Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Climate Change

First my personal opinion, I think whatever the consequences of increased human activity such as C02 emissions, increased population and deforestation are already baked into whats going to happen in the next 30-40 years. The consequences maybe (and its a big maybe) mitigated by actions now, but it will be 30-40 years before results will be seen. I'll be dead by then, so I have decided not worry my little head over whether mitigating strategies will work or not, but to have exit strategies for probable outcomes.

Anyway regards Climate Change (and thats the correct term not Global Warming, which a possible/probable scenario)

Whats Irrefutable Science
a) CO2 has increased from 280 parts per million in 1850 to about  385ppm  today and its all human.
The increase should really be much more, see missing sink.
b) CO2 increases temperature by long wave radiation attenuation (see Earths Radiation budget ) (for more see Stefan–Boltzmann law)
Long wave radiation gets absorbed by C02 (and other greenhouse gases including H20) and increases troposphere temperature to satisfy the radiation balance.
i.e. If we did not have feedback effects like clouds etc, the increase in temperature due to C02 could be calculated exactly (see here)

So what are the issues with the science

a) Feedback effects
e.g. Clouds. When temperature increases increased evaporation and/or increased humidity (even this sentence has so many feedbacks). That should increase clouds, which in turn can reflect (albedo) incoming solar radiation which in turn can reduce troposphere temperature. Clouds are some of the least understood phenomena in the climate system, i.e. formation, dissipation, albedo (reflection) etc.  Worked in this area for about 6 years, and published too. Worked on a huge atmospheric radiation project as well and published.
b) Missing sink in the carbon budget (maybe its here).
The total amount of human addition of C02 is known. The problem is the totals dont add up. i.e.  All the human output cant be accounted for, there is a missing sink. Terrestial sinks are well understood, and consensus has been the missing sink is in the ocean. This link has a first order numbers what carbon is where (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle).  To further complicate the problem, what will happen to sinks if temperatures increase (increase the amount stored/decrease).  This is not even getting into issues like deforestation etc, draining of marshes and the feedbacks thereof
c) Water holding capacity of Atmosphere (very important)
The Water holding capacity of the Atmosphere, increases dramatically around 30 C. This means that there will be bigger rainfall when atmosphere temperatures approach and pass 30C. No only increased rainfall, the amount of rain will increase exponentially with little changes in changes in Temp after 30C.

The article is an opinion piece, and does not seem like the author has the science background to evaluate the merits of the case.  It could be worse, there are authors who will write stuff that unless one has a deep knowledge of the field it is not possible to evaluate the merits of the research.

Below an article by Baumgardner that appears to infer based on science the Noah flood was real
The shallow water equations, and currents produced are correct. (The shallow water model is one all oceanography grad students get to play with in first year).
So whats the problem (two among many)
a) Tethys Sea and Pangea were 250 million years ago.  Humans have only been around 200K years at most. Right away conclusions of this paper are not appropriate (downright falsehood) for anything during the time of humans (primates and large mammal too for that matter).
b) The Tethys sea was around the equator. So authors are saying if at higher latitudes, then such currents could occur. So if we disregard the human/Noah component and take the paper for its sedimentary transport etc input, even that is very very bad science.

Some questions answered
>how do you support that the increase is all human?
Increase in C02 from 280ppm  to 385ppm is less than all the C02 emitted by humans
(i.e. Theres a sink somewhere for some of the C02 produced by humans).
First order accuracy of human C02 emissions is by coal, petroleum and natural gas combustion.
(Straight forward calculation, no hand waving)
All Fossil fuel combustion CO2 for last 100 years > 385-280 ppm * volume of atmosphere
i.e. All C02 increases in last 100 years is from humans is irrefutable.
>I've heard there is more CO2 in the ocean than the atmosphere and changes there could affect CO2 in the atmosphere.
Yes, please please see these links Missing sink and Carbon Budget
What you are referring to is a feedback, i.e. increase in ocean temperatures will reduce C02 carrying capacity and release C02 into the atmosphere.
>solid work on how much effect water vapor has in comparison to CO2
>I have heard some opinions that the water vapor is a larger effect.

Yes, C02, H20 and Methane are the most important greenhouse gases (i.e. by long wave attenuation).
See here for temperature contribution by each green house gas.
The atmosphere maximum water vapor content is determined by the temperature.
When water vapor reaches 100% humidity it precipitates, so there's a upper limit to water vapor in the atmosphere.
Its pretty clear, only control on water vapor is atmosphere temperature. 
C02 and Methane have no limits at current temperatures.
Methane is also green house gas.  Cows flatulence contains methane and there were some cows arse articles on cow flatulence being more important than CO2See here for a reply to that thinking

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Diabetes and BPH (My experience)

Synopsis: Alleviated BPH (Benign prostatic hyperplasia) by squatting exercises and urinating while squatting. Control Diabetes by lots of (6 hrs) of physical work.  Nno medications for either condition.
In  Apr 2012 I found that I had high sugar (500mg/dl) and BPH (Benign prostatic hyperplasia).

