Navajos want industrial hemp for cash crop

Story Published: Sep 6, 2000

Editor;s note: Interviews for this story on the potential of an industrial hemp operation on the Navajo Nation were conducted prior to Aug. 24 when agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized thousands of hemp plants on two plots on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Grand jury indictments are expected. The plants were being raised for a building project, meeting requirements of a 1998 Oglala Sioux Tribal ordinance. However, Earl Tulley says that action will have no effect on plans on the Navajo Nation. “The sky is not falling here.”

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo entrepreneurs are urging new Navajo Nation laws to permit cultivation of industrial hemp, citing research showing profits from small-scale farms.

Encouraging the cultivation of hemp as a cash crop, and for Navajo food and clothing, Earl Tulley says, “Hemp is better than the edible egg.

“We’re here. We are people of the Earth, and we want to grow our own economy.”

Tulley said efforts to introduce hemp follow the language of the Navajo Treaty of 1868, which urges self-sufficiency in the cultivation of land and production of clothing.

Pointing out that hemp crops add nitrogen to the soil, Tulley sees multiple possibilities, from producing oil and profitable fibers to establishing a Navajo seed bank.

“It’s going to be better than the casino. It is going to put us back to working. It is going to get us out from in front of the TV and out working the land.”

The Navajo Nation Council recently passed the first of two resolutions necessary for the legal cultivation of hemp. The first resolution changed an existing law that allowed for the legal possession of one ounce of marijuana on the Navajo Nation.

“We had to make sure there is zero tolerance,” Tulley said.

Changing the law was necessary for the protection of small businessmen who want to avoid confusion about the purpose of growing industrial hemp. “We wanted to put people at ease. This was done for those who think that everyone is going to be out in the cornfields smoking.”

Tulley said the agricultural crop lacks the properties of marijuana used to obtain an altered state of consciousness.

“The way I explain it to my mother is, ‘It’s like blue corn and yellow corn.’ People would have to smoke a cigarette the size of a telephone pole (to get high).”

Tulley, working with Ervin Keeswood, tribal councilman from Hogback, N.M., said the second legislation, now being drafted, will further allow for legal hemp crops.

Christopher Boucher, president of Hempstead Corp., in Laguna Beach, Calif., is a consultant to the Navajos’ proposing hemp cultivation.

Boucher said American Indian tribes could cash in on the $100 million hemp foods industry. The greatest profits are in production and sale of hemp oil for hemp nut butter, shampoo and cosmetics.

“It is ideal for the Navajo Nation. They can develop their own seed and have a plant that grows in their climate.”

Hemp stalk is in demand in the production of a popular horse bedding. The shredded stalk produces anti-bacterial bedding.

“The horses love it,” Boucher says.

Lakotas on Pine Ridge are already cultivating industrial hemp, he said, in hopes the fibers can be used to produce building materials.

“It is a home-based economic endeavor. Most of the developed nations are growing hemp, except for the United States.”

Boucher said the domestic commercial market is ripe because U.S.-based industries now have to purchase hemp products from China, Canada and elsewhere, paying costly tariffs.

Hemp fibers are now in demand by the automotive industry.

After the EPA discovered that the “new car smell” in automobiles was actually a scent from glue pollutants that exceeds allowable standards, Ford Motor Co. switched to hemp for door panel fibers for Mercedes-Benz.

Hemp has exceptional properties, Boucher said.

“The fibers are termite and mold resistant. As a food source, hemp seed is the most perfect essential fatty acid.”

While seeds were once a mainstay of survival, humanity moved away from seeds as food during the past 100 years. The result has been more degenerative diseases such as arthritis and diseases of the heart and kidneys, he said.

“It is essential to life as we know it,” he said of the essential fatty acids.

Further, the seeds have the highest concentration of digestible protein. Although soy is often cited in this category, soy protein is not as digestible as hemp.

In the fields, most pests dislike it. “It is easy to grow and harvest.”

England’s popular Body Shop is a good example of a company that contracts directly with Canadian farmers for hemp products for their lotions and bath products.

Jeff Gain, chairman of the board of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Alternative Agricultural Research and Commercialization Corp., is among the hemp advocates.

