Water out of fish

Water out of fish
by Joel Preston Smith (Sound Consumer magazine, 2012)

“Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish.”
  — Comedian Steven Wright

There’s more than enough fish in the sea.

The oceans are dying.

Don’t worry.


The histrionic debate over whether fish stocks are healthy, or whether they’re on the verge of collapse, has consumers lost at sea. The two most prominent scientists in the controversy stand on opposite shores; Ray Hilborn of the University of Washington argues, in essence, we’re worrying needlessly. For the fishing industry, he’s… Read More »


by Joel Preston Smith

BioSteel® is a product created from an animal-animal transgenic combination. Scientists at Nexia Biotechnologies … isolated the gene for silk protein from a spider capable of spinning silk fibers—one of the strongest yet most resilient substances known—and inserted it in the genome of a goat’s egg prior to fertilization. When the transgenic female goats matured, they produced milk containing the protein from which spider silk is made. The fiber artificially created from this silk protein has several potentially valuable uses, such as making lightweight, strong, yet supple bulletproof vests.

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Biosolids hit the fan

From Sound Consumer magazine
(March 2012)

When Alice Cho Snyder and her husband Mark bought a 13-acre farm near Everett, Wash., last July, they thought they were going to be organic farmers, not the epicenter of a biosolids storm. Shortly after the Snyders closed on the property, Snohomish County officials notified the couple that biosolids were slated to be applied on 250 acres of land bordering their property.

“Biosolids” is a recycling industry term for sewage sludge that has been treated to remove most (or in some cases, nearly all) pathogens. After being somewhat defanged, biosolids are used as fertilizer or soil amendments.

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Off the hook

by Joel Preston Smith

The federal government recently acknowledged that salmon have a hard time swimming through concrete walls. It’s too late for the native sockeye salmon population on the Elwah River—they’re extinct—but the dozers are rolling, and the two tombs that for the past 99 years have buried 70 miles of wild river are finally coming down. Engineers recently resurrected the Elwha after a century-long sleep. On March 16, workers removed a final barrier around the Elwha Dam, allowing the river to flow in its native channel for the first time since 1912, when developers in northwest Washington decided the state needed… Read More »

Preparation 500

Preparation 500
From The Bear Deluxe magazine (June 2011)
1912 words

To our modern way of thinking, this all sounds quite insane.
– Rudolf Steiner, Lectures on Agriculture, 1924

Allan Balliett got sick in 1980. It came on as a flurry of symptoms, all of which seemed to take roost at once, and no one knew what was wrong or how to fix it. A systems analyst for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., Balliet suddenly found himself fatigued, his hair falling out “by the handfuls,” too weak and unfocused to adequately unravel the federal computer network. He says he “serial napped” on weekends 40 hours or… Read More »

Distributing the Pain

From The Bear Deluxe magazine

If nature is not a cathedral, then perhaps it is a town meeting, and none the worse for it—a place of intellectual inquiry, give and take, and above all, human responsibility, a place where people seek the truth, bound only by the constraints of common sense and common decency, a place where people make decisions and learn from the consequences.  — Stephen Budiansky, Nature’s Keepers: The New Science of Nature Management (The Free Press: 1995)

You think that because you understand one, that you must therefore understand two, because one and one is two. But you forget that you must also understand… Read More »

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