BlueGreen World

Friday, December 22, 2017

Test - Toyota TDI at Work, 2017

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Logical Inconsistencies of "Humane" Meat

An excerpt from the book published one year ago, The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals, by James McWilliams.

The primary problem with condemning factory farming while continuing to eat animals from nonindustrial sources comes down to this basic point: doing so demands selective moral consideration. This is another way of saying that eating “humanely” raised animals requires a double standard, with welfare standards applied differently to factory farms and small farms. Opponents of factory farming who support nonindustrial alternatives because they care about animals’ welfare thus find themselves trapped in what seems to be a logical inconsistency. Let’s bore into that inconsistency.
The rationale applied to animals in factory farms goes something like this: animals have feelings that are worthy of our moral consideration; animals are not objects; their welfare matters; therefore they do not deserve the abusive confines and unavoidable suffering of factory farms. These beliefs assume that animals have emotional lives, experience suffering as a result of being raised inhumanely, and thus have moral relevance. This recognition means that animals’ capacity to suffer, while perhaps different in degree from our own, is nonetheless meaningful and familiar enough for humans to demand that animals be spared the abuses endemic to industrial animal agriculture. To reiterate a key point: that we believe these animals should not suffer in confinement affirms a basic respect for their existence as sentient beings. They can suffer, and we should avoid inflicting suffering whenever possible. The logic on this point seems tight.
But when we apply this moral consideration to nonindustrial farms, things fall apart. The moral standard applied to nonindustrial farms should be the same as that applied to factory farms. The core premises should still pertain: animals have feelings; they are not objects; their welfare matters; they deserve to live lives conducive to their general interests. These premises are (we will assume for now) often adequately met on small, sustainable, “humane” animal farms. Nevertheless, we must not forget that even on small, sustainable, humane farms, animals are raised for the ultimate purpose of being killed and turned into commodities. Matters therefore undergo an abrupt change when we extend moral consideration beyond the question of how animals are raised to the much more troubling question of their death. At this crucial crossroad in a farm animal’s life—the human choice to slaughter the animal—the moral consideration we applied to factory-farmed animals suddenly— violently—disappears. And that’s a problem.
Michael Pollan, who we’ve seen clearly affirm the inherent worth of farm animals, has dismissed the moment of an animal’s death as essentially insignificant. He has said, “what’s wrong with animal agriculture—with eating animals—is the practice, not the principle.” Death, in other words, is only one day. Give animals a good life, take them down when they least expect it, and these creatures will never know what hit them. We owe animals, not to mention humans, a better explanation than “death is only one day.” Death is serious business that, for farm animals, denies them a future they’d otherwise have had. It also poses a major problem for the supporters of nonindustrial alternatives. Recall that in our application of moral consideration to factory farming, the animal’s death is never mentioned. It doesn’t have to be. The entire cycle of life on a factory farm is so abhorrent as to be dismissed outright as morally corrosive at every turn. Life is horrible for the animal; death is horrible for the animal; factory farming is horrible for the animal; the whole thing is horrible, horrible, and horrible. No more questions, no reason to draw a distinction between life and death, no reason to discern between how an animal is raised and why an animal is killed. The question of death is rendered moot and thus not considered when we condemn factory farms.
Now recall the primary reason concerned consumers believe farm animals should be raised in nonindustrial settings. They want animals removed from factory farms (at least in part) because they believe correctly that animals experience undue suffering on factory farms. Their suffering, as these critics see it, is significant. A pasture-based agricultural system is favored as an alternative to restore to animals a sense of dignity and the opportunity to live lives more or less free of human-imposed restrictions that cause suffering. I’m going to aggressively question this assumption in upcoming chapters, but for now let’s assume that our desire for farm animals to be treated well is satisfactorily fulfilled on a humanely managed nonindustrial farm. Let’s assume that animals have space to roam, can choose what to eat, and may even have sex under the warm sun on a breezy afternoon. They can, in essence, enjoy a more natural and pleasurable quality of life. This substantial reduction of suffering is fully consistent with our stated moral concern for farm animals, which led us to condemn factory farms and support their nonindustrial alternatives in the first place. The moral benefit of a nonindustrial farm is that it grants to animals the pleasure-inducing freedoms denied to them by factory farms. We believe they have a basic right to these pleasurable freedoms due to their sentience. So we grant them that right and feel good about doing so.
