Capturing heat: Five earth-friendly cooking technologies and how to build them

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We believe it is better to do this, than to invest 10, dollars once in a young man, to give him training, a few acres of land, and a little equipment so he could grow food for himself and enough to pay his mortgage or, gasp, build a house without one. Now the reason for this is that it is deemed to create jobs to do it this way - the military base commander, the drill sergeant, the people who build military housing, body armor and tanks, the fast food place where the soldier eats, the government administrator that helps his family get food stamps because the military pays so poorly, the VA doctors that help him rehabilitate, the Halliburton employees that supply food and transport, the people who manufacture the body bags - all of them get a little piece of this, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of times.

On the other hand, if we had spent that same money setting the same man up as a small scale subsistence farmer, how many people would have gotten jobs out of that?

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Certainly the manufacturer of hoes, nails and boots, maybe even small horse drawn or efficient tractor equipment. The sawmill guy who cut the boards to build his barn, the logger who cut the trees for house and barn, some seed growers and a feed store. Maybe the local diner once in a while. Heck, if he could have land outside a city, he could do it with a bicycle cart. The answer to the military industrial complex is pretty simple. It runs on money. It runs on our money. It runs on the money we pay in taxes for things we buy, and the money we pay on taxes from money we earn.

Stop earning so much money, stop buying so much stuff, and the economy slows and the taxes stop pouring in. If enough of us cut our expenses, and our earnings to the bone, if enough of us stop being willing to fund this war and the next one, stop being willing to buy the oil that the war is about and the garbage about the way of life that the war is about - it will stop. Congress has tried not very courageously and failed miserably to cut off funds.

But guess what - their funds come from …me. We just have decide it is worth it to us to make some economic sacrifices if we can - I know everyone cannot, but many of us could , rather than sacrifice the lives of young men and women. Your job is probably make work. Most of our work is.

Or perhaps it is a little necessary - but perhaps not full-time, suck you dry necessary. I know you need a job to eat, to pay your taxes, to pay your mortgage.

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We do that too. But every dollar you earn above the absolute necessities, and every dollar you spend in the larger economy helps feed the war machine, and the economy that supports it. And it lends credence to the basic presumption that the largest purpose of our economy is to give us make work.


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I know you want economic security, a nice nest egg for retirement, a comfortable home, a pretty house. But all those things make globalization, and the wars that enable it possible. Is it worth it?

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Now maybe it would be morally acceptable to do make work, regardless of its collateral damage, if there was nothing else important to do. Our make work is cutting into the time we could spend playing with our kids, or educating them, taking care of elderly people we love or volunteering with others. It cuts into our time for community building, chopping wood, growing gardens, cleaning up messes, avoiding pollutants, being frugal, cooking dinner, making love, stopping the war.

This is hard. How do we do this? We start rethinking our relationship to our work. If you can, one spouse quits their job, or gets a new one doing something that is useful and important. Or both of you drop your hours back and work less. Maybe you are just getting by where you are, but living in a less expensive place, or taking in your sister as a roommate, or caring for your parents would make it easier.

Ok, but those of us who can, need to. Each year, perhaps we can grow a little more food or buy a little less, live more within our means and make our means a little smaller. And some people can slip out of the public economy altogether and become war tax protestors. But we could make less, spend less, give more to the causes we care about directly, and less to the war effort and the public economy.

The bad news is that if enough of us did this, it would crash the public economy. The reality, however is that a crash in the public economy is probably inevitable, and more importantly, sometimes you have to break some eggs. Economists are fine with this when, for example, we are trashing our manufacturing sector and throwing people out of work - then it is called creative destruction. Not stealing money from other people, not enslaving them makes the people who had been stealing and slaving less rich. But some things you do because they are right, not because they are expedient. Ceasing to fund evil, ceasing to support imperialism you do because it is right.

That is, most people in the world get their eating money and the things they need not from their company who is traded on a stock market, but from Raoul down the road who repairs shoes and takes chickens, and from Mama who loaned us enough money to buy the house without interest, and from cousin Lao who trades work with you at harvest time. The peasant economy, as Teodor Shanin, the sociologist who named it observes, is robust, vital and alive, and based on networks of family and community.

And we could live far more in the peasant economy than we do now. Many of us could live fairly comfortably deriving most of our income from the communal and peasant economy, with just enough participation in the larger economy to pay taxes, buy a few luxuries and visit people now and again. Getting out of the public economy does not mean living in poverty - it simply means living differently. The people in the world who most need to quit their jobs, or cut back their earnings, to work less or live on one income, or a collection of half incomes are the richest people in the world.

We pay taxes that fund the war. We buy the crap that funds our trade deficit. We burn the oil that warms the planet, and get people to make stuff for us by burning oil and then shipping that stuff to us. It is, I fear, simply not possible to be rich and not be complicit with doing a great deal of harm.

So one of the projects we all have to address is how to be less rich. How to live on less. How to earn less. How to have security with less. Unfortunately, it is true. And true is better than the lies we want to tell ourselves. And if it is true, we have to change - period. For a lot of us, now is a good time to start seasonal eating - there is a lot of food being produced right now.