The issue with BPH is that you have to urinate often and very little each time. I could not travel from Colombo to  Puttalam without getting off the bus twice, in a 3 hour ride.

BPH is a nasty little problem, which affects many men over 55, (I was 53 in 2012) specially those who have been sitting at a desk job for many years of their lives.  That said the medication for BPH is readily available in Puttalam. Puttalam is not a town I would associate with a many who do a desk job. So maybe BPH is more common, and just does not affect only those who do a desk job.

When I was diagnosed, with Diabetes (Type 2) and BPH, started taking medication.
      For the Diabetes:  Metformin (2x500mg) and Gliclazide 3 times a day
     For BPH:    Urimax (tamsulosoin) and Finast (Finasteride) twice a day.

Urimax medication was not really a solution.  It kind of solved the urination problem. However made me very thirsty and would drink a liter of water at a time. So still had to pee every hour. i.e. Back to square one.
The even bigger problem was that it made me very lethargic and un motivated.

The Diabetes medication did keep blood sugar down., That said  even so a slight cut/tear in between toes would lead to a painful infection. Even had to resort to circumcision because outer skin would crack
because of urine dribble (now I am truly American/Jewish/Muslim).

So have worked to a relatively medication free solution, by my experience.
Cub Scout: Akela

BPH  (Benign prostatic hyperplasia) is the easy one. 
One word: Squat. If possible urinate in that position.
Obviously urban go getters cannot be peeing in squat position at work or at home. Maybe the home front will make exceptions to watering the the plants/trees in the garden. However,  I doubt the home-front is going to be happy with you wearing a sarong and squatting and watering the front lawn.

Wait: There is a work around:.
Just do squats at work. Try as best to get your buttocks to touch your ankles. I still cant get my buttocks to touch my ankles, just make do with the crouching position.  Hold the heavy desk or door to help getting up.  Just explain to your co-worker you want to develop your thighs (it does).

Fun and Expensive Solution:  Booze and Sex. OK you can cut down cost of sex with self help. You still have to pay for the booze. 
I tried to get around paying for booze.  The cashew apple/fruits apparently can be made into wine. I took that info and made 5 liters of Cashew Wine. Tried, tasting some of the cashew wine I had made.  The cashew wine didnt seem quite right. So tasted a few more sips or maybe it was gulps. I think I woke up two days later, somebody had drunk the whole 5 liters.

For people who care about useful Trivia, Cashew, Poison Ivy etc produce  urushiol, which is generally a allergic reaction for non Sri Lankans (thats a personal experience to be written up another day).

Diabetes Type 2. 
No Easy Answer.
Like I said earlier, I could not walk around (or not walk) because my feet would get infected, even while taking medication.
What has worked for me is just physical work, in the sun, no shirt or hat (bald head).
I think as a dark skinned person I need to be exposed to the Sun for me to be healthy. 
No work around:.
If I stop working for more than a couple of days I start to feel unhealthy. Skin drys up more than the "current" normal.

Fun Solution
Enjoy doing hard labor for at least 4-6 hrs for 4 days a week.
Maybe can cut down on the hard labor with the right diet, and right herbal stuff.
I still drink many beers, not often unhappily, get sozzled drunk once a week smoke too many cigarettes ( all  bad for Diabetes),.

Below, the original notes I made when started making lifestyle changes (I think 2015)

Diabetes 2
About a year back (as of 2015) , drank neeramulli (Artanema fimbriatum) and polpala
very day for about a week. Both grow wild here.

Quick search suggests that diuretics should not be used when having BPH.
The general local thinking its not good to drink every day.
Figured it could not be worse than the Urimax.
Also as often as possible sit and pee.
still working on squatting with both feet flat on ground.

Lots of hard phyiscal work, like cutting grass, trimming trees and moving earth.
From about 7 amd to 10:30 am in the sun without a shirt or hat (I have shaved head)
Then again from 4pm to 6pm.

Slowly Stopped all Meds about a month or two later.
Blood sugar back to normal, dont have to worry about wounds.

No issues about peeing, would not say its as great as when a teenager.
But dont have to get off the bus every hour when travelling.

Other than the physical work and now the occasional neeramulli or polpala no real change in diet/lifestyle. Eat whatever is there rice/stringhoppers/bread and booze about once a week, about 570 ml
(1/2 +1/4 of 750 ml) 33% alchol/Gal and some beer.