But then there’s that moment that every animal producer and consumer must confront: slaughter. Recall that if our moral consideration for animals is genuine, we must apply that consideration to the entire cycle of the supposedly humane alternative. And that cycle includes an animal’s early and intentional death. This inclusion reveals something troubling, if generally unrecognized in our common discourse on the tenets of responsible agriculture. It reveals that, on nonindustrial farms—just as in factory farms— farmers kill and commodify the animals they are raising. Intentional death is the essential feature of both systems. This claim is neither melodrama nor overstatement. It is a fact. Without systematic animal death, you have no animal farm—factory or otherwise, big or small, conventional or organic. It might take longer to get an animal to slaughter weight in the alternative arrangement, and that animal might have a lot more fun having sex and eating real food, but that animal’s foundational and functional role in the system remains exactly the same as in the factory farm: to get fat fast, die relatively young, and feed people food they do not need to eat.
Our stated moral consideration for animals—and thus the moral argument for small-scale farms—crumbles on this point. To end a sentient animal’s life is to suddenly objectify the animal after previously treating her as a subject worthy of moral consideration. That’s inconsistent. That this decision is made well before the animal reaches even the prime of her life not only makes the “humane” alternative similar in its most essential aspect to factory farming, but is entirely out of sync with the moral consideration we’ve granted to animals in the first place. That the death is for the production of a commodity for personal profit cheapens the reality even more so.
We say we care about animals. We say it all the time. We say we care about them enough to urge a wholesale restructuring of the food system to promote their welfare as nonobjectified animals. We say it, moreover, because we mean it, because we’re decent, because we have compassion. However, in a whiplash-inducing shift in moral logic, not to mention behavior, we suddenly ignore our concern and decide to end our consideration of these animals’ emotional lives by killing them. No matter how you slice it, killing a healthy animal for food we do not need, no matter how the animal was raised, is never consistent with that animal’s welfare. In the end, it mocks our original assertion of their moral worth.
This death, no matter how “humane,” no matter how respectfully administered, no matter how thickly clothed in feel-good rationalizations (“it had a good life”), essentially negates the moral consideration that inspired us to condemn factory farms in the first place. You can’t claim to truly care about an animal, alter her environment to demonstrate your care for that animal, and then, when the animal is nowhere near even the middle of her natural life, kill the animal for no vital reason. Doing so is morally and logically inconsistent. It’s worse than ambiguous. It’s wrong. It is, alas, the omnivore’s contradiction.
From “The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals” by James McWilliams. Copyright © 2015 by James McWilliams and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ah, that wonder filled moment when you are suddenly strong. It might come in front of an audience when you say exactly what you want to say exactly the way you want to say it (ah, I miss that). It might come when you ace a test, finish a painting, or complete a composition. Sometimes it's a line down a snow covered cliff. For me today it was 20 miles on the Blur in a gear I would not have attempted except that it just felt right... I didn't need to shift. (But I always shift here...) My breathing felt even and rhythmic, and everything flowed. My back only voiced mild complaints. It's a sublime feeling - unexpected. I wish everyone could feel the equivalent more often, but rarity is what makes it so lovely. It comes unexpectedly sometimes, which strikes me as funny and reminds me how unaware I am even when I think I have a solid handle on my state and surroundings. It also comes after pushing - for years - to get to such a moment. It is not without great effort. There is no food, drink, drug, or ingestible equal to the reward you get when your body and mind sync and you are suddenly, unusually strong. Do the work, break the sweat, ignore the people calling you selfish, keep on pushing, and be grateful for it. Savor it. If I am lucky, when I am old, I will be able to remember such rare spikes in strength, my relative youth, and my health as I lay on my back with L4-L5-S1 crumbling. Hills fall behind me before I know it and wind and snowmelt water woosh past my helmeted head along with green and yellow mules ear, columbine, monkshood, paintbrush, lupin, snowplant, pink pussy paws crouched low to the dirt and flying by, with the buckbrush, pine and fir filling my nose and nothing else but speed, gravity and a trail in my wide watering eyes and a nearly indescribable tranquility on my smiling, grateful little mind.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Fixing the Dynaglo Pro kerosene forced air heater, Model KFA70TDGP.  
(because in a bluegreen world, you fix things instead of just throwing them away.)