Pointing out that hemp can be used in everything from rope to car bodies and food and clothing, Gain says, “We must have diversity, crops like hemp that grow without pesticides.”

Boucher said his company is ecology based and views hemp as an alternative for a society polluting its oceans with oil spills.

“Hemp looks like a solution to oil-based economies. We need to go back to agricultural-based economies.”

Tulley, an environmentalist and cofounder of Din? Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment which halted clear-cutting of Navajo forests, says cultivation of hemp could eventually lead to a decrease for the demand of lumber for paper products.

“It can keep us from cutting down our forests.”

He said globally, mankind needs to return to agricultural-based societies.

“The people who control the food, control the world.”

Proteins change as pot plants clean up soil

[April 1, 2007]

When cannabis hits the headlines it is often in response to the latest cannabis farm that has been unearthed, be it in a remote field in the country or in someone’s roof in the city. Bad press all round for a plant known for its psychoactive properties and misuse, even though it is finding support from individuals and doctors for alleviating the symptoms of many illnesses. But what many people fail to appreciate is that there are other, safer, varieties of Cannabis sativa that bring different qualities to society.

The pot-smoking species is C. sativa subsp. indica, characterised by relatively large amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component. However, another cultivar, C. sativa subsp. sativa, produces only trace amounts of THC and grows long and tall, with little branching. This form is cultivated for its fibres and is more often known as industrial hemp. It is easy to grow, typically taking 4 months to rise to heights of 3-10 feet, its fast growth negating the need for herbicides.

It has been estimated that hemp is used in more than 25,000 products, including paper, fibreboard, textiles, biodegradable composites, plastics, rope, sails and furniture. Compared with wood chippings, hemp produces at least double the amount of fibre and does not require bleaching or other toxic chemicals.

But Cannabis sativa has one further property that can get careless industrialists and farmers off the hook. It can help to clean up soil that has been contaminated with toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and copper. Plants grown in soil that has been fouled by industrial effluent, metal-enriched fertilisers or herbicides can absorb metals into their root systems. So, ideally, crops could be grown on contaminated soil, then the fibres harvested for industrial use.

Little is known about how the Cannabis plant reacts when it takes up excess copper, especially within the proteome. How does it manage this, while still maintaining growth and its normal protein functions? This question has now been addressed by scientists from the University of Piemonte Orientale in Alessandria who have studied the proteome of Cannabis sativa var. Felina 34 grown under copper stress.

Seedlings were planted in a quartz sand-loam-gravel mix that was dosed with 150 ppm copper sulphate. This level is well above the mean world soil copper concentration of 20 ppm, while remaining below that at which serious plant toxicity is observed. After 6 weeks, the copper-treated plants were smaller than control plants, with shorter leaf areas, root lengths and root volumes.

The copper content, determined by ICPMS, doubled in the shoots, but increased 8-fold in the roots compared with controls. This distribution confirmed that copper intake was preferentially localised in the root system in agreement with published work which declared the copper gradient in hemp to be roots > stems > leaves > seeds.

Proteins in the roots were extracted by standard methods and separated by 2D gel electrophoresis. The protein spots that had statistically significant intensity differences from the control gel were selected for in-gel digestion with trypsin for tandem mass spectrometry analysis. Seven proteins were down-regulated, five were up-regulated and two disappeared altogether.

Subsequent identification was not straightforward, since the C. sativa genome has not yet been sequenced. So the researchers, led by senior reporter Maria Cavaletto, used de novo sequencing from the MS/MS spectra then aligned the proteins to database sequences of related organisms. This cross-species protocol was able to identify some of the protein with altered abundances.

Since no new proteins were observed under copper stress, the team concluded that the plant does not evolve a copper-specific mechanism to incorporate the excess metal ions. They proposed a copper-coping mechanism in which the first protein to interact with the copper ions, present as copper(II), was aldo/keto reductase. It acts as a scavenger, reducing copper(II) to copper(I), a process which makes it available for interactions with other proteins such as phytochelatins that bind copper(I). This reductase is an auxin-induced protein, confirming the involvement of auxin as a plant growth regulator handling the excess metal.