So commit, this week, to making a couple of seasonal meals, where most or all of the ingredients are things that are locally available. The thing about eating this way is that it is so much better tasting than regular food, and it makes everything special. When asparagus is in season, we eat it as often as we can, and then we talk about it dreamily occasionally for months…but to have it at another time would diminish the pleasure. The children visit the little white berries every day, and we dream of them at night.

But none of us wants to rush it with something old and false and not as flavorful. Then come the grapes and apples, the first cravings for hearty roots, dried beans, stews and squash. We await the late apples, and the first frosts that sweeten the brussels sprouts and kale, and even in the winter there are new flavors - the taste of sugary parsnips dug out of the ground in December and February, the first bok choy flush on the sun porch in January, the old hen in the pot for chicken and dumplings, the apples and squash that taste best after a few months in storage somehow transformed into something transcendent.

It depends on where you are, of course. In some places not too much. In others, all of summer bounty is already out. What can you make with that? Well, I made a salad nicoise the other day. I mixed all the greens with chives and sorrel, hardboiled some eggs, steamed some asparagus and added a can of tuna and some steamed potatoes from last year. We made a dijon vinagrette, and it was absolutely delicious with some home baked bread and white bean spread cooked white beans, fresh sage and chives, garlic, lemon.


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What else could you do with it? We look forward to fresh spring greens. He has also invested in LightSail Energy , a company developing technology that uses compressed air to store energy by capturing the excess heat generated from mechanical energy like a piston that is usually wasted. Gates is an investor in Carbon Engineering , a company that is commercializing technology to capture CO2 directly from the air.

After processing, the pure CO2 that is captured can be sequestered underground or sold for use in industrial processes as ultra-low emissions fuel. Among them are a network of sensors in the Brazilian rain forest to study conditions and help scientists understand how the ecosystem affects climate and vice versa. The Joulemeter project makes it possible to measure the energy usage of virtual machines, servers, desktops, laptops and individual software applications running on a computer so that power in data centers can be managed more efficiently.

In addition to investing as a member of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has put money into General Fusion , a Canadian company that is using an unorthodox technology to develop commercially viable fusion energy. For decades, scientists have been trying to capture nuclear fusion, the process by which the sun generates energy, because it is non-polluting, safe and produces no greenhouse gas emissions. As a company, Amazon is committed to eventually running completely on renewable energy.

In April , 25 percent of the power consumed by its infrastructure came from renewable resources. By the end of , it aims to reach 40 percent with energy coming from its wind farms in development in Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio, and its solar farm in Virginia.

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The company has also developed three solar plants in North Carolina and one in Nevada. As well, Apple will build megawatts worth of solar projects across China on top of its existing 40 megawatts of solar projects in Sichuan Province to offset the energy used in its supply chain. In the future, the company plans to install more than 2 gigawatts of new renewable energy in China. Foxconn, a major Apple supplier, is also planning to build megawatts of solar projects in Henan Province by There is also speculation that Apple is developing an electric vehicle for , code-named Project Titan.

Electric vehicles, especially if the electricity comes from renewable sources, are key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions since 14 percent of global CO2 emissions come from transportation. They have joined Bill Gates in launching the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to invest in clean tech and alternative energy technologies. Google and its founders are invested in myriad strategies to combat climate change. Inverters are devices that take direct current from solar panels and batteries and convert it into alternating current for use in homes, businesses and cars.

Usually, inverters are the size of picnic coolers, but creating an inverter that is smaller than a laptop will enable broader use of solar power, more efficient distributed grids and help bring electricity to remote areas. They beat out over 2, teams by creating a 2kW inverter with the highest power density and smallest volume, 10 times more compact than commercial inverters. Larry Page, co-founder of Google, has invested in Tesla Motors , which is developing long-range battery powered electric vehicles and batteries for storage.

He is also a board member of and contributor, along with Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, to the X Prize Foundation that sponsors competitions in several categories including energy and environment. Other X Prize competition ideas under consideration include developing a battery with vast improvements in energy density and cycle life; electrifying roads so that electrical vehicles can be charged while they are driving, and creating a personal flying machine.

The self-driving cars that Google has been developing will begin offering rides for hire and soon become a discrete business unit under Alphabet.

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Realize that the over-the-range microwave might be not only difficult, but also dangerous for the average consumer. And the dishwasher? Consider the array of other appliances in drawer formats, such as microwaves, refrigerators, warming drawers, and ice makers. When dedicating space to a built-in refrigerator, cautions Peterson, make sure that the space allotted never extends beyond the counter top.

When installing a free-standing fridge, a inch depth is a good rule of thumb. A mini-kitchen built right into a master suite may just be the only private place in some households for a morning cup of coffee. In this room, make sure there are plenty of electrical outlets to accommodate appliances such as a microwave for quick coffee warm-ups, and a mini-fridge for those middle-of-the-night ice cream indulgences.

Gardening along the creek Baking without an electric or gas oven

Most households have more than one cook in the kitchen, so how about two sinks? A prep sink, in addition to the main sink, will create a separate work zone. A bar sink in the nearby dining or family room creates more possibilities when entertaining. Working sinks are often two-to-three inches deeper today, accommodating larger pots and pans and keeping splashing to a minimum. Stylish options range from apron sinks also known as farm sinks to sleek, contemporary stainless steel designs.

And how about a pop of color? The sink faucet has been re-imagined, too. The Kohler Karbon articulated arm is a great option for the mobility challenged.



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