Not the quasi-philosophical post you expected? Good. Too much of that will keep you useless in a user's world. Know how to repair your stuff. Take responsibility for what you own, what you need, what you use, and for your spiritual and intellectual health. As philosopher/greasemonkey Matthew Crawford observes in his book Shop Class as Soulcraft, 

"The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, because he has no real effect in the world. But the tradesman must reckon with the infallible judgement of reality, where one's failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away. His well-founded pride is far from the gratuitous "self-esteem" that educators would impart to students, as though my magic."

While a seemingly natural segway into lamenting the demise of shop class in schools across the USA, among other topics, I'll let this excerpt stand alone and relate how to fix your heater, abstractions aside. 

The Dyna-glo Pro kerosene forced air heater, Model KFA70TDGP, vintage ~ 2007-2009 +, is a Home Depot offered heater that I bought because I recognized its potential to run bioDiesel, which I power my vehicles with. It accepts Kerosene (K1 or #1 fuel oil), or Diesel #1 & #2. Close enough: anything that will run Diesel or Kerosene will run at least a low blend of bioDiesel, possibly a high blend, too. For the last 5 years, I've run biodiesel blends of 20-50% through it without a single moment of maintenance. It is a great heater and has never even faltered. But last week, it finally started faltering, running for 1-2 minutes then flickering and finally stopping with a puff of very stinky smoke. Time for maintenance. Plus, it's -6F out.

Found the manual, eventually: June 23 2009.

Download this: it might not be around for long. It in itself is a good manual, and it includes models RMC-KFA125TDGP and RMC-KFA170TDGP, which I don't have and which this write-up doesn't address. 

I possess an unremarkable combination of fearlessness and naivete, which means, among other things, that I am grateful to have nearly reached forty years of age without losing digits, limbs, eyes, etc... There are scars: don't get me wrong. But I have somehow weathered most of these escapades in which I tear into something unfamiliar and fix it, which only reinforces my willingness to repeat such folly. 

Problem: ignition of the fuel. The fuel ignites but soon fizzles out and then puffs smoke. A single flashing red light ("E1") tells me that it can mean about a dozen different things. In we go. 

I decided to see mow much ignition I actually had: look near the center of the video below and watch for the flickering purple flame. That's the ignitor working well enough to tell me it's not the problem.

Better video available here: 
But let's back up. You'll need a few different Phillips head screwdrivers, a 10mm open end box wrench, rags, and if you're afraid of losing screws, Ziploc bags and a sharpie to label where everything goes. Power cord, fire extinguisher, safety glasses, & nylon or rubber gloves. Clear a workspace on a workbench if possible and clean parts as you go. Listening to some N.W.A. while you work will keep you smiling and confident. 

 Here is how the heater works - from the manual: 

"Fuel System : This heater is equipped with an electric air pump that forces air through the air line connected to the fuel intake and then through a nozzle in the burner head. When the air passes in front of the fuel intake it causes fuel to rise from the tank and into the burner nozzle. This fuel and air mixture is then sprayed into the combustion chamber in a fine mist. 

Sure Fire Ignition: The electronic ignitor sends voltage to a specially designed spark plug. The spark plug ignites the fuel and air mixture described above. 

The Air System : The heavy duty motor turns a fan that forces air into and around the combustion chamber. Here the air is heated and then forced out the front of the heater."