I am not sure if the Neeramulli/Polpala made a big difference.
I think just a push.  More likely hard work and sun was the factor.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Beautiful Earth Kitchen in Wanathavilluwa

Beautiful Earth Kitchen

This is a great kitchen made completely with Earth (matti in Sinhala), Not only is it eye catching it is cost effective and very functional.  The kitchen was built by Mr. Dayananda and his wife Sumana by themselves. Mr. Dayananda's wife runs a medium scale plant nursery out in Wanathavillu (on the old Mannar Puttalam road). You may notice that Mr Dayananda is using one of the two or three many efficient ways of cooking with firewood (clay 1950-1978),
a) The double clay stove (CEB Two-pot Stove or the Clay Sarvodaya Version. 
b) Rocket Stoves:  Downside the wood needs to be chopped into small pieces. I have not seen one in SL. Does not mean there are none around. 
We/I use the double stove, readily available all over the country for around 150-250 LKR. It really cuts down on the firewood use and can have two pots being cooked at the same time. Unhappily I rarely see households using the double stove in this part of the country. The women walk half or more kilometer (depending on economic status) and gather firewood even though this area borders jungle. Thats because the village proper, is urban in the sense there are very few trees/firewood within the village.  Some villagers have have even commented after seeing the double clay stove why I bother. Yes some of those houses will have 50K sound setup or 30K flat screen TV, but not a 150-250 LKR stove that will cut down on firewood usage.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Preventive Maintenance of Brush Cutter/Back Pack lawn Mower.

Some tips on Preventive Maintenance of Brush Cutter/Back Pack lawn Mower. (sent by Anil Ratnayake)
  • Always Mix 2T Oil - 250 ml in 5 litres Petrol. (50 ml / liter)          
  • After work is over for the day - DO NOT use stop switch because 2T oil will condense in the engine and cause Damage when re starting. ALWAYS shut off petrol while the engine is running.               
  • Wash inside of shaft well with kerosene oil every 50 hrs.               
  • Grease drive cable in shaft every 50 hrs of use            
  • Oil Gear Head every 50 hrs of use (remove blade and pour oil)          
  • Knocking blade on stones damages gear head at the end of the shaft               
  • Sharpen long twin rotor blade with file daily as soon as work is over    
  • DO NOT USE CHOKE when starting warm engine.

Shaft Vibration: Check if blade has been properly installed and tightened.
Idle Speed: If blade keeps turning/rotating at idling speed, turn the idle adjusting screw counterclockwise.

Gear Head
Idle Speed Adjustment

Monday, April 24, 2017

Colombo, Meetotamulla Garbage is not to Puttlam but to Wilpattu

Kala-Oya/Lunu-Ela 200m away from proposed Garbage site

The old Quarry and proposed garbage site
Please see Update and Suggestions

The Meetotamulla garbage is not to Puttalam. Thats a red herring. The proposed site is on the Banks of the Kala Oya and bordering Wilpattu.

Wilpattu National Park is the latest location proposed to dump 470,000 cubic meters of garbage every year. That is the equivalent of a building 3 story high 33 feet x 33 feet of garbage every day.  .  Thats 479 large tipper trucks per day or a tipper truck every 4 minutes, 24/7. That garbage will grow to a mountain 250 feet high every year.

The location proposed is within 200 meters of the beautiful and historic Kala-Oya and in the Wilpattu National Park buffer zone.  Yes, the beautiful scenic Kala-Oya fed by the historic Kala-Wewa built by King Dhatusena in 455 AD.
Toxic Foam from Garbage in Bangalore

The proposed site at GangeWadiya / Aruwakkalu has a steep slope toward the Kala-Oya. It is just a matter of time when the seepage and overflow during the North East monsoon will turn the Kala-Oya into a toxic mess.

In addition any capping with concrete will crack because of dynamite blasting of limestone at the Holcim quarry 500 meters away

This beautiful pristine area is likely to end  up being like the Bellandur Lake in Bangalore and Toms River, New Jersey.  In Bangalore, toxic foam from Bellandur Lake covers the city.   In Toms River, New Jersey,  local residents are affected with higher rates of cancer and children with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Toxic seepage from the garbage site into Kala-Oya  will kill fish, mangroves and contaminate the whole of  Puttalam Lagoon.  When toxic foams are created, the south west winds will carry the foam into the Wilpattu National Park and end up suffocating all animals.

To make matters worse, the garbage will cover the only visible Miocene Site, Wedi Pitiya, containing  stone tools, potsherds, beads and bony remains of prehistoric human habitation dating back to more than 250,000 years.

This author lived for 5 years (1998-2003) 7 km away from the largest landfill/garbage dump in the World in Staten Island, New York.  Now of course it is called Fresh Kills Park.   It looks nice from a distance, 14 years after its closure in 2001.  However still  "its presence is palpable in the four grassy monadnocks rising up to 225 feet tall, in the intermittent exhalations of landfill gases from passive vents, in the 386,000 gallons of leachate that daily ooze from the mounds into an on-site treatment plant, and in the hundreds of protruding gas wellheads and monitoring pipes".