Other implicated proteins include the stress proteins formate dehydrogenase, a protein that increases in response to other stresses such as dark, cold and drought, as well as enolase and elicitor-inducible protein. Other implicated proteins are those which confer greater copper resistance and provide an efficient reducing system (thioredoxin peroxidase, peroxidase and cyclophilin) and those which regulate root growth (actin, ribosomal proteins and glycine-rich protein.

This preliminary work will mark a useful basis for future phytoremediation studies, perhaps being used to develop plants for biomonitoring or for the remediation of heavily metal-polluted soil.

Related links:

* Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale

* Proteomics 2007, 7, 1121: “Proteomic characterization of copper stress response in Cannabis sativa roots”;jsessionid=B9527441DE1FE87DF66C0D19CA250C2E?id=16011&type=Feature&chId=10&page=1

The Absinthe Enigma Resurgence of a Legendary Spirit

by Lux and Fire Erowid

Nov 2008
Originally published in Erowid Extracts
Citation:   Lux, Erowid F. “The Absinthe Enigma; Resurgence of a Legendary Spirit.” Erowid Extracts. Nov 2007;(13):12-14

As products called absinthe are once again being widely marketed, absinthe has shifted from obscure historical drink to chic epicurean beverage. Named after Artemisia absinthium (wormwood), its defining herbal ingredient, this spirit has a reputation for producing unique effects not attributable to its alcohol content alone. These effects are commonly attributed to thujone, a psychoactive chemical in wormwood, but new arguments have been proposed claiming that traditional absinthe contained little to no thujone. Some private and peer-reviewed research analyzing vintage bottles of absinthe and contemporary absinthe made from traditional recipes has found lower levels of thujone than expected, raising the question of whether nineteenthcentury absinthe ever contained active amounts.

Major media publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and USA Today have brought public attention to this debate. The issue of thujone content is not only of scientific concern, but of commercial concern as well, since U.S. and European regulations set maximum values for thujone in absinthe. While some vendors emphasize high thujone levels as a selling point, others use the new theory, that absinthe originally had negligible amounts, to defend their low-thujone absinthe as authentic.

The following articles include a look at absinthe’s history, the current U.S. regulatory environment, and the complicated issue of thujone in wormwood and absinthe.

See Also: Absinthe in the United States and The Debate About Wormwood and Thujone Psychoactivity

Parasitic Infection: Symptoms and Treatment

Hulda Regehr Clark drew world attention to one specific fluke that she maintains is the cause of all diseases. There are in fact over 3000 different parasites that have been loosely grouped into four different categories.

According to the World Health Organization, 3.5 billion people suffer from some type of parasitic infection. Not all of these people live in third world countries; many in the developed world have any number of parasitic infections, some of which are so highly contagious that extremely casual contact with something that has been handled by an infected person can infect another person.

Since there are such a huge variety of parasites and their characteristics vary greatly, it is not possible to generalize too much; however some broad statements are possible. The symptoms of parasitic infection vary enormously, enough that anyone reading the list that follows will quickly assume that he or she harbors some type of parasitic infection. Therefore, it should be stated that the presence of one or more of these symptoms does not lead ipso facto to the conclusion that one is infected, merely that it might be worth investigating the possibility of such an infection.

Symptoms of Parasitic Infection

Acute parasite infection is usually characterized by greater or lesser abdominal distress and diarrhea, often urgent and attended by burning sensations and tremendous fluid loss. Only rarely is there any visible evidence of infection. Moreover, many laboratories fail to detect the presence of parasites even when presented with specimens from infected persons. It is therefore sometimes necessary for the patient to determine whether infection is likely and to self-administer some remedy since allopathic medicine requires a diagnosis before prescriptions can be written.

Once a condition has moved from acute to chronic, there may be alternating periods of constipation and diarrhea, abdominal distention and bloating, intestinal cramping followed by burning sensations and the sudden urge to eliminate. Generally, there is malabsorption of nutrients, especially fatty foods. Irritable bowel syndrome, blood sugar fluctuations, sudden food cravings, and extreme emaciation or overweight are all possible symptoms—but, as stated, not necessarily proof of parasitic infection.

