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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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 »

Swine defense (essay on specious ‘cures’ for swine flu)

Swine defense
From In Good Tilth magazine, Spring 2010

Swine flu is now widespread in 48 U.S. states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, told health officials July 3 in Mexico that the “virus is now unstoppable.” 

Add the scarcity of H1N1 vaccine, distrust over the safety of the vaccine itself, and growing demand for alternative or self-prescribed medicine, and it all adds up to an excellent marketing op for unscrupulous businesses preying on a fearful, and suspicious public. Consequently, herbal remedies for swine flu are all the… Read More »

Night of a Thousand Stars

Night of a Thousand Stars
From Night of a Thousand Stars and Other Portraits of Iraq (Nazraeli Press: 2006)

At 11:30 p.m. on the night of Jan. 17, 1991, the first Tomahawk missile fired in the Gulf War left its launch platform aboard the U.S.S. San Jacinto in the Red Sea. The missile rose eastward, crossed the Saudi Arabian desert, and then descended, roughly one hour and 600 miles later, on the city of Baghdad. The Tomahawk was soon joined by more than 100 cruise missiles from seven U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, including two nuclear-powered submarines. The rockets streaked into the city shortly before 1 a.m., as air-raid sirens… Read More »

A White Vampire Story

From Gobshite Quarterly Winter 2004

In 1996, while I was working with a medical team treating refugees of the civil war in Rwanda, I made a habit of driving a 4-year-old Hutu child to tears every day for nearly a week straight. The truth is, I love children, and under ordinary circumstances, I think I’m a pretty decent person. But hers was a special case. I made it my mission to terrify this frail little girl at every available opportunity—so much so that when I woke up in the morning, before first light I had thought of a dozen ways to torment her.

A Hutu mother helps treat her daughter for pneumonia

Of course this wasn’t the main reason I was in Africa. I was working as a… Read More »