Blog Archives

‘Sustainability’ Gone Awry: China Turns Sewer Waste Into Cooking Oil

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“Gutter oil” industry takes street slop and animal scraps and renders it into black-market cooking oil.

Considering the rampant amount of food waste that occurs in America, the move toward thriftiness in regards to utilizing scraps and leftovers is a promising development.

For restaurants (and home cooks) who work with whole animals, from chickens to 300 pound hogs, rendering the fat from scraps of meat is one delicious way to make sure as much of the animal can be utilized as possible.

In China, however, that mentality has been taken to disgusting, dangerous ends in what’s known at the Gutter Oil Industry.

In a video posted on AlterNet, produced by Radio Free Asia, a woman is shown pulling slop out of the sewer, scooping up globs of crud into a bucket. “Her slop eventually winds up in a processing plant like this one,” says the narrator, the screen showing a bubbling vat, “where its combined with other animal fat refuse to create recycled cooking oil.”

Remember London’s “fatberg”? Gutter oil is basically a rendered, refined cooking oil based on similar such waste. Unsurprisingly, the cheap cooking oil has been found to contain carcinogens and other toxins. But in China, oil, a requisite for wok-cooking, is in high demand, and the cheap price of gutter oil draws customers despite the grease’s source. The video says that an estimated 1/10 of oil sold in China is gutter oil.

And that sizable market means this form of recycling is big (albeit illegal) business. As AlterNet’s Rod Bastanmehr notes, the government recently moved to shutdown black market production in 13 cities.

“The shutdown occurred after a five-month investigation yielded a reported 3,200 tons of gutter oil,” Bastanmehr writes, “which authorities estimated had been sold to a staggering $1.6 million profit.”

Two Men Get a Glimpse Into What Childbirth Feels Like [Video]

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Two Men Get a Glimpse Into What Childbirth Feels Like [Video]

By Devan McGuinness | January 19th, 2013 at 1:16 pm

“Before I experienced my first labor pains, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard how much it hurt and the idea of all that happens didn’t sound like it was going to be a walk in the park. I have a very high pain tolerance so how it was going to feel to me — I wasn’t sure.

Then, I went into labor for the first time and understood. It’s a whole new type of pain that I had not experienced. Even after dealing with 7 kidney stones during that pregnancy, the pains of contractions and back labor were intense in comparison. It’s a pain that I can’t really describe or compare to much else — because it’s a pain with a great purpose, it is something I would go through again.”

2 Dutch television hosts got curious about what the pains would feel like so — for their tv show, they put themselves to the test. According to The Huffington Post, “the two men used electro-stimulations to simulate contractions so they could experience the distress for themselves.” The two men lasted through 2 hours of contractions (which is far shorter than my 14 hour labors), but the video is priceless.”

Clever Tunnel System Makes Chickens Do The Gardening (Video)

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Sami Grover
Living / Green Food
September 20, 2011

Image credit: Ecofilms Australia

We’ve already seen how one farmer trains her chickens to eat slugs, and the internet is full of examples of chicken tractors—portable coops that can be moved to allow hens to till, fertilize, and weed a plot while providing pest control in the process. (see also this overview of chicken tractors at Planet Green.) But one Australian permaculturist has taken this idea to the next level—designing an intricate system of “chook tunnels” that let him funnel his ladies into any part of his garden. The amount of work that these creatures can do is actually quite amazing.

Of course many vegans will object to the idea of animals being used as “slave labor”, but a system like this does go a large way toward answering the accusations of inefficiency so often leveled against animal husbandry. As soon as we stop thinking about chickens, or any other domesticated creature for that matter, as meat or egg production “machines”, but rather as a productive, integrated member of a broader ecosystem, the efficiency equation starts to look a little different.

From processing weeds and food scraps into eggs and fertilizer, to replacing the need for human and/or mechanized labor in tilling, this really is yet another example of farming with animals the right way.

Bombay Bicycle Club – My God

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All the highs are downwards
All your fumble words are spent
Paying no attention
To the thoughts of your dear friend

No point louder
The sound of my power
Sink in deeper
Further each hour
My God

When our flower’s fading
When our stem begins to fold
I will take off quietly
Like a bird that flees the cold

No point louder
The sound of my power
Sink in deeper
Further each hour
My God (x7)

“Down the Burning Ropes”- James Vincent McMorrow

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“Down the Burning Ropes”- James Vincent McMorrow

When the hills let go
Slowly fade into the water like some ancient lover
On a ship filled with ghosts
It’s something to behold

When the paper thin girls
With twisting little braids in their hair,
They take off their coats and throw
Pebbles and stones from the side of the boat,
Crying out
The stones they float, the stones they float
Oh my God, the stones they float, the stones they float

Down the burning ropes
Past the places where the steal beams meet concrete skies
You make your bed under the moonlight
I think it’s time we said goodbye

Cause nothing moves in the warm air
And words that once would cut like a knife,
They just hang in the cloud and you’re
Pushed by the lord,
But you’re pulled by the crowds and
You’re overboard, you’re overboard
Oh my God, she’s overboard

My love she’s overboard
She’s overboard
My love she’s over board

Not a shell unbroken
In the valley where my heartache and the timbers lay
It’s not the time to be hanging around here
You know what some might say

That people get too reckless
That even with the simplest of crimes
They leave, blood behind,
As I clean the knife for the very last time
I think she knows, I think she knows
Oh my God, I think she knows

I think she knows