Itching is a possible clue to infection, especially among children; however, the absence of itching does not mean there is no infection. The itching tends to be worst where there is moisture: nose, eyes, ears, and of course the anus. Skin sensitivity is also common: rashes, eczema-like conditions, and even serious eruptions.

Many parasites affect the nervous system and give rise to sleep disorders, such as insomnia. In children, hyperactivity is common, but adults may have symptoms ranging from depression to anxiety. Some parasites affect the brain and memory. In short, the part of the body affected depends on where the parasites have invaded: blood, intestines, liver, pancreas, kidneys, brain, etc. To make infection even more difficult to determine, add to this scenario the fact that many, if not most, parasites migrate so the symptoms could change depending on where the parasites are at any given time.

How Parasite Infections are Contracted

It is extremely easy to contract a parasite infection. Contaminated water is one source of infection. Improperly washed or undercooked food is a common means of infection. Transmission from pets is another. Contact with another infected person is also a common route of infection. Travel can escalate the risks. Antibiotics pose another problem because they interfere with normal intestinal flora, some which tend to control certain types of infection.


Since there are many types of parasites, each with its own particular life cycle and pattern, a few generalizations may simplify the rationale behind the different treatment strategies.

First, one needs to understand that the parasite is a creature that depends on a host for survival, ergo its name. It leeches nutrients that the host needs in order to be healthy.

Second, the parasite invades a bodily structure and inflicts damage to that structure so healing requires both the elimination of the parasite and the regeneration or rejuvenation of the affected organs.

One thing at a time. I spent many years in tropical countries and came to realize that experts in parasitology are more likely to hail from such countries than from the big modern medical institutions that tend to underestimate the importance of parasitic infection. Parasites lay eggs, thousands of them each day. According to most investigators, the eggs are destroyed by cloves and/or clove oil. Some eggs may be weakened by hydrochloric acid in the stomach, but parasites are clever and want to survive so they usually lay their eggs where the chances of viability are greater. Therefore, the hydrochloric acid is mainly effective against newly ingested eggs. Since one can never be certain of destroying all the eggs, perseverance has its rewards.

Many parasites hide in the folds of the large intestine or under the membrane lining of the intestines. When the eggs hatch, usually around the time of the full moon, the lining sloughs off and exposes a sensitive area that gives rise to acute pain and often the urge to eliminate. Some people have observed the tissue when it is sloughed off.


I want to tell a clove story. I had some cloves in a conventional spice jar. One day when I went to use the cloves, I noticed that the red plastic lid was “melted.” It looked just as it might had it been exposed to extreme heat, but the plastic was a bit sticky. I have since discovered that several spices, good quality, fresh spices, have a similar capacity to emulsify plastic. I am certain that it is the volatile oils in the cloves that possess this unique trait.

For parasite cleansing, it is necessary to use fresh cloves that have not been irradiated. Most spices are irradiated with 35,000 the amount of radiation permitted in a chest x-ray. This is ostensibly done to eradicate bacteria, but spices are generally excellent bactericides so the irradiation is merely a way of destroying the precious properties of spices. Non-irradiated spices are available from most high-end health foods stores, and we, of course, carry these spices.

Cloves are among the most antibacterial spices known, but as we all know, a few cloves go a long way. Those with some familiarity with herbal medicine know that clove oil is also used to numb pain due to dental infection; but few know that part of the reason clove oil works so well is that it alleviates the infection. Cloves are antiseptic, bactericidal, and antiparasitic.

The Second Strategy

After addressing the eggs, one can deal with the parasites that managed to hatch. There are various opinions here as to what works. Hulda Clark and Hanna Kroeger used wormwood, Artemesia absinthium, in a powdered form and the green hulls of black walnuts in a tincture. These are traditional Western herbs for parasites, and a recent study at the University of Washington suggests that a different species of wormwood, Artemisia annua, a famed anti-malarial herb that is also in many parasitic formulas, has significant anti-cancer properties as well. It is this artemisia that we use in our formula.

Chinese medicine relies on bitter herbs to stimulate the liver to produce more bile. One theory is that it is the bile that kills intestinal parasites, not the toxic properties of the herbs. It is important to bring this out since wormwood is toxic, not perhaps in small doses, but to gain some idea of its addictive and toxic properties, one need merely look at the absinthe habits of the nineteenth century.

