A Fast Read in an Even Faster World
by Art Goodtimes
Oct 01, 2009 | 1419 views | 1 1 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print

TRAVELS WITH HERODOTUS … Rysard Kapuściński was a journalist who grew up in Communist Poland, writing behind the Iron Curtain, an eye on the censors, without many books. But he overcame those limitations to work as a world-renowned journalist because of a desire to cross boundaries. A desire to see beyond his narrow world … In his last book, Travels with Herodotus (Random House, New York, 2007), Kapuściński takes us on a adventure, the foreign desks of his reporter’s life, globe-trotting from country to continent, highlighting some of the incidents that stand out. But it’s not just a travelogue. He weaves in his readings of Herodotus – one of the first books that took him out of the dismal totalitarian gray of his circumspect world and opened up another place, where the sea was wine-dark and the stories bloody curious … Having just read Thucydides in a gorgeous new edition, it was fascinating to have Kapuściński asking questions, reflecting on historical lore, and then contrasting what was happening between the Greeks and Persians with what was happening in the world now … Highly recommended.

DANNY’S PLACE … We walked the three-acre riparian zone along the Fruita-area creek, within sight of the Book Cliffs and Colorado National Monument, that constituted my friend’s home. End of summer but still hot. Before the first big chill set in … And a pulsing strobe of energy danced about bushes of snowy purple fleabane. Clouds of sulphurs – faded yellow butterflies – alternating flutter & freeze. Dozens & dozens. Furiously celebrating their own short lives.

SOLAR MINIMUM … “Anyone else been following the depth of our current solar minimum? Less solar activity than seen for the last century? Are we entering another Maunder Minimum (last “Little Ice Age" of 1645-1750?) Check it out at <spaceweather.com>. Couple that with the forming El Nino for winter 09/10 and our San Juan Mtns. The coming winter might be a doozie (like the last two weren't bad enough)” … Thanks to ace local cartoonist-in-retirement Jonathan Webb for that alert ... While no one wants to minimize the contributing anthropogenic effects of our carbon-based societies on climate change, truth is, as geomorphologist Dr. Rob Blair of Durango likes to point out, it’s the sun that rules climate on our planet.

ENTHEOGENETICS … The cannabinoid cannabidol is reportedly a promising alternative to chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment. Cannabidol blocks the expression of the id-1 gene responsible for aggressive spread of breast cancer cells. There are indications it also serves the same function in brain cancer.

SOUNDING THE ALARM … According to regional ecology guardian Lance Christie of Moab, earlier this year James Lovelock was quoted in the Irish Times as predicting the Arctic’s floating summer sea ice will be all melted within 30 years … NASA reported in 2009 that current trends will result in ice-free Arctic seas by 2013. When that occurs, the polar caps will no longer reflect sunlight back into space and, instead, the ocean will absorb sunlight, heating up. The permafrosts in northern Canada and Siberia will thaw out, releasing carbon dioxide … At the same time, the tropical forests, which play a critical role in taking CO2 from the atmosphere, will die out. Global temperatures will rise by between five and six degrees in a short period of time, rendering most of the world uninhabitable for the vast majority of mankind … According to Christie, “What sets Lovelock apart from other climate scientists, most notably the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the swift timetable he envisages and his belief that such change is irreversible and will take most of the human race with it. Says Lovelock, “It is out of our hands” … When the floating ice finally melts, it will be the equivalent of nearly all of the CO2 we have put in the atmosphere to date. So, the earth will begin to join in the act of global heating, doing it in a big way. The Earth is already moving to its hot stage. The hotter it gets, the faster it goes -- and we can’t stop it … It appears, from all unbiased evidence, that humans just aren’t clever enough to handle the planet at the moment. We can’t even handle our own financial affairs. The worst possible thing that could happen to us, adds Christie, is achieving the green dream of taking charge and “saving the planet” … Insists Christie, “I’d sooner a goat as a gardener than humans in charge of the earth” … Lovelock says that a process called biochar carbon sequestration, which is gaining increasing credence, may be the only hope for mankind. It involves taking farmyard waste, such as wheat chaff, turning it into charcoal and then burying it, either on land or at sea, to prevent it releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. Lovelock says Ireland and New Zealand will be the most fortunate countries on earth, a lifeboat for humanity – but a lifeboat can only take so many passengers. If you are the captain of a lifeboat, you have to decide who you can let in and who you can’t. Otherwise everybody would sink.”