So, upon opening the sides (thermostat/power switch side and then cord wrap side), you can then remove the entire top cover and handle. Here are the heater components, all actually nicely laid out and serviceable. You can see that there's the pressure gauge, air pressure hose, fuel line going down into the tank below, an ignitor with spark plugs, the tube the flame exits, a photocell that looks impossible to remove (and is tricky), a fan and motor, etc... 

Suffice to say that I suspected a mere cleaning was all I needed to do. Years of bioDiesel use (I filtered it all well, never emptying a can into the heater for fear of adding bottom contaminants) all suggested that I needed to clean an orifice, fuel filter, fuel line, air filter(s) and whatever else may make this thing work. 

The first thing evident to me was a cracked end at the pressure gauge. I trimmed it after ensuring that there was enough tube remaining to recreate a tight fit. Pressure for this model should be 3.7psi, and there is a slotted pressure adjust nob near the gauge. Adjust this after everything is done and your heater works again.

The second thing I feared was that the photocell had become covered in a fine soot. I removed it (after removing the main firing tube and burner assembly) and gently cleaned it with a lint-free rag folded over the eraser on a pencil. Only mildly dirty. I made sure alignment was proper, too (see manual). The temperature control limit sensor was dirty and got cleaned, too. 

As with all things Diesel-powered, the fuel filter needs to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Since parts for this aren't available anywhere I found, I continued to pull the entire machine apart, separating the fuel tank, the motor and fan assembly, etc... I removed the fuel filter and blew it clean with compressed air, checking fuel flow by blowing through it both ways afterward. It didn't look dirty, but was, based on the different pressures before and after cleaning. Next, I got into the orifice (shutup, Beavis). It vaporizes the fuel that instantly gets ignited by the forked ignitor. I blew it clean for several minutes each way. I then removed that spark plug assembly. It's gap had widened, so I reset the gap to the specified .140", or 3.5mm. The average spark plug gap measuring device from Napa won't work. Use calipers.

Inside of burner assembly: orifice and ignitor/spark plug are visible.
DynaGlo Pro KFA70TDGP kerosens heater, burner assembly, orifice, & ignitor

I tightened the electrodes to which the plug wires attach, as they were surprisingly loose. The plug wires were in good shape and shiny. I drained the fuel tank, then rinsed with pure kerosene (which I never use), then drained it completely again. Definitely some gunk in there.

At the back of the unit, there are two air filters, one of which can be cleaned/washed, one of which needs to be replaced. I blew the latter out with the air compressor and it shot off a layer of the filter. Damn. But, I was able to save the rest of it and it's much cleaner. I cannot find filters anywhere. A piece of felt would work if you run your heater in a dusty environment. I gently cleaned the black room temp sensor with a lint free rag, too. 

So with the exception of taking apart the orifice assembly (which you can do, as depicted in the manual: you can even replace it at your local hardware store, too, in theory), I removed and cleaned everything inside the heater. 

And that's all it needed - a complete cleaning. Diesel stuff needs unobstructed airflow and fuel flow. Several times throughout, I tested the heater to see what I was accomplishing and which step exactly solved the problem. The top of the heater can easily be laid on the heater and the heater started up. Label the two spark plug wires - write right on them which one is the top and which is the bottom of you have to.

DynaGlo Pro KFA70TDGP kerosene heater ignitor

I was lucky the photocell wasn't dead - that doesn't seem easy to replace. Perhaps it is. 

I ran the heater on the gallon of kerosene for awhile, then filled the tank with B20. (I use 20% bioDiesel and 80% Diesel #2). I watched it awhile to see how it burned. Familiarity told me it was again working just fine. 

 That's it. Save your heater, save yourself a couple hundred bucks. Wear eye protection and keep that fire extinguisher handy : ) Remember that Elvis loves you; be open to His guiding hand. 

Let there be heat! 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sitting in the sun surrounded by snow and this wonderful silence on a bright, warm winter's day, I try being patient. The teenage Jeffry pine, without another tree around it in any direction for a couple dozen feet, stands awkwardly, with its low branches drawn in all directions by the snow. It reaches for the sun while the snow endlessly freezes and thaws and bends the limbs closer to snapping.

