Meet the Peecyclers. Their Idea to Help Farmers Is No. 1. – The New York Times

For this article Catrin Einhorn traveled to Vermont, where she saw many different kinds of toilets.

“BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — When Kate Lucy saw a poster in town inviting people to learn about something known as peecycling, she was mystified. “Why would someone pee in a jug and save it?” she wondered. “It sounds like such a wacky idea.”

She had to work the evening of the information session, so she sent her husband, Jon Sellers, to assuage her curiosity. He came home with a jug and funnel.

Human urine, Mr. Sellers learned that night seven years ago, is full of the same nutrients that plants need to flourish. It has a lot more, in fact, than Number Two, with almost none of the pathogens. Farmers typically apply those nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — to crops in the form of chemical fertilizers. But that comes with a high environmental cost from fossil fuels and mining.”

Want to Sleep Like a Baby? 60-67 F  Try a Smart Thermostat. | Wirecutter

. . . .  Who can do this

“There are a few factors to think about when you’re picking a smart thermostat (we go over them in-depth in our guide to the best smart thermostat), but the first is whether the particulars of your home, and your existing climate-control system, are even compatible with a given model. In general, if you have central air, a Nest or Ecobee model is likely to be compatible—you can confirm in advance on the Nest and Ecobee sites—and the same is true of forced-air heating. Hot-water hydronic and steam heating systems may require additional wiring or the use of an adapter, which is typically DIY-able. Electrical heating typically includes a thermostat in each location already.”

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Paul Krugman | America’s Economy in the European Mirror – The New York Times

“Last week Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency, released a revised estimate of the euro area’s February inflation rate. It wasn’t a happy report: Consumer prices were up 5.9 percent from a year earlier, more than most analysts had expected. And it’s going to get worse, as the effects of the Ukraine war weigh on food and energy prices.

Britain hasn’t yet released its February inflation number, but the Bank of England expects it to match the rate in the euro area.

Of course, U.S. inflation is even higher, with February consumer prices up 7.9 percent from a year earlier. These numbers aren’t exactly comparable, for technical reasons, but inflation in the U.S. does seem to be running around two percentage points higher than in Europe. I’ll come back to that difference and what might explain it. But surely the fact that inflation is up a lot in many countries, not just America, is worth noting.

After all, the entire Republican Party and a fair number of conservative Democrats insist that the recent surge in U.S. inflation was caused by President Biden’s big spending policies. Europe, however, had nothing comparable to Biden’s American Rescue Plan; last year the euro area’s structural budget deficit, a standard measure of fiscal stimulus, was only about a third as large, as a percentage of G.D.P., as America’s.”

How Long Does Pasta Sauce Last in the Refrigerator? | Martha Stewart

Learn how long marinara sauce and alfredo sauce last in the refrigerator. Plus, get tips for storing and reheating them.

“Most jarred pasta sauces have a shelf life of about one year. However, once they’re opened, they should be used quickly. “After opening a high-acid canned food, like a tomato sauce, it can be stored safely in the refrigerator for five to seven days before being used,” says Shelley Feist, executive director of partnership for Food Safety Education. Aside from mold, there are no other visible signs that tomato sauce is past its peak. “You can’t see, smell, or taste the bacteria that can cause a foodborne illness,” says Feist. She recommends always reheating sauce to 145 degrees before using it to kill any bacteria that is a result of mild spoilage.

One way to retain the life of marinara sauce is by removing it from its original packaging. “While it is safe to store the food in the can, it will retain better flavor if transferred to a glass or plastic storage container,” says Fiest.”

Source: How Long Does Pasta Sauce Last in the Refrigerator? | Martha Stewart

David Lindsay:  I got food poisoning from the meat and vegetable marinara I made last night, and I’m confident that the culprit was the 8 day old marinara sauce. I asked google if I could wash the meat and vegetables, and reuse them with new marinara. Google couldn’t process this level of complexity.

I called my doctor, Robert Henry’s office, and it was 10 minutes before closing. I was put through to a nurse, but she didn’t take my call. Henry’s office is all business, and no customer service.

