecalc2.php

    My first attempts at soapmaking used the “Fresh Peach” recipe by Sandy Maine. The following website has some GREAT recipes, including Sandy Maine’s recipe, although the website is getting a little outdated. Scroll down to find the recipe.http://millersoap.com/soapallveg.html

  72. E.M.Smith says:

    The Crisco I used to use was the hydrogenated stuff, so they had hydrogenated it to a constant value. Lately they’ve been reacting to the “Hydrogenated fats are evil” discovery and trying to get more palm oil in, with less hydrogenated fats. You might find a cheaper “knock off brand” of solid shortening that is still ‘all hydrogenated all the time’….

    I think once you know what lye level to use, the product will be consistent in any case. The makers of shortening adjust each batch to have consistent characteristics, so will likely have standard levels of saturated fat and average chain length.

    I had typically used the ‘cold lye solidified fat’ (don’t know the proper name) method where you just blend the lie into the fat and let it solidify, then wait for the reaction to proceed to completion over a “long time” (couple of days to a week). Then I’d cut the bars and stack them to ‘age’. By using a bit of excess lie and aging even longer, the lye would convert to carbonate. End result was fairly consistent bars without much worry. But at the cost of a very slow process.

    I was just about ready to ‘step up’ to more complicated (and better) products with cooking and salting and such when lye came under the Evil Drug Material cloud…

    Don’t know that anything I made would ever rise to the level of ‘commercial quality’. You have my admiration for being that good at it. The basics are easy, making a consistent commercial quality product takes skill and care.

    I’ll ‘hit the links’ and see how motivated I get. I’ve got a pile of old bamboo in the back yard that isn’t going away as fast as I’d like (lazy bugs in the compost pile ;-) and might just turn them to ashes and see if I can get a decent potassium hydroxide out of them… Worst case would be that I waste some time, ashes, and old lump of lard…

    FWIW, a very refined white palm oil is available from Whole Foods as “Vegetable Shortening”. (that is, it is not the red palm NUT oil…). It’s a bit pricey, but cheaper than soap… so were I doing this again, I’d likely get it, and some real olive oil and make a correct Palm-Olive soap… It’s got to smell nicer than old Lard-N-Lye soap ;-)

  73. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: To obtain a cream out of oils you have to use emulsifiers. Perhaps the fight against “hydrogenated fats” it was against Procter&Gamble, the major producer…..just “follow the money”.
    Hydrogenated fats are obtained by a reaction of hydrogen with an oil using nickel powder as catalyzer and cycle-hexane.
    Do you think those campaigners against any industry they want to take for themselves are “worried” about our health?

  74. adolfogiurfa says:

    It´s about removing national elites from their power, in order to take the control of local societies and making possible “global governance”. That was, also, the purpose and goal of all “land reforms” everywhere.

  75. Judy F. says:

    Well, I live 125 miles from the nearest Whole Foods… I order most of my stuff in bulk and have it shipped in, although I get my olive oil from Wal-Mart. ( I am not that big of an operation) Add some coconut oil to your recipe and your soap will have more suds. I melt my oils to about 100-120 degrees and have the lye/water about the same temp. I mix it with a stick blender until it almost reaches the consistency of pudding, pour it into molds, cover it with wool blankets to keep warm, cut it after about 24 hours and then cure for about a month. It is called the cold process method. You can also make soap with beer as your “water” portion. Make sure your beer is flat or you will have major volcano problems when you add your lye. It makes an awesome soap.

  76. E.M.Smith says:

    The “fight” against hydrogenated fats came out of work done that finally disambiguated an ASSUMPTION in the prior fats vs heart attacks work.

    “Solid fats” (i.e. saturated) were tested against “liquid fats” (i.e. polyunsaturated and monounsaturated). They found lots of health problems with “solid fats” and ASSUMED it was the saturated vs unsaturated as CAUSAL.

    Nobody paid much attention to the point that TRANS-fats were lumped into saturated fats in the “solid fats” bucket…

    So generations of folks were told to not eat butter and eat “healthy” margarine instead. Margarine made with hydrogenated Trans-fat laden oils. Up to 1/3 trans fats as this gave a more butter like ‘mouth feel’…

    Time passes. Folks continue to drop like flies via heart attacks and clogged arteries… and we slowly turn into pudgy balls of fat…

    Then someone did a simple test. They made “Tri-Stearate” fats. PURE SATURATED FAT. Fed it to animals. NO impact on cholesterol… Oh Dear. Other folks tested Trans-fats. Critters started dropping like flies. Oh Dear Oh Dear…

    After about a decade of fighting for it, we got labeling on packages (still a bit bogus as 1/2 gm is equated to zero and a single gram per day is known to cause issues; so in some cases if one cookie is a serving with 1/2 gram in it; two cookies can ’cause problems’ and show up as zero on the label… so I simply NEVER BUY ANYTHING with HYDROGENATED on the label. Ever.) Eventually some awareness crept in and now more foods are hydrogenated free, but you can still buy 1/3 trans fat margarine and pastries with hydrogenated fats on the list.

    My theory is that the trans-bond is alien to fat metabolism. As the enzyme unzips the fat, making energy, it hits that discontinuity and gets stuck. Forms an inert blob. So eat trans fat, your ability to turn fat to fuel clogs up and you get hungry sooner. Fats get stored, instead of burned, and you get even hungrier… Repeat until fat simpering blob of hunger…

    It can take years to purge the stored hydrogenated fats from your body, so attempting to ‘swap back’ can take a long time. Every slip up and take in a gram of trans-fat, you are set back for a few days. Slip up once every couple of days, you don’t make progress…

    The only conspiracy is all the folks who advocated margarine et al for decades not wanting to admit they killed people, created an ‘obesity epidemic’ and have to pay for their damages; so you have to dig to find the research and NOBODY in the food regulatory industry talks about it if they can dodge the point.