WEB ALERT … Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas and oil – as well as current market conditions – the Light-at-the-End-of-the-Tunnel has been turned off. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Here’s a little piece composed of tight four-line stanzas. Form is funny. Inspirations seem to start to take shape in a form, if you’re a writer. And if you’re a poet, you play with that. The words, the story, they become the playdough you knead into relevance, insight. This title is long, but it’s a playful nod at decade and age and seems worth the length. Rather than hold to conventional punctuation, I use mid-line bullets to separate within stanzas – a style I found myself drawn to years ago.


in Your Sixties

Not in The Sixties

fallen twice

maybe time to

rethink walking

the dog in the dark

lip edge of the macadam

traps me trips me up

tumbling knees & elbows

into the gravel

first time lost

the leash almost

sprained my ankle

but Simba didn’t dash

second time I held on

but still got sratched up

stepping off an inch-high

cliff & sprawling

soon tugging our way

along again mountains

in every direction stars

shadows & surprises

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October 02, 2009
Building Soil Carbon is the bond that unities all political persuasions,

“I’d sooner a goat as a gardener than humans in charge of the earth” … Lovelock says that a process called biochar carbon sequestration, which is gaining increasing credence, may be the only hope for mankind."

We Goats have been tending our earth garden,

Our farming for over 10,000 years has been responsible for 2/3rds of our excess greenhouse gases. This soil carbon, converted to carbon dioxide, Methane & Nitrous oxide began a slow stable warming that now accelerates with burning of fossil fuel. Agriculture allowed our cultural accent and Agriculture will now prevent our descent.

Biochar Soil Carbon Sequestration

Unlike CCS which only reduces emissions, biochar systems draw down CO2 every energy cycle, closing a circle back to support the soil food web.

The photosynthetic "capture" collectors are up and running; Plants.

the "storage" sink is in operation just under our feet, Top Soil.

Pyrolysis conversion plants are the only infrastructure we need to build out.

Building Soil Carbon is the bond that unities all political persuasions,

Senator Baucus is co-sponsoring a bill along with Senator Tester (D-MT) called WE CHAR. Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration Act! It focuses on promoting biochar technology to address invasive species and forest biomass. It includes grants and loans for biochar market research and development, biochar characterization and environmental analyses. It directs USDI and USDA to provide loan guarantees for biochar technologies and on-the-ground production with an emphasis on biomass from public lands. And the USGS is to do biomass availability assessments.

Biochar allows the soil food web to build much more recalcitrant organic carbon living biomass in addition to the carbon in the biochar.

Modern Pyrolysis of biomass is a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration, 80%-90% Lower Methane & N2O soil emissions, and 2X Fertility Too.

Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration (= to 1 Ton CO2e) Bio-Gas & Bio-oil fuels = to 1MWh exported electricity, so is a totally virtuous, carbon negative energy cycle.

Biochar viewed as soil Infrastructure; The old saw;

"Feed the Soil Not the Plants" becomes;

"Feed, Cloth and House the Soil, utilities included !".

Free Carbon Condominiums with carboxyl group fats in the pantry and hydroxyl alcohol in the mini bar.

Build it and the Wee-Beasties will come.

Microbes like to sit down when they eat.

By setting this table we expand husbandry to whole new orders & Kingdoms of life.

This is what I try to get across to Farmers, as to how I feel about the act of returning carbon to the soil. An act of penitence and thankfulness for the civilization we have created. Farmers are the Soil Sink Bankers, once carbon has a price, they will be laughing all the way to it.

Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.

Another significant aspect of bichar and aerosols are the low cost ($3) Biomass cook stoves that produce char but no respiratory disease.

The Biochar Fund

biocharfund.org… recently won $300K for these systems citing these priorities;

(1) Hunger amongst the world's poorest people, the subsistence farmers of Sub-Saharan Africa,

(2) Deforestation resulting from a reliance on slash-and-burn farming,

(3) Energy poverty and a lack of access to clean, renewable energy, and

(4) Climate change.

many USDA-ARS studies at The up coming ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;