Vermouth gets its name from the German “wermut” or Anglo Saxon “wermod” or wormwood, presumably because absinthe was used as a flavoring in some recipes for this famed aperatif. I feel quite certain that some of the traditions of consuming such beverages stemmed from the monasteries that made the wines and liquors and that also housed the vast libraries of books on botanical medicine. There is a cultural tradition of dealing with some of the risks of parasitic infection that is seen in some of the rituals from the past.

While Artemisia annua is safe, Artemisia absinthium should be used cautiously. It may anesthetize a worm enough that it looses its grip on the intestines so that it can be eliminated. This said, some species of wormwood have other properties that justify their use in antiparasitic protocol. For instance, Artemisia annua, popularly known as Sweet Annie, reduces stomach pain and helps to relieve the anemia that often attends parasitization of red blood cells.

Intestinal Flora, Foods, and Other Measures

For a web page, this has become quite long, but it would be irresponsible to omit some further recommendations. Since parasites thrive in the absence of proper intestinal flora, it is wise to repopulate the body with intestinal flora. Chlorinated water and diarrhea cause destruction and loss of friendly flora so every effort should be made to rebuild the flora. Turmeric greatly assists this work as do supplements of acidophilus, bifidus, bulgaricus, and other friendly organisms.

Use of green juices, aloe juice, and a diet high in greens also helps as does supplemental garlic and asafoetida (in capsules or food.) In addition, one can nibble on pumpkin seeds and eat fresh pineapple and calmyrna figs. Coconut also has antiparasitic properties. According to some sources, sesame oil is somewhat antiparasitic, and black cumin seed, Nigella sativa, has significant anti-parasitic properties. Many recommend drinking sesame oil, a teaspoon or so at a time throughout the day. I personally would add clove oil and/or fennel seed oil to the sesame oil. Fennel seed tea, three cups per day, can be used, especially towards the end of the cleanse. Some authorities believe that fennel intoxicates parasites, making them less protective and easier to annihilate.

Recipe for pumpkin seed, sesame, astragalus nutbutter

In my experience, no one succeeds in ridding the body of parasites in the five days Hulda Clark suggests is possible. I am convinced of this because there are so many hiding places in the body, especially the intestines. I do not deny that one can become significantly better in a short time. I merely doubt that thorough elimination is possible in a short time. I know specialists in India who required four years to complete treatment. This said, somewhere between the miraculous five-day cure and the discouraging four-year one, there might be a middle ground.

Ayurvedic parasite protocols


When using parasite formulas, I would suggest hitting hard on the days leading up to the full moon and just thereafter and going a bit easier on the last and first quarters of the moon. I would do this consistently for at least three months or until all symptoms disappear. Once the body is rid of parasites, it has to be understood that it needs to recuperate from the insult. Therefore a program of regeneration of the affected organs should follow.

Dealing with tissue damage, toxins, and infections associated with parasites

In the meantime, I would suggest that while undergoing the parasite purge that one eat less and put ones pets and other family members on a similar regime so that everyone is on a clean footing when the job is done.

Excellent (and disturbing) photograph of pinworm

Jesus ‘healed using cannabis’

Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties
of the drug, according to a study of scriptural texts published this month. The study suggests
that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings.The anointing oil
used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since
been identified as cannabis extract, according to an article by Chris Bennett in the drugs magazine,
High Times, entitled Was Jesus a Stoner? The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained
a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims.
“There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion,” Carl Ruck, professor
of classical mythology at Boston University said. Referring to the existence of cannabis in anointing
oils used in ceremonies, he added: “Obviously the easy availability and long-established tradition of
cannabis in early Judaism _ would inevitably have included it in the [Christian] mixtures.”

Mr Bennett suggests those anointed with the oils used by Jesus were “literally drenched
in this potent mixture _ Although most modern people choose to smoke or eat pot, when

its active ingredients are transferred into an oil-based carrier, it can also be absorbed through
the skin”. Quoting the New Testament, Mr Bennett argues that Jesus anointed his disciples
with the oil and encouraged them to do the same with other followers. This could have been
responsible for healing eye and skin diseases referred to in the Gospels.