    I’ve been “mostly trans fat free” for about a decade now. I’ve been known to put a tablespoon or two of fat on a shingle of toast (butter or coconut oil) and eat it. Kills the hungries for several hours. Back in the trans fat days, it would do no such thing and I’d still be hungry looking for sugars and starches to “give me some blood sugar”.

    By putting BACK into my diet the natural animal fats (Lard, chicken fat, butter) and taking out the trans fats, my weight has dropped, my energy has gone up, and my degree of hungry is very low. Today, for example, it’s mid afternoon. I’ve had a cup of tea and 2 cookies, two pieces of toast with butter. I’m thinking of having lunch, but “not that hungry”…

    (The first two years were not so easy… it took a long time to the body fat purged of trans fats… and likely there’s still some to go…)

    And that, IMHO, is the root cause of a lot of the stuff that’s wrong with the American / Modern diet. And why all the “eat only meat” and “avoid all fats possible” diets each work. Accidental avoidance of hydrogenated fats… Yes, it’s only a thesis. But one that has worked well ever time tried…

    I figure after the last guy who said “Eat More Margarine! Butter Bad!!” is dead, then the food establishment will suddenly recognize the importance of the (already published) anti-hydrogenated fats literature…

    Oh, and I buy lard from the Mexican store where they sell it without the word hydrogenated on the label. The Armour brand has some hydrogenated part to make it ‘stiffer’… just say no!

    Makes much better pastries too ;-) Though I like palm oil flavor better…

    Side Note: Fatty Acid chains shorter than about 12 are directly metabolized in the liver, not stored in body cells. For that reason, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and palm oil that are all rich in SHORT CHAIN saturated fatty acids are ‘special” (as is goats milk fat…) and much less prone to causing ‘pudge’… That’s why eating a (real, not the fake stuff with the cocobutter swapped) chocolate bar gives you a feeling of warmth and energy. It goes to the liver for immediate use… So eat your chocolate, have those eggs and bacon, daub butter on your toast, have a wonderful Italian Regiano sheep cheese or goat cheese… enjoy that Roast Chicken with the chicken fat soaking into the stuffing…. Just don’t open those commercial packages that say “Hydrogenated” on them… Works for me…

    And I don’t see it as a conspiracy, other than the “conspiracy of stupid” that didn’t sort out what was in “solid fats” at the beginning and now can’t believe it was that stupid that long…

  77. E.M.Smith says:

    Beer soap! OMG, gotta love it!

    Oddly, if you try deep fat frying in coconut oil it froths like crazy …. Wonder if the ‘frothiness’ when frying generally indicates the sudsy character? Hmmm….

    Your method is rather like the one I always used. Warm the oil just till it melts, blend until starting to set, pour into mold. Works fine. If you order bulk I’m sure you can get Palm Oil Shortening shipped. It is widely used in commercial baking as an alternative to hydrogenated shortening. Any bulk food seller that sells to “wholistic” or “organic” bakeries can probably ship in 25 lb blocks.

  78. Mark Miller says:


    Thanks so much for that exposition on hydrogenated oils! I really liked the detailed information. I first learned about this several years ago from a nurse. She said that hydrogenated oils were alien to the body. The way she put it was, “The body doesn’t know what to do with it.” I didn’t know what that meant, though it implied how it clogs up things. I was wondering, though, if it stayed in your body forever. You’ve found that the body does eventually clear it out. My mother bought the line that butter was bad for you, and only gave me margarine as a kid. I switched to non-hydrogenated buttery spreads when I got this information.

    I still hear, though, that saturated fats are alright in moderation, but you should try to avoid them, because they’re still believed to clog arteries, and that unsaturated fats, like olive oil, are much better for the body. What’s your take on that? Does it matter?

  79. E.M.Smith says:

    It doesn’t require much of an opinion… lab work was done.

    Stearic Acid is a long chain saturated fat. It is comes from cows (and many other animals). It is about as ‘stereo typically scarey’ as you can get. 18 carbons long.


    Artificial fat was made that was 100% stearic acids on a glycerin backbone ( a ‘tri-glyceride’ of all stearic fatty acids). That made sure there was no problem with the generally mixed fatty acid types confusing the test. (Lard is remarkably high in unsaturated fatty acids, for example).

    Feedings were done with:


    Poly-unsaturate fats.

    Mono-unsaturated fats.


    For Mono-unsaturated, there was a modest improvement in cholesterol levels.
    For Poly-unsaturated there was a slightly higher improvement for cholesterol levels.
    Tri Steate had NO effect good or bad on cholesterol levels.
    Transfats had a bad effect on cholesterol levels.

    The conclusion was that trans fats are to be avoided, mono and poly unsaturated fats can help a little, and saturated fats were irrelevant. But dogma being what it is, nobody could bring themselves to abandon it…

    Also note that carbon chains under about 12 long are metabolized differently (directly in the liver, not stored as fats in the body) so some “traditionally in the west” disparaged plants fats (as they had ‘saturated fats’) are now enjoying a Renaissance with foodies. Never mind that the tropical islanders who ate palm oil and coconut oil for generations had great health… no, we destroyed their exports for a generation in favor of 22 carbon long trans-fats…

    So “cocoa butter”, coconut oil, and palm oil are all likely to be better for you than the others; but little direct testing has been done. ( My ‘health food nut’ neighbors ate gobs of coconut oil and were startlingly fit… I’ve had it slathered on bread instead of butter and with a touch of salt it’s pretty good. BTW, the shortest chain fatty acid common in foods is the 4 carbon long Butyric found in butter…


    We use almost exclusively butter, coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, and sporadically some safflower oil for deep frying. Oh, and I’ve got a tub of lard I use for pastries… and have no qualms at all about eating bacon and eggs with bacon grease soaked into the buttered toast.