I called Dr. Bill Fischer, who hasn’t practiced in 26 years, and he said the question was weird, but he had no idea, but he eats old and out of date food all the time with out ever having any consequences. He recommended I leave the questionable food out  in the compost, or near the compost for the animals.

I then called Dr. Susan Gobel, and the pathologist thought it was an excellent question. She said, “The most common causes of food poisoning are killed by heat: salmonella, E.coli etc.  Blast everything with heat. Broil the remains in a flat pan at say 500 degrees till it all turns a little crispy.”

I will report back with the results of this little almost scientific experiment. As they say in Star Trek, Live dangerously and Prosper.

Jamelle Bouie | Why We Are Not Facing the Prospect of a Second Civil War – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/15/opinion/why-we-are-not-facing-the-prospect-of-a-second-civil-war.html

“. . . .  Plantation agriculture rapidly exhausted the soil. The sectional balance of Congress aside, planters needed new land to grow the cotton that secured their influence on the national (and international) stage. As Karp explains, “Slaveholders in the 1850s seldom passed up an opportunity to sketch the inexorable syllogism of King Cotton: the American South produced nearly all the world’s usable raw cotton; this cotton fueled the industrial development of the North Atlantic; therefore, the advanced economies of France, the northern United States, and Great Britain were ruled, in effect, by southern planters.” The backlash to slavery — the effort to restrain its growth and contain its spread — was an existential threat to the Southern elite.

It was the realization of that threat with the election of Abraham Lincoln — whose Republican Party was founded to stop the spread of slavery and who inherited a federal state with the power to do so — that pushed the Southern elite to gamble its future on secession. They would leave the union and attempt to forge a slave empire on their own.”

David Lindsay: This is a great essay, and it had me struggling with the hope it is right. The following comment helped articulate some of my reservations.

haigh

The majority of southerners did not benefit from slavery and even the plantation owners could have paid salaries and possibly made higher profits, as F.L. Olmstead believed he had proven after taking a year off from his practice to study the issue. He was shocked that friends who owned plantations were not interested in his findings- he decided the reason was that it was absolute power and not profit that motivated devotion to slavery. However, civil wars, like traffic accidents, are caused by different things in different countries in different eras, and they are often the result of ethnic hatred, often hatred exploited by politicians seeking power. Ignorance and resentment are key and the GOP donor elite has spent the last 50 years recruiting voters who embrace ignorance and resentment. These mostly boil down to very superstitious religious constructs and resentment, even hatred, of the professional class and “non-whites”. These people, seemingly allergic to exercising deductive reasoning, have never in our history been so concentrated in a single party, and like drunk passengers on a boat, if they all congregate on one side, the boat may capsize. This has led to a largely dysfunctional government, but however well armed many members of the GOP base may be, our military would have to split up against itself to create a civil war. More violent civil unrest is the more likely outcome to our current situation.

4 Replies200 Recommended

Greg Weiner | There Is Another Democrat A.O.C. Should Be Mad At – The New York Times

Mr. Weiner is a political scientist who was a senior Senate aide to Bob Kerrey, Democrat of Nebraska.

“Progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives can be forgiven their anxiety about whether Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona will support the more than $1.8 trillion Build Back Better plan. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for example, rues the two senators’ outsize influence, while her colleague Rashida Tlaib of Michigan worries that Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema are “corporate Dems” led astray by special interests.

But if disappointed progressives are looking for a Democrat to blame, they should consider directing their ire toward one of their party’s founders: James Madison. Madison’s Constitution was built to thwart exactly what Democrats have been attempting: a race against time to impose vast policies with narrow majorities. Madison believed that one important function of the Constitution was to ensure sustained consensus before popular majorities could prevail.

Democrats do represent a popular majority now. But for Madison, that “now” is the problem: He was less interested in a snapshot of a moment in constitutional time than in a time-lapse photograph showing that a majority had cohered. The more significant its desires, Madison thought, the longer that interval of coherence should be. The monumental scale of the Build Back Better plan consequently raises a difficult Madisonian question: Is a fleeting and narrow majority enough for making history?”