“If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil _ and receiving
this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those
who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ,” Mr Bennett concludes.

Fuel’s paradise? Power source that turns physics on its head

· Scientist says device disproves quantum theory
· Opponents claim idea is result of wrong maths

It seems too good to be true: a new source of near-limitless power that costs virtually nothing, uses tiny amounts of water as its fuel and produces next to no waste. If that does not sound radical enough, how about this: the principle behind the source turns modern physics on its head.

Randell Mills, a Harvard University medic who also studied electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims to have built a prototype power source that generates up to 1,000 times more heat than conventional fuel. Independent scientists claim to have verified the experiments and Dr Mills says that his company, Blacklight Power, has tens of millions of dollars in investment lined up to bring the idea to market. And he claims to be just months away from unveiling his creation.

The problem is that according to the rules of quantum mechanics, the physics that governs the behaviour of atoms, the idea is theoretically impossible. “Physicists are quite conservative. It’s not easy to convince them to change a theory that is accepted for 50 to 60 years. I don’t think [Mills’s] theory should be supported,” said Jan Naudts, a theoretical physicist at the University of Antwerp.

What has much of the physics world up in arms is Dr Mills’s claim that he has produced a new form of hydrogen, the simplest of all the atoms, with just a single proton circled by one electron. In his “hydrino”, the electron sits a little closer to the proton than normal, and the formation of the new atoms from traditional hydrogen releases huge amounts of energy.

This is scientific heresy. According to quantum mechanics, electrons can only exist in an atom in strictly defined orbits, and the shortest distance allowed between the proton and electron in hydrogen is fixed. The two particles are simply not allowed to get any closer.

According to Dr Mills, there can be only one explanation: quantum mechanics must be wrong. “We’ve done a lot of testing. We’ve got 50 independent validation reports, we’ve got 65 peer-reviewed journal articles,” he said. “We ran into this theoretical resistance and there are some vested interests here. People are very strong and fervent protectors of this [quantum] theory that they use.”

Rick Maas, a chemist at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC) who specialises in sustainable energy sources, was allowed unfettered access to Blacklight’s laboratories this year. “We went in with a healthy amount of scepticism. While it would certainly be nice if this were true, in my position as head of a research institution, I really wouldn’t want to make a mistake. The last thing I want is to be remembered as the person who derailed a lot of sustainable energy investment into something that wasn’t real.”

But Prof Maas and Randy Booker, a UNC physicist, left under no doubt about Dr Mill’s claims. “All of us who are not quantum physicists are looking at Dr Mills’s data and we find it very compelling,” said Prof Maas. “Dr Booker and I have both put our professional reputations on the line as far as that goes.”

Dr Mills’s idea goes against almost a century of thinking. When scientists developed the theory of quantum mechanics they described a world where measuring the exact position or energy of a particle was impossible and where the laws of classical physics had no effect. The theory has been hailed as one of the 20th century’s greatest achievements.

But it is an achievement Dr Mills thinks is flawed. He turned back to earlier classical physics to develop a theory which, unlike quantum mechanics, allows an electron to move much closer to the proton at the heart of a hydrogen atom and, in doing so, release the substantial amounts of energy he seeks to exploit. Dr Mills’s theory, known as classical quantum mechanics and published in the journal Physics Essays in 2003, has been criticised most publicly by Andreas Rathke of the European Space Agency. In a damning critique published recently in the New Journal of Physics, he argued that Dr Mills’s theory was the result of mathematical mistakes.

Dr Mills argues that there are plenty of flaws in Dr Rathke’s critique. “His paper’s riddled with mistakes. We’ve had other physicists contact him and say this is embarrassing to the journal and [Dr Rathke] won’t respond,” said Dr Mills.

While the theoretical tangle is unlikely to resolve itself soon, those wanting to exploit the technology are pushing ahead. “We would like to understand it from an academic standpoint and then we would like to be able to use the implications to actually produce energy products,” said Prof Maas. “The companies that are lining up behind this are household names.”

Dr Mills will not go into details of who is investing in his research but rumours suggest a range of US power companies. It is well known also that Nasa’s institute of advanced concepts has funded research into finding a way of using Blacklight’s technology to power rockets.