    My father ate a traditional Amish diet on the Iowa farm. ( LOADED with lard and cheeses. We’re talking things like a stack of alternating pancakes, bacon, eggs fried in bacon grease, cheese, butter, more pancakes, more bacon, more…) He started smoking unfiltered Camel cigarettes at 17 when he enlisted in the army for W.W.II. About 40 years later he got lung cancer (not too bad when you figure 30 years exposure is the norm for cancer). At autopsy his heart and arteries were relatively clear. He REFUSED to eat margarine and we had butter and bacon…

    So, like it or not, he and I are both “existence proofs” of the idea that saturated NATURAL animal fats are not evil, that cholesterol from eggs is not a problem ( I try to have 2 scrambled with a tablespoon of butter every morning) and that TransFats are the evil thing…

    Oh, and this also explains the “paradoxes” of the Eskimo eating pounds of blubber, the French eating butter and olive oil by the pound, and the Pacific Islanders living on buckets of coconut and palm oil… Also that the Indians Vedic traditions hold that Clarified Butter (Ghee) is the key to longevity…

    One side bar:

    Polyunsaturated fats come in two major types. Omega-6 and Omega-3. (The “omega” is the furthest end carbon from the hydroxyl end – so an omega-3 has the unsaturating bond 3 spaces in from the end). There is an ideal ratio of one to the other. If you use a lot of Omega-6, like corn or soybean oils, you get too much. Too much 6 vs 3 and various inflammation processes are too fast. ( Folks tend to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and such). Mono-unsaturated fats and saturated fats are neutral in that regard. So you can get a much better Omega-3 to 6 ratio by substituting saturates for O-6 and adding some more O=3 to the diet…

    One final point:

    Poly unsaturated bonds are prone to much easier oxidation with heat. This can form a variety of ‘icky things’ from poor flavor on up to acrylomides that are cancer inducing… So it is MUCH better to deep fry in a mono-unsaturated fat or in a saturated fat, at least in terms of the carcinogen and free radical production… (Something rarely mentioned on the Hype pushing polyunsaturated oils…) Also, heating can turn some normal polyunsaturated bonds into Trans-bonds. It’s just not a good idea to fry foods in polyunsaturated oils…

    At any rate, a quick web search on “mono-unsaturated oils” will give you some choices pretty quick. Palm oil is a hard shortening like lard, but great for vegetarians and with a neutral flavor (it fries chicken really really well ;-) and makes great biscuits ) while coconut is a bit expensive and has a clear coconut fragrance. You can also find mono-unsaturated Safflower oil with a bit of looking and it cooks like olive oil without the distinctive flavor.

    Oh heck, another ‘last’ final point ;-)

    There is a tiny amount of a special kind of ‘trans fat’ that is technically called a ‘conjugated bond” fatty acid. These are found in dairy products in modest amounts. I hesitate to call them ‘trans’ fats as that confounds them with the evil trans fats… but your body is fine with them. ( If found some papers that showed conjugated fats were even healthier than others; but it is an ongoing research area, or was…, and folks are not ready to admit “butter good”… even though one of the ‘hot spots’ for longevity was a place in Italy that ate huge blocks of Parmigiano Reggiano ( a sheeps milk cheese – sheep and goats have short chain fatty acids and more conjugate forms IIRC) so a load of researchers ran off to find out why these folks eating blocks of sheep cheese were living to 120 and running around the mountains chasing goats at 100+…


    It seems that you can metabolize some small amount of trans fats per day. I’d guess a fraction of a gram. Perhaps due to some natural enzyme from handling the very small levels of conjugated bond fats in milk. Perhaps just from that level of enzyme ‘clog and recycle’ being OK. But in any case, a fractional gram a day seems to not cause much issue.

    Now, if you have, say, 10 kg of excess body fat, and it is 10% trans fat, that’s 1 kg. At a generous 1 gm a day, that’s 1000 days… Now not all body fat has to be purged to get the blood level down (what’s stuck in storage can just sit there…) to where fat metabolism seems to make for more ‘feel full’ and less ‘still hungry’… OTOH, if it’s only 5 kg and 1%, well, thats a whole lot faster ;-)

    So it’s not like this stuff just moves in and sets up to concrete. It’s more like you can handle it in fractional grams loads, but 1/4 lb a day just gums up the works… Out of design spec….

    Short form:

    Fry in saturated fats where possible.
    Shorter chains are better (Palm, coconut, cocoa butter, butter)
    Mono unsaturated works well too (olive some safflower) but not for very long or very hot frying, great in salad dressing and mayo ;-)
    Use polyunsaturated fats for cold things (more salad dressing, mayo, etc.)
    Eggs are your friends.
    Eat like a Frenchman ;-) and develop a fondness for Italian sheep and goat milk cheeses…

  80. Verity Jones says:

    Thanks for the really good summary – I must take a closer look at oils and try to get some palm oil for frying. We mostly use sunflower or olive at the moment.
    A while back I investigated linseed as a dietary supplement and began to take crushed seeds daiily as part of a recovery plan from ill health. Its oil content of 35% is high (58%) in the Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid(C18:2(n-3)) as well as O-6 and O-9. At the time (20 years ago) most of the ‘literature’ came from alternative medicine, but now there are plenty of scientific studies to showing benefits – e.g. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/flaxseed-000244.htm
    Not suitable fore heating though as it oxidises too readily.

  81. E.M.Smith says:


    On this side of the pond there is a peculiar shift of the language. Flax is the seed and linseed is almost universally used on paint cans. Don’t know why… “Lin”oleum, is made from linseed oil precisely due to that high tendency to oxidize and cross-polymerize.

    Drove me nuts for a while as a kid, until I figured out that Flaxseed and Linseed were the same thing… Dad would talk about linseed oil varnish or paint, and then we had flaxseed in bread… (Roman Meal brand). Didn’t have the internet then and it took a while to look things up at the library ;-)

    I have a small jug of “Flaxseed oil” in the fridge. Makes a decent salad dressing ;-)

  82. Mark Miller says:


    That’s great information. I went to France 13 years ago. The food was GREAT! You couldn’t go wrong anywhere you went. There was a lot of eggs and butter. I noted though that everyone I saw looked fit and thin. I wondered what it was. There were more promenades, lots of space for walking, and it seemed a lot of people did that to get from place to place. I wondered if the diet + the exercise was what was doing it.