Margaret Renkl | For the Butterflies — and the Rest of Us – The New York Times

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

“NASHVILLE — For Christmas last year, my husband ordered a sign for my butterfly garden from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit that works to protect insects and other invertebrates around the world. “Pollinator Habitat,” the sign reads. “This area has been planted with pollinator-friendly flowers and is protected from pesticides to provide valuable habitat for bees and other pollinators.” A note about where to find out more information includes a QR code that takes a smartphone straight to the Xerces Society’s “Bring Back the Pollinators” initiative.

National Pollinator Week begins on June 21, which is also the first full day of summer, a season we associate with bees and butterflies. What better time to launch an awareness campaign for the insects that are directly responsible for food and flowers? And what awareness campaign could be more necessary in an age when insect populations are crashing? Most of us know a butterfly when we see one, but their habits and habitat needs — and the perils they face — are another matter altogether.”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

Wonderful essay, thank you. I’ve joined No Mow May, and put up a Pollinator Way sign. To my pleasant surprise, the Republicans on both side of my yard also this spring did not mow their lawns till May was almost over. Bonding with Republicans over lawn care, who would have thought. There are still dozens of neighbors not yet onboard. The best solution would be a town or state ban on pesticides for home owners. We are enjoying fireflies in our back yard, but there are just a few, when there used to be hundreds.

By Margaret Renkl | Feeding the Hungry, One Wholesome Meal at a Time – The New York Times

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

“NASHVILLE — When Tallu Schuyler Quinn started handing out sandwiches in Nashville’s homeless camps, she was responding to a need that seemed both obvious and intractable. People were hungry, and she fed them. In a few hours, they would be hungry again.

That was 2007, the year she established a Nashville branch of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a nonprofit based in Austin, Texas. In 2009, Ms. Quinn planted an organic vegetable garden because hungry people need more than calories; they need nutritious calories. In 2010, when a devastating flood hit Middle Tennessee, she was ready — her team delivered 19,000 meals in just three weeks. Ms. Quinn was 30 years old.

As these efforts grew, the question of how to feed hungry people became Ms. Quinn’s life’s work. In 2011, she founded the Nashville Food Project, an organization whose mission is “Bringing people together to grow, cook and share nourishing food, with the goals of cultivating community and alleviating hunger in our city.” ” . . .

Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications – The New York Times

“All over the world, countries are confronting population stagnation and a fertility bust, a dizzying reversal unmatched in recorded history that will make first-birthday parties a rarer sight than funerals, and empty homes a common eyesore.

Maternity wards are already shutting down in Italy. Ghost cities are appearing in northeastern China. Universities in South Korea can’t find enough students, and in Germany, hundreds of thousands of properties have been razed, with the land turned into parks.

Like an avalanche, the demographic forces — pushing toward more deaths than births — seem to be expanding and accelerating. Though some countries continue to see their populations grow, especially in Africa, fertility rates are falling nearly everywhere else. Demographers now predict that by the latter half of the century or possibly earlier, the global population will enter a sustained decline for the first time.  . . . “

David Lindsay: Whoa, this is a really bad report. Population growth as a requirement is so 19th century. Luckily, I’m no longer the only commentor here at the Times tooting the overpopulation horn. Here are two of the top comments, I recommended:

DDavid O. HillMemphis, TennesseeMay 23

These scary stories about the world collapsing due to a decrease in births come from demographers who seem to know little about global ecology. The 7.4 billion people alive today have put unsustainable pressures on the atmosphere (climate change), the oceans (where fisheries are collapsing and coral reefs are dying), species extinctions everywhere, forests (just look at current lumber prices), garbage disposal (think of the masses of plastic in the oceans), etc., etc. The truth is that a greatly reduced human population is our last best hope for the survival of civilization as we know it.

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Buster Dee commented May 23 BBuster DeeJamal, CaliforniaMay 23

I see an opportunity. A world of rising population is a world of increasing environmental challenges and devalued workers. Flat or declining populations gives technology a chance to better deal with our pollution and CO2 concerns. It gives the ocean’s a better chance to restock. It means that young workers will have less competition for work. The problem of course is the loss of the ever growing base of the pyramid upon which our economies are grown. It is not necessarily insurmountable. It does mean a reimagining beyond the capabilities of our current political parties. I say bring it on.

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