The Jeffry keeps looking up. The snow has engulfed a good third of it. Some of those lower branches will break off, but most will survive and again point toward the sun in a few months. Even with their crowns broken, or bent to the ground, the tree will send up new branch to replace the crown (as one blue spruce here has done) or slowly rise back up. One wonders to what extent the tree knows that, over time, over decades, it will be able to escape such icy tortures. It will find itself as tall as the 100-plus year old Jeffrys 100 feet away whose wide trunks alone have snow around them. No branches are pulled down by the cold snow. The snow is in fact transformed into an insulating layer around the hearty base, and the four big pines in this group tower over the surrounding trees, looking toward mountaintops and valleys. They've suffered years of abuse. They sit on the edge of the road and are battered by machines' disproportionate loading of snow as storms break open and dump on the little Tyrolean village here. They must have been hit hard just 25 years ago when this place was developed, and then slowly grown high enough to keep their crowns above the fray; and now, they remain entirely above the 400" snow-load common during the six-month winters here.

Patience. Endurance. There is nothing in nature that doesn't suffer extremes. That's nature, by definition. These trees weathered great trials in their younger years, but are enjoying their older age. They have scars from accidents and various brushes with humans. Their skin has grown thick, creviced, wrinkled, stronger. They still have snow to contend with above, but they are not dragged down by the snow that grabs them from below. They are older, probably a little wiser, and persist in the face of a cold, grabbing iciness. I wonder how much they track the sun, like the "Walking Palms" in the tropical parts of the world that move over time out from under the shade of taller trees and into the open spaces that allow more light to shine on them. Both the tropical palm and the alpen pine look up to the sun. They keep their focus on the sun, on going up, and for the longer term. Blessed with other necessities (good soil, protective elders, water), some make it to the point where they will grow old and enjoy wide views and summer breezes. Their trials will fall only from heaven, but even those snows are blessings in disguise, providing the water they will need through summer. No base attacks from the common snow on the ground - just mild adversity that pales in comparison to when they were young.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Opts for Pared-Down Jobs Package;
Removes Tax Extenders/Biodiesel Tax Incentive

NBB Members Are Urged to Immediately Contact Senators and
Call for Inclusion of Biodiesel Tax in First Legislative Vehicle.

Consistent with multiple press reports over the past several weeks, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Finance Committee’s Ranking Member, had been working on a bipartisan Jobs package. On Thursday, February 11, 2010, Senators Baucus and Grassley unveiled the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act. Among its provisions, this legislation provided for a one year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive. Below you will find links to the bipartisan press release issued by the Senate Finance Committee and a link to the legislative text of the HIRE Act.

Press Release

Text of HIRE Act

Subsequent to the Senate Finance Committee’s unveiling of their package, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), affirmatively decided to jettison major components of the HIRE Act and will attempt to move forward the week on February 22, 2010 with a scaled back Jobs package that currently does not include an extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.

Senator Reid was quoted as saying after the Thursday Democratic Caucus meeting "No one can dispute we have a jobs bill," he added. "We're not going to confuse this with tax extenders." Senator Reid has signaled an intention to address other items, such as tax extenders, in subsequent legislation, but provided no concrete plan on how or when this would happen.
NBB distributed a strong response urging the Senate to include the tax incentive in the first possible vehicle.

The affirmative decision to remove tax extenders – which includes the biodiesel tax incentive – is clearly an unwelcome development. Further delay will cause even more harm for the U.S. biodiesel industry. It is imperative that that all NBB members and biodiesel stakeholders contact their Senators immediately with the following message:

Delaying consideration of the biodiesel tax incentive is unacceptable. The longer the credit lapses, the more jobs will be lost. Retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax incentive must be addressed immediately and be included in the first legislative vehicle moving in the Senate that is going to get signed into law.

Thank you for your help. NBB’s Washington, DC Office will continue to closely monitor this issue and provide updates as warranted.

Michael C. Frohlich
National Biodiesel Board

Thursday, July 09, 2009