    Diverting off of the subject of oils, but going deeper into the question, “What tends to cause fattiness,” I’ve gotten dribs and drabs of information on this. My simplistic knowledge is sugars tend to contribute to fattiness, because of the body’s use of insulin to metabolize them. My fuzzy memory is that insulin acts as a hormone, triggering the body to store more fat. The body uses other enzyme(s) for starches (like amylase), which converts them to sugars. So that adds to the mix. My memory also recalls, though, that carbohydrates are what get burned off the quickest. They provide a quick burst of energy, but they peter out quickly. They’re like kindling for a fire.

    My sense has been that the reason you see people who can be obese, yet poor and malnourished, is that they’re eating mainly carbohydrates (mainly simple ones at that), because they’re cheap to get. Protein-rich foods are more expensive.

    The rule of thumb I’ve always heard is that to lose weight you need to “burn off more calories than you consume.” It seems to me there’s more to it than that. I’ve read recently recommendations that one consume a certain amount of calories per day as part of an exercise program. The idea being that in order to burn fat, you need to raise the metabolism of the body, and to do that you need some minimal level of fuel.

    What does science say about this subject?

  83. E.M.Smith says:

    @Mark Miller:

    It’s a very complex topic and would take a few books to cover. None of it is simple. Most of what is said is garbage anyway.

    For example:

    I’ve been at my lowest weight when doing nothing and eating all I wanted. Doesn’t fit any of the theories commonly published. ( I was in a NASA program and living in a one room barracks. Nothing to do but eat and read or watch TV. Bedrest does not make you hungry, so appetite dropped way down. I dropped to 156 lbs from about 210. All you can eat, doing NOTHING. Lousy muscle tone, though…

    I went up from 200 to 215 when I started doing Karate 3 x a week. Up to 100 situps of different kinds just during the daily warm up…. Eventually stabilized about 210 lbs. Muscle is heavier than fat…

    Ate nothing but meat for a few months (a friend on a ‘crazy diet’ wanted moral support). Lost about 5 lbs but really wanted a stack of pancakes…. and some beans… and a baked potato…

    Ate nothing but vegetables for several months (as the family decided THEY wanted to be vegetarians). Lost about 5 pounds, but really wanted a roast chicken….

    I think both of the last two were more from boredom causing lower intake than anything else.

    There is a ‘set point’ to weight. For me it’s about 205 to 210 lbs. I can move about 10 lbs either side of that with some significant effort, then I hit a wall.

    The only exception has been a ‘bed rest’ regime; sometimes with fever and severe illness (a technique I’d not recommend…). Even then, about 2 months later I’m back to ‘normal’.

    All of that is why I think the “obesity epidemic” is garbage science. We are a largely Germanic population. Our genetics lean toward “large”. For some folks, I suspect a transfat blockage of fat metabolism adds an issue. For some others, perhaps a large sugar load could be an issue (fructose is metabolized TO fat in the liver, so our “high fructose” diet is a bad idea). Beyond that, I don’t think it matters much.

    So I avoid “hydrogenated” and “high fructose” anythings, and eat all I want of animal and plant products (manufactures mystery mixes not so much) and generally stay about the same weight with a modest set of “love handles” and that’s just the way it is… And has been my whole life… other than the ‘bed rest’ times of great weight and muscle loss…

    And I pretty much ignore all the stuff written about diet and metabolism as from what I’ve personally observed, it’s mostly garbage. Throughout my life, the slim and petite folks have stayed that way even if gorging on ice cream and cake; the large and rotund folks stay large and rotund eating about the same amount as the slimmer ones. There are a few rotund folks who get that way from incessant snacking that doesn’t show at the community table, and some slim folks who pick at salads to stay that way; but mostly you just are what you are.

    My Mechanic is about 1.5 x my mass and only about one or two inches taller. He also has arms the size of my legs and can lift small cars… A Czech / German mix, he is not someone you would want to meet in a dark alley when grumpy… He spends all day doing very heavy work, but on an “obesity” scale would be called “obese”. He isn’t. He’s almost all muscle and bone. Does tennis and rides bikes too. Could likely march 10 x as far as I could, while carrying me on his back…

    My niece is about 4 inches shorter than me. I’d put her about 1/2 my mass. (About 109 I’d guess). Very slim. Very flexible. She would rank somewhere near ideal on the “obesity scale”. She also has fragile bones, has had spinal / skeletal problems, can’t carry much, and is likely to have joint problems soon (as has her mother). I doubt if she could walk 4 miles with a lunch bag. But she would be praised for her slim nature. Oh, and she has a metabolic issue that limits the kinds of foods she can tolerate…

    My point? BOTH of those folks can “eat all they want”, and with very dramatically different results. Neither of them can move their weight much at all via diet. I don’t see any reason to fight that kind of system…

    So eat natural healthy foods, and forget about it… Skip the plastic foods in plastic packages, though, as you don’t have several million years of evolution to cope with the industrial chemical components… ( So I’ll eat potato chips from a bag as they are spuds salt and oil, but not the foamed plastic cupcake with a 2 page list of 20 syllable synthetic parts…)

    So I’d turn your paradigm around. Don’t throttle the eating to control the weight, change the stuff you eat and the body will self regulate the hunger and consumption… I’ll roast a chicken and have baked potato and peas. All I want. I end up eating just enough to stay my set point… Unless I’m spending most of my time ‘doing nothing’, then I’ll not be hungry and eat about 1/2 as much, or sometimes even skip the meal… But if I’m eating trans fat laden cookies and have a tub of ice cream in the fridge: About 1/2 pound of cookies into it I am just getting way more hungry. I’ll be lucky to not polish off the whole box of cookies and the tub of ice cream… So it’s not the butter or starch in the potato. Heck, I’ve even been known to have a bowl of rice with milk, sugar – a couple of tablespoons – and butter on it. Hungry is gone for hours after. So it’s not even the sugar and starches. It’s “something else”. For me, I’m pretty sure it’s transfats that induce hungry feelings.