According to Prof Maas, the first product built with Blacklight’s technology, which will be available in as little as four years, will be a household heater. As the technology is scaled up, he says, bigger furnaces will be able to boil water and turn turbines to produce electricity.

In a recent economic forecast, Prof Maas calculated that hydrino energy would cost around 1.2 cents (0.7p) per kilowatt hour. This compares to an average of 5 cents per kWh for coal and 6 cents for nuclear energy.

“If it’s wrong, it will be proven wrong,” said Kert Davies, research director of Greenpeace USA. “But if it’s right, it is so important that all else falls away. It has the potential to solve our dependence on oil. Our stance is of cautious optimism.”

Alternative energy

Cold fusion

More than 16 years after chemists’ claims to have created a star in a jar imploded in acrimony, the US government has said it might fund more research. Mainstream physicists still balk at reports that a beaker of cold water and metal electrodes can produce excess heat, but a hardy band of scientists across the world refuse to let the dream die.

Methane hydrates

The US and Japan are leading attempts to tap this source of fossil fuel buried beneath the seabed and Arctic permafrost. A mixture of ice and natural gas, hydrates are believed to contain more carbon than existing reserves of oil, coal and gas put together.

Solar chimneys

Sunlight heats trapped air, which rises through a giant chimney and drives turbines. Leonardo da Vinci designed such a power tower and the Australian company Enviromission plans to build one. Despite being scaled down recently, the concrete chimney will still stand some 700 metres over the outback.

Nuclear fusion

Turns nuclear power on its head by combining atoms rather than splitting them to release energy – copying the reaction at the heart of the sun. After years of arguments the world has agreed to build a test reactor to see whether it works on a commercial scale. Called Iter, it could be switched on within a decade.

Wave generators

No longer a dead duck, the hopes of engineers are riding on bobbing floats again. The British company Trident Energy recently unveiled a design that uses a linear generator to convert the motion of the sea into electricity. A wave farm just a few hundred metres across could power 62,000 homes.

David Adam

Headlines of the Week:

1) Bush’s Environmental Legacy on GMOs

2) Chemical Used on Crops Could Make You Fat

3) How to Survive a Government Raid on Your Farm

4) Don’t Just Mourn the Climate Crisis, Escalate the Activism

5) A Message for Climate Change Negotiators: Small Farmers Key to Combating Climate Change

Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 20 or more news articles posted each day, and a library of over 40,000 articles covering issues including health, justice, food and farming, politics, and the environment. Bookmark

More power from Michigan

Slashdot – Slow-moving ocean and river currents could be a new, reliable and affordable alternative energy source. A University of Michigan engineer, Michael Bernitsas, has made a machine that works like a fish to turn . . .  vibrations in fluid flows into clean, renewable power. This is the first known device that could harness energy from most of the water currents around the globe because it works in flows moving slower than 2 knots (about 2.3 miles per hour). Most of the Earth’s currents are slower than 3 knots. Turbines and water mills need an average of 5 or 6 knots to operate efficiently.


Sam Smith

For many years, your editor has been involved with Wolfe’s Neck Farm, a Maine alternative agriculture center that began as an organic beef farm started by my parents in the 1950s. Today, besides cattle, the farm engages in a variety of programs including a campground with over 100 sites, a day camp for hundreds of children, educational programs and welcoming thousands of visitors. It also started what would become the largest natural beef marketing alliance in the greater northeast.

The newest addition to the farm is Coastal Studies for Girls, a program which is leasing some of the buildings for the first residential science and leadership semester school just for girls.  Even while construction is underway, CSG hasn’t missed the chance for some education, as reported in the Falmouth Forecaster:

||| Coastal Studies for Girls is joining with Women Unlimited and Wright-Ryan Construction to offer seminars throughout the fall and early winter to help the public prepare for cold weather and to help residents learn how to reduce home energy and heating costs. . . Lib Jamison, executive director of the nonprofit Women Unlimited, taught a group of participants to build a toolbox after the tour. Jamison said the organization helps to train and support women, minorities and disadvantaged workers by providing the training necessary to obtain a job with livable wages in the construction, technical and transportation industries. . . The school will be open for its first 10th-grade class of students in the fall of 2009 and applications are available on its Web site |||

There are no present plans for rehabilitation programs for people like Larry Summers, but the program does cite a recent Science article which reports that a new study, led by psychologist Janet Hyde of the University of Wisconsin, shows that there is no difference between girls’ and boys’ test scores on common standardized math tests. Among students with the highest test scores, white boys outnumbered white girls by about two to one. But among Asians, that number was reversed. Obviously, cultural values have a lot to do with the scores, which is why things like the coastal studies program are important.