Thats 467 large bowsers of chemicals every day, and this is 14 years after the land fill was close.

Map of Kala Oya and Garbage site. Click on Image for Google Maps

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Gathering (elephants): Natural?

The Gathering (of elephants) in Minneriya or Kaudulla National park are considered one of the great wild life spectacles of the world, comparable to the Great migration in Serengeti.  The gathering of over 300 elephants in Minneriya occurs during the dry season of May-Sep.

The gathering is however a result of  environmental engineering two thousand years ago.  The 87 km (54 miles) Elahara canal was built by King Vasabha (67–111 AD).   King Mahasen (277-304 AD) built Minneriya Reservoir and connected it to the Elahara Canal. Currently Elahara canal starts from Amban river near Elahara and carries water to large reservoirs in north, Minneriya, Girithale, Kaudulla (Tissavadamanaka of Mahasen) and Kantalai reservoirs.
Click for Map Link

Its not just the Gathering at Minneriya. Sri Lanka has been environmentally re-engineered for over 2,000 years.  The 30,000 odd reservoirs/tanks and associated wetlands have changed the dry zone into oasis of water and wetlands for both animals and humans.

Not only has the environmental engineering changed biodiversity, it has changed social structure. Building and maintenance of village tanks was done by the village community. This resulted in a more egalitarian society, specially compared to the rest of South Asia.

Reservoirs were not built just for irrigation. It was, for example, traditional to build a forest tank in the jungle above the village. That tank, however, was not used to irrigate land: on the contrary, its express purpose was to provide water to wild animals and, hence, to reduce the likelihood that they would descend into the paddy fields and destroy the crops in the search for water (Goldsmith)

Sir Emerson Tennent in Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical vol 2 considered it to be The Greatest Canal in the Ancient World: (complete pdf: pg 433)
“Excepting the  exaggerated dimensions of Lake Moeris in Central Egypt,and the mysterious " basin of Al Aram' the bursting of whose embankment devastated the Arabian city of Mareb, no similar constructions formed by any race, either ancient or modern, exceed in colossal magnitude the stupendous tanks of Ceylon. The reservoir of Koh-rud at Ispahan, the artificial lake of Ajmeer, or the tank of Hyder, in Mysore, can no more be compared in extent or grandeur with Kala-weva, or Padivil-colom than the conduits of Hezekiah, the kanats of the Persians, or the subterranean water-courses of Peru can vie with the Ellahara canal, which probably connected the lake of Mineri and the "Sea of Prakarama" with the Amban-ganga river.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

GM Mustard in India: Cautionary tale for Sri Lanka

Mustard Plants
There is nasty debate going on about the use of a Indian developed Genetically Modified (GM) mustard plant to be commercially cultivated. Mustard DMH-11, has been developed by Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at Delhi University.  It is a cautionary tale for Sri Lanka.

The Pros
  • Purported to be 20%-30% more productive than most mustard varieties. 
  •  Is resistant to herbicide Basta (Glufosinate) made by Bayer 
  • Is resistant to herbicide Basta (Glufosinate) made by Bayer
  • Basta chemicals persist in food where herbicide is used 
  • Contains genes barnase, barstar and bar genes patented by Bayer
  • Barnase, barstar and bar are terminator genes and extremely potent cell poison.
  • GM Mustard DMH-11 patent will be held by Deepak Pantel  
The sales pitch for the GM Mustard is that it will solve India's cooking oil problem with higher mustard oil yields. In 2014-15, India imported 14.5 million tonnes of edible oils valued at $10.5 billion, more than half its edible oil requirement.

Aside: Rapeseed (similar to mustard) grown in Canada is all GM modified.  For you health buffs, thats Canola (contraction of Canada and ola, meaning oil).  So not only is Canola from GM rapeseed it also contains glucosinolates responsible for metabolism disruption and erucic acid, which is damaging to cardiac muscle.   Maybe that why its called Canola and not rape-seed oil.

Back to India: How did India end importing half its edible oil. India was almost self-sufficient in edible oils by the mid-1990s, but by 2014 it was the world’s biggest importer of cooking oils. Under pressure from the World Bank, India began to reduce import tariffs on edible oils and imports then began to increase.

So this push for GM Mustard is little more than a smokescreen to divert attention from this reality, which has to date certainly benefited US agribusiness Cargill. What is more deceptive is that the genetically engineered mustard does not produce higher yields than non-GM mustard.

Patent Royalties,  sales of weedicide by Bayer to a 10.5 billion market is also the push for GM Mustard.  Deepak Pantel is not an independent scientist pushing GM Mustard but one salivating to collect patent royalties.

On a final note, Bayer and Monsanto have merged, DuPont and Dow are planning a merger and ChemChina is buying Syngenta.