    BTW, IIRC, to burn a gram of fat you need to have something like a gram of sugar too. (The way the metabolic cycle runs the two are blended in the process). If you are shy on sugars or starches, the body converts proteins to the sugars it needs (thus the all meat diet…). But that isn’t very efficient, so the best way to “burn fat” is to have some sugars and starches in the diet, just not enough for the total calorie burn of the day…

    Oh, one other point: The classical style of meal had a soup and salad course. If you are really worried, go back to that. Often by the time I’m done with soup and salad I’m just not very hungry… Home made soup, btw. Rich and almost stew like in some cases… I suppose the canned stuff is OK too, but I can turn pan of chicken drippings and bones into a lot of soup ;-)

    Hope that ramble helps… And, as always, your body is uniquely yours, so you need to figure out what works for it. My metabolism may be quite different… so what I’ve said is about how I work…

  84. Mark Miller says:


    Thanks much for the info. It’s interesting you mention consumption of chemicals. I remember Suzanne Somers saying, just in passing, that “chemicals (in food) make you fat.” I don’t know if she was on to something.

    I eat the natural stuff most of the time. I don’t find that I sacrifice anything in doing that. I like being able to understand what I’m eating.

    I have been worried a bit about my weight for a while, mostly in terms of being comfortable “in” my body. I find that I’m not able to do some of the things I used to do because some parts of my body have gotten bigger, and get in the way of my range of motion, in some situations, or the kinds of positions I can comfortably get into. One thing I have been bad about is not getting as much exercise as my body probably needs. My natural inclination is to sit a lot, because I enjoy reading, discussing, and trying things out (programming). If I haven’t gotten out to exercise in a while, there comes a point when my body feels antsy, and just wants to move. I used to just listen to that, and go out when I got “cabin fever.” Lately I’ve been making an effort to walk a few hours a week, weather permitting, which avoids that “closed in” feeling.

    I guess another basic question I have is, I know exercise is good for the body, but *why* is it good? What does it do for the body beyond maintain muscle mass? I understand it’s good for the heart, but I don’t have a clue why.

  85. Ralph B says:

    Amazing how a post about showers can run the gamut of interesting topics.
    One thing I wanted to touch on several comments up was immunity. I just finished reading about Peter The Great and was amazed how high the infant mortality was among even the wealthy back then. I would say survival of the fittest was more the case than building immunity. Even through Victorian times illnesses which are hardly seen (in developed countries) today killed millions. Look at what typhoid and cholera did. Knowledge of sanitation and microbes has been a huge boost for our well being. Yeah we still get bouts of e-coli now and again but the scale is tiny compared to not too many years ago.
    I am all for playing in the dirt, swimming in the various water holes. Never thought twice about drinking from the garden hose. But I cook the crap out of my hamburger, steak I like pink in the middle. A couple minor precautions is about all I take and I regularly travel to some primitive areas. Montezuma will greet me now and again but I don’t think anyone can hide from him.
    The people who get sick easily today are probably the ones that would not have made it back then. Sounds kind of cold but it makes me more thankful for modern medicine.

  86. Pascvaks says:

    As the wife and I got older, and more sedentary, we gradually cut back on quantity. Today we’re pretty much one “meal” a day types. When we go out to eat we continue to marvel at how big the portions are, our tummies just can’t put it away, we’ve shrunk. Portions at eat-outs (other than the FAST Joints) are far bigger than folks need, really. What “The World” (aka the USA) needs is Kid/Senior portions and Normal and Huge protions for the rest. The ones that ‘can’ sock in away usually shouldn’t, and the ones that can’t are wasteing an awful lot of food and leaving it on the table. Oh yes… Red Lobster has this queer, ugly, cabbage-family green, that they use as an art deco garnish on their plates, anyone know what that damn thing is?;~)

    Don’t know that we could improve on the old testament prohabitions with all that we have learned about bio-chemistry, sanitation, etc., but it would be interesting to see if anyone has a similar list of things to stay away from. I have a feeling that the old-list is pretty inclusive and there’s little to add. May need to be modified with a map of geographic area codes, ie: in are VI pork is ok if you do this…etc., etc., and etc., etc. As has been noted before, they sure had a lot of good info strewn in and amongst all their ‘wars’ and ‘knowings’ of hims and hers. Where DID they get all that knowledge? That’s the mystery!

  87. E.M.Smith says:

    @Mark Miller:

    Enzyme systems work based on the shape of the molecule. Some chemicals can bind with the active sites (if they have that shape) or they can change the shape of the enzyme, making it function differently.

    When I was a kid, the “German Optimism” was dominant in food chemistry. I distinctly remember some Authority With German Accent talking about the “Perfect” metabolism and how foods were precisely broken down in digestion and then the parts remade into whatever the body needed. That things that were not needed would simply ‘pass through’ and do nothing in the process.

    Since then we’ve found out that is not true. For some chemicals it is, but for large classes of them it is not. So we found a bunch that screw up the cell replication. They can cause cancer or birth defects (among other things). We’ve recently found another class of ‘hormone analogs’ that act like hormones but are not. (Bis-phonol-A and the pseudo-Estrogens… that stuff in plastic liners of cans that causes all sorts of problems…. )

    My thesis is just that “there are more things to be discovered”.

    Between the “early days” and the “Oh Dear” of now, there were thousands of chemicals put into our food, water, soil, air, whatever. As an “expedient”, these were largely “grandfathered” into the acceptable category for a few decades… Only now are folks going back to actually test them…

    So I’m not particularly rabid on being “anti-chemical” ( I drink commercial coffee, have canned vegetables about 1/2 the time and don’t worry, eat at McDonalds some times when on the road, etc.) but I just put a ‘bias’ toward things “found in nature”. I figure a few billion years of evolution to deal with them is likely a reasonable endorsement…

    With that said, the tag “Natural” does not mean “Healthy”. Green potato skins mean the spud has higher levels of solanine in it – a toxin that is not good. Hemlock is “natural”. Queen Anns Lace looks just like a wild carrot unless you know just what detail on the leaf to look for, and it will kill you. Poison Oak / Ivy has spent those millions of years finding ways to “mess up” herbivores. Etc.