Wending our way through the state and local legal hurdles to help create the program, one of the issues was whether education was compatible with agriculture. This question astounded me because it was something I just took for granted.

For example, the 19th century Morrill Acts funded land grant institutions  – with actual grants of land –  to teach agriculture, military tactics, mechanic arts and home economics – as well as classical studies.  Politicians of the era understood that, given America’s huge size, you couldn’t have good agriculture without widely dispersed good education. Michigan State – originally the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan – was the first land grant institution, although its funding came from the state. The first federal land grant university was Kansas State.

Schools have been central to the life and landscape of rural families in America. There were once several one room schoolhouses within a few miles of the new coastal studies program. One small town in Maine had 14 schools in the 19th century. Typically such schools were placed about three miles apart, so they were hardly an oddity in the rural landscape.

You could not have had American agriculture without rural schools. They were inseparable. One study reports, “During the 1930s about one-half of all children went to school in rural areas, where the proportion of children to adults was higher than in the cities.”

Today, only about two percent of Americans have had any direct contact with farms. And I needed only to watch the hesitancy with which my Bronx granddaughter made her first acquaintance with a Maine beach to be reminded of how many in this country have little contact not just with the study of nature, but contact with its scope and variety.

In the 19th century, the problem was to bring education to the natural areas of America.  Today, we need to find new ways to bring nature into our education – such as the Coastal Studies for Girls program –  if we are to deal with the ecological crisis wisely and in time.


Christian Schwägerl, Spiegel, Germany – Ecuador is the first country in the world to announce plans to leave the oil reserves beneath its rainforests in the ground. The country wants foreign businesses, including German companies, to compensate it for making this sacrifice.

There are as many different types of wood growing on each hectare in the Yasuni rainforest in the northwestern Amazon as there are species in all of North America. Even rare species of animals, like the mountain tapir and the brown-headed spider monkey, exist in the region. This paradise is also home to a number of native tribes now living in complete isolation from the outside world.

There is more biological diversity in the Yasuni rainforest than almost anywhere else in the world. The virgin forest is protected by its status as a national park and UNESCO biosphere reserve, but for how much longer? Several oil companies are pressuring the government in the Ecuadoran capital of Quito to finally issue drilling licenses for the biosphere.

The Yasuni region sits atop Ecuador’s largest known oil reserve, consisting of several hundred million barrels. Oil is the country’s most important export. And although oil has not made Ecuador rich, without petrodollars and petro-jobs the country would likely be even poorer than it already is.

This makes a proposal that Ecuadoran Environment Minister Marcela Aguinaga has now advanced in Berlin and other European capitals all the more sensational. Ecuador is the first oil-producing nation to propose leaving crude oil reserves permanently in the ground.. . .

“The crude oil under Yasuni National Park is worth many billions of dollars,” says Aguinaga. In the summer of 2008, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa made a first attempt to protect the rainforest and resources. He proposed that Western and Ecuadoran taxpayers each foot half the bill for the decision not to tap crude oil reserves in the environmentally sensitive area. But the initiative never bore fruit.

Now Correa is under pressure to give in to the oil companies after all. Hoping to prevent this from happening, Aguinaga submitted a new, and final, offer during a trip to Europe: that Ecuador be compensated mainly by Western companies, which could then sell the Yasuni oil in the virtual form of CO2 certificates.

But wherever Aguinaga goes she faces the same tough questions: What happens if the Saudis start demanding compensation for oil they don’t produce? And what if a new government in Quito permits drilling for oil after all?

The model, Aguiaga argues, is only meant for regions where petroleum reserves are located beneath extremely biodiverse ecosystems. And the donors would be given the right to confiscate the oil if it does end up being produced.