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From Self Sufficientish.com, the urban guide to almost self sufficiency (Urban Homesteading):

Paul Kingsnorth likens this plant to a major supermarket in his book real England. The following paragraph beautifully sums up how both knotweed and Tescos behavior.

“Just as Knotweed is all cloned from one single plant, so the big chains are all cloned from global corporations. Just as Knotweed makes it impossible for the local plant life at its roots, and thus kills off the local insects and the local birds, so the big chain shops kill off the local independent shops around them and thus destroys the local economy. Just as Knotweed will come back again several growing seasons in a row until those of us out there with mallets and rollers are exhausted, so a big supermarket, refused planning permission, will apply again and again until the Council and local people are worn down and give in.”

Knotweed shoots being harvested in spring

Knotweed shoots being harvested in spring

Something to look forward to next spring!
From culinate.com

My friend Leda and I are partners in crime. We conspire to pick noxious weeds in a public park, which, technically, is against the law. I checked. The fine in New York City is $1,000 for removing plants from a park, although writing a ticket for picking an invasive plant like Japanese knotweed should make any self-respecting park ranger blush. When I weigh the tart, zesty taste of knotweed shoots against the threat of a hefty citation, the scales tip heavily in favor of the knotweed.

In the spring, Japanese knotweed sends up thick green spears mottled with red, like asparagus on steroids with a sunburn. Exactly when it muscles its way up through the earth depends on where you live. In New York City, the knotweed picking is best in April, so harvest earlier if you live farther south, later if farther north.

Knotweed stalks at prime harvest time.

Before it starts to branch, knotweed is very tender; after branching, the stems are so tough that you have to peel them to eat them. That’s too much work for me, so I harvest early. Knotweed grows fast; within a few days, it’s gone from tender to tough, so when I see the first spears poke up, I don’t dawdle.

Some people think knotweed is bamboo, because of its tall, woody, jointed stems. It’s not closely related, but it’s just as invasive; by the end of summer, knotweed can be six to eight feet tall. The