    So I tend to stick with “generally proven and natural” foods most of the time. But realize that life is full of things that are trying to kill you and no one gets out of life alive; so don’t fret the small stuff.

    Back to chemicals in food:

    So we’ve got a huge bundle of GRAS (Generally Accepted As Safe) but untested chemicals that are all over the place in foods. We have no idea what they do to enzyme systems. But the historical use implies there isn’t likely anything obviously bad. (Though the pseudo-Estrogens kind of says that’s a bad assumption…)

    IMHO, trans fats plug up the fat metabolism leaving you hungry, with blood sugar issues (as it is then driven largely by starch and sugar without a ‘fat to blood sugar’ buffer under it) and generally screws things up.

    The pseudo-Estrogens look like they promote breast cancer (and may be part of the early onset of puberty seen in western countries, where it’s moved down from about 16 to around 11 for girls). It may also enter into the lowering sperm counts in males and one could even speculate about the increase in male homosexuality (but the data to answer that is lacking).

    Are there OTHER chemicals that would interfere with OTHER enzyme systems? Quite certainly. As things are ‘shape dependent’, all sorts of things with given shapes will screw up different things; and we’ve made so many small molecules with all sorts of shapes that the odds are just quite high. Do they matter? Not in a gross way (as those showed up early as obviously ‘bad’ effects or as ‘good’ effects when called a ‘drug’…) but perhaps in more subtle ways (due to GRAS). Prudence would say “reduce the exposure” and reason says “but don’t be paranoid about it”.

    And remember at all times that YOU are unique. So some folks have sensitivities that others do not have.

    MOST folks can eat Aspartame and it just tastes sweet. Folks with a particular enzyme difference (called PKU Phenyl Keton Uria) can have dramatic health impacts.

    For me, it “blocks up my sweet sensors”, so if I drink an Aspartame sweetened beverage, it tastes sweet, but THEN everything else ‘tastes off’. Sugar no longer tastes sweet. The sensors have Aspartame bound to them and the sugar can’t bind… It takes about 1/2 a day for the stuff to ‘wear off’ the tongue and taste to become normal again. ( I have no idea if that is “my unique reaction” or “my unique awareness”… ) So I avoid Aspartame at all times.

    I’m pretty sure there are many similar ‘individual idiosyncrasies’ for each of the tens of thousands of approved and GRAS chemicals (and to natural things as well… My son will break out in pimples if he eats Peanut Oil or Peanut Butter. Something about the particular fatty acids in Peanut Oil causes his skin to make pimples. Other oils – no problem. And it’s not a ‘peanut allergy’. He was eating peanuts and peanut butter for years before we figured it out…)

    So best I can say is: Start with a narrow diet (‘elimination diet’) for about 2 weeks to let the metabolism settle back to the base state. (For me, I did ‘chicken and potatoes’). Then add things, one or a few at a time, and wait 2 weeks. (It takes about a week for enzyme systems to adjust and then a bit longer to notice the effects). When something ‘bad’ happens, back off to the prior set. IF the bad thing goes away, you likely have an odd reaction to something in the ‘last set’ tested. (For me, it was “cow stuff” that gave me arthritis. For the spouse, tomato stuff gives her arthritis. We’ve since tested both many times and any ‘putting them back in the diet’ has consequences in ‘about 2 weeks’… So I eat a steak once ever several weeks, and don’t give the body enough time and exposure to react to the steak ;-) This method generalizes for any food you want to ‘test’.

    On Exercise:

    Two obvious bits: 1) Vit D 2) Growth Hormone

    Just being outside you end up with higher Vitamin D levels. This has a lot of benefits from direct higher ‘good feeling’ (i.e. eliminating Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms) along with a host of impacts on various enzyme systems. Are there any OTHER systems like that, where we’ve not figure out how UV matters? Perhaps…

    When you exercise, muscles are damaged. They make Human Growth Hormone to stimulate repair. Bodies are not “perfect” as the German Optimist view held. They are, in fact, far more sloppy and with “good enough” solutions. (One is the way that Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are both turned into other important chemicals in the body by the same enzyme. The balance between too much inflammation ‘stuff’ from O-6 or lower inflation from O-3 depends entirely on diet as, for all our evolution, it was ‘good enough’. We now eat way too much Omega-6 and so have an “epidemic of inflammatory disease”… Not a perfect system at all, just one tuned to how folks ate 5 million years ago…) A similar thing happens with Growth Hormone.

    It doesn’t stay in the muscles. Some just soaks into the blood and floats around. Turns out, “That matters”. The rest of the body is ‘tuned’ to expect that growth hormone level to do the various normal repairs that IT needs. If we lay around doing nothing, they don’t get enough growth hormone and don’t repair enough. Eventually defects accumulate and something quits working so well… So start having that ‘lactic acid burn’ from working out, not only do you get more muscle mass (and less fat) but you also get better repair of other body parts as the growth hormone level generally rises a bit.

    Are there other, similar, things of which we do not know? I would expect so, simply because we don’t know how all these systems work (and thus certainly don’t know how they interact). But we do know that we are evolutionarily ‘tuned’ to a much more active life process of contending outdoors in the wild… (One other example: Being scared and then overcoming it raises testosterone levels. It’s fairly common knowledge among folks who jump out of airplanes that the “rush” leads to a few days of, er, “more passion”… So guys who are “adrenalin junkies” are just more in touch with an ancient past… Want to be more “macho”? Then just start being more Macho and the hormones shift… ) How many more such effects are there? Who knows…

    But at this point we have at least THREE major control systems of the body that get shifted by outdoors activity. The VIt D system, the Growth Hormone system, and the sex hormone systems. That alone is enough to have dramatic effects. Lots of runners, for example, talk about the “Runners High”…

    Basically, we don’t really need to know “how and why” as long as we know “that it is”… and “that it is” is very well attested. (And we do have a few clues about some of the how’s and why’s…)

  88. E.M.Smith says:


    Yes, tis a mystery how they got to have so much ‘good stuff’ (scattered through some ‘odd bits’ ;-)

    Per portion sizes: Most places I eat have both senior and kids portions available or have a variety of sizes. You can order a very small hamburger and not much else at MacDonalds if you wish. When I was a “20 something” AND when I was doing physical labor, I could pack away 5000 Calories a day and still not gain weight. Forcing the “me” then to buy 2 meals to get enough to eat because the “me” now doesn’t want to order from the Senior Menu doesn’t make a lot of sense… And many places (like Red Lobster) have 1/2 portions available and / or you can get the “lunch” portion at dinner just by asking (usually about a 1/2 size).

    So are ‘default portions’ too large? It depends on which part of the population you ask…

    Does it need ‘fixing’? Only if you want to force the growing and 20 to 30 somethings to order two dinners to get a dinner… Otherwise just ask for a ‘to go box’ for the 1/2 you don’t finish and have it for lunch tomorrow… It’s what my spouse does. ( I usually finish mine…) Or order from the senior or lunch menus…

    Short form: Keep your mitts off my King Size Burger King Meal “go large” option… When I’ve been working in the garden all day, it is “just right”! Other days I order the small size…

    @Ralph B:

    Some is genetic, some environmental. I’m as susceptible to such bugs as trichonosis as anyone. The bug is winning the evolutionary war are it is best to just cook meat to 160 F or so (i.e. just turning gray). At the same time, my ancestors survived the Black Death that killed of about 1/2 the population of Europe ( a couple of times…). A particular genetic marker has been found that gives better resistance to Plague (and, accidentally? to AIDS) in those European populations. So that’s why Native Americans were nearly wiped out by European diseases (and why AIDS is moving fast through sub-Saharan Africa where little ‘plague selection’ had happened).

    So are we “superior” to past humans?

    No. Just different.

    It’s an evolutionary ‘race condition’ between us and the bugs. The bugs will change, and then something else will be “superior”… for a little while…

    One example:

    I have a strong tendency to allergies. All sorts of things make me sneezy drippy and itchy. That is because I have an imunoglobulin other folks don’t have. Each imunoglobulin (abbreviated IG ) has a letter label. Like IG-A, IG-B, etc. I have IG-E while folks who do not have ‘allergy problems’ do not have IG-E. What does IG-E do? It’s sort of the “hair trigger crazy gunman” of the immunity wild west. It goes off ‘really fast’ when something it got grumpy at before, shows up again. Most immunity takes a week or so to ‘get rolling’. So you get a cold and it takes a week to kick up the IG-A, B, C, D to take it out. I inhale some ragweed dust and my IG-E is kicking loose histamine and doing the whole inflammation reaction in minutes. Big fast response.

    Why? Because of parasites. It takes a prolonged exposure over months to years or sometimes decades to get the IG-E system ‘interested’ in some ‘always around but not quite me’ proteins. But once it DOES, it becomes a Very Grumpy Gunslinger with an itch trigger finger. Prior to IG-E a bunch of parasites found they could hide from the other immune bits. IG-E shifts the game. I am more resistant to things like the Malaria parasite than those who do not have IG-E. But at a cost. My immune system is more prone to making a mistake of assuming that acacia pollen is really some unknown parasite… after all, it has been in the nose each of the last dozen years… time to go ballistic and kill it before it gets a foothold in the body…

    So is that a “feature” or a “defect”? Depends on your level of exposure to environmental parasites… Through the middle ages in Europe, it was a great feature. Now that we have a generally clean food supply and modern medical treatments for parasites, it’s mostly just a PITA. We’ve adjusted to ‘the bugs’ in a new way and obsoleted IG-E. Now it’s the bugs turn to change…

    So what is our heritage from those times when 8 of 10 kids died, even in the Aristocracy? Some improvements in our antibody and cell surface markers, some enhanced immune system parts, and allergies… So I could go swimming in crappy stagnant water and avoid MOST of the bugs (other than when the sludge got squirted up the nose). But would end up sneezy for weeks in spring… I guess it’s an improvement ;-)

    The one in 10 or even 2 in 10 of folks who have immunity to AIDS will likely become a majority eventually. Ether that, or the AIDS virus will mutate to a new form that doesn’t need that particular binding site on the cell surface. Again, it’s a race condition…

  89. Mark Miller says:


    Again, thanks much for the info.!

    I used to be able to drink diet sodas. I thought they were better for me than the sugary stuff. I was fine with them for years. Then a couple years ago I tried drinking a diet soda a couple times, and each time I felt like I had a jackhammer running inside my body. I’d get physically jittery, and I developed a shorter fuse. I’d get annoyed very easily, at just about anything, and I became more aggressive. At first I thought this was a combination of the soda and exhaustion. I was going through a lot at the time. But even when I tried it when I was more relaxed, the same thing would happen. It was pretty easy to tell it was from the soda, as the effect would come over me within an hour. I figured something must’ve changed with age. I hardly drink soda anymore, but I will NOT drink diet soda ever again! I never liked the idea of Aspertame in other stuff. Occasionally I’d see it in the ingredient list of some desert, get grossed out, and put it back.

    Re. Vit. D

    I’ve been hearing that’s a concern for people where I live, in CO., because of our latitude. I was made aware of this by my dental hygienist. She said Vit. D deficiency can lead to bleeding gums. I’ve heard various things about this from we need supplementation at all times, because we don’t get enough sun here, to we do get enough sun, but only from spring through fall, so we need supplementation during the winter. I did some research on foods that contain Vit. D, and I eat some things on the list fairly regularly. The next question on my mind is, “Is that enough?” Is there enough Vit. D in what I eat, or do I need more? I’ve heard there’s a special blood test I can get to test my Vit. D levels. Maybe I’ll need to check that out.

  90. E.M.Smith says:

    Per Vit D:

    I’ve learned way more about this than I ever wanted to know… The spouse has a mild form of S.A.D. She’s had loads of Vit D tests.

    Turns out that there are several “Vitamin D”s, not just one… and the kind in pills does not fix her ‘issues’. (It takes some metabolic step that she doesn’t do, or doesn’t do the same way as others). So, taking pills doesn’t help her.

    A different form of Vit D is made in the skin by UV light. THAT form works for her, quite nicely.

    After a couple of years trying to figure out how to get sun by walking under winter clouds…

    We bought a “Lizard Lamp” at the pet store… Seems that Lizards need a fairly large amount of UV or they get sick and die… food or no food with Vit-D in it. (So now some of us are kidded about our lizard metabolism ;-) This has been a GREAT solution for her. 10 minutes a day and she is FINE. (At about 2 feet, I get a light ‘sunburn’ in 20 minutes. Yes, I tested ‘dose’ on me prior to letting her under it… Just can’t let someone else do something unless I’ve done it to myself first… that protective instinct….)

    So, what does one need? About 20 minutes of good sun on the face, if you have white skin. Up to a couple of hours (or more total skin exposed) if darker. Under cloudy sky? Heck, it can take all day to get enough UV. (Thus, the Lizard Lamp… )

    Realize that this solution is NOT approved for human consumption and is FULL of risks. The exact UV spectral balance is matched to lizards, not humans, and might well cause skin cancer. As we’re both “50 somethings” the added marginal risk of “lifetime exposure” is pretty small – since there isn’t very much duration left most likely… So she decided it was an OK tradeoff for her – as oral supplements didn’t cut it; her blood tests confirmed that she need the UV derived form. On my “to do” list is to find a less ‘risky’ more human approved UV source… As it stands now, she has a very good result and feels much better with several ‘ills’ reduced including some bone issues. I’m the only one ‘fretting’ about the quality of UV and risks… but “it’s what I do”…

    So, short form: Get the blood test, it’s the only real answer. It’s widely available. Try supplements. If they don’t work, you are one of the few more rare cases, but there are still solutions if you are willing to take some added risks. You might want to try a subscription to a ‘tanning salon’ as they are human approved (then again, even they have been shown to increase skin cancer risks… just not by much.) As the body stores Vit D for a while (oil soluble) you might find that just taking more sun when it IS out is ‘enough’… It seems to work for me.

  91. Mark Miller says:

    Following up on our earlier discussion about how to discuss the issue of AGW with those who believe in it, I have an experience to share, since (I dunno) it may have been a bit of a breakthrough. I got into a group discussion about the topic, once again. I stated my case that the issue of whether human activity was causing it was muddy at best, from what I had seen looking at scientific reports. The people I had seen, who were discussing it in a way that I could identify as scientific were all saying that they either rejected the theory outright, or had reservations about it. I also got into discussing an argument I had with a local newspaper columnist about the issue, that he kept pressing me to show him evidence that AGW was *not* happening. I said, “I told him it’s not up to science to show what’s not happening, but rather what *is* happening.” Someone else jumped in and said it absolutely is a part of science to show what’s not happening. I wanted to keep the argument simple, since I figured the participants were not up for discussing the subtleties of scientific perception. I responded that, “What’s not happening,” comes by implication, as a result of showing evidence of what is likely happening. Science can never absolutely say, “This is not happening,” because in science there is always an unknown. I got into “standards of evidence,” and that different people view this differently, that Carl Sagan talked about this using a psychiatrist who was a friend of his as an example, talking about people who believed they were abducted by aliens. His friend thought that his patients had a genuine abduction experience. Sagan believed otherwise, that they may have genuinely believed the experience was real, but that doesn’t mean it was. This other guy in the discussion we were having talked about what seemed plainly obvious to him, and implied I was obfuscating the issue: What Sagan was talking about was “belief in the absence of evidence.” This is different. What the guy you were arguing with was asking you for was evidence that contradicted the generally accepted model. I said, “That’s the problem,” and I went through what I had reviewed of the evidence (in summary). I said, “I have not seen this model you claim is generally accepted.” That seemed to shut him up, which was a first. I don’t know what he was thinking, but my sense of it was he had stumbled into an unfounded assumption (the “consensus”), that there is a model that has been validated by evidence and is generally accepted. I was asking, “Okay, where is this model?” Perhaps he thought to himself, “Oh shit!” Either that, or else he threw up his hands and just said to himself, “He doesn’t get it.”

    I used to try the tack of, “Make your case that AGW is real,” and every time the other side took that as an invitation to “tell me a story,” which was not what I was looking for. I wanted to see the model and the evidence. Here we actually got to a nub of the issue!

    What I most often see in these discussions is argument from authority, that little ‘ole me can’t stand up against “the majority of scientists” who think this is true. So no matter what I say, they always come back to that. What perhaps made this discussion work out was that we were actually able to discuss something not from authority, but from scientific reasoning, to get to an actual issue in the science: a model. Once people in a discussion on this can get to that threshold, then I think a crucial problem becomes apparent in the whole AGW thesis. The rub is in order for this to happen the people involved need to have some understanding of what science is about. I think in a lot of cases this is not true, even though people in these discussions will claim (I just have to take their word for it) they were trained in science in school. Even so, this can be a pretty empty claim. Richard Feynman lamented that even students who trained with him didn’t necessarily get what science was about, largely due to the way that most scientists trained their students. The science faculty’s priorities and budgets didn’t allow for it to sink in that well.

  92. Mark Miller says:

    Quoting myself:

    The only time I seriously considered the AGW argument, after having come to my own conclusion that there was something wrong with it, was when a newspaper columnist I had been arguing with suggested I read a book written by a scientist who had studied the issue for years. I forget the title now, but I think it was called “The Case for Global Warming,” “The Case for Climate Change,” something like that. I read it online from a physics organization.

    I found the organization and the book. I was mistaken about the title. The book is called, “The Discovery of Global Warming,” by Spencer B. Weart. It’s published online by the American Institute of Physics. Just wanted to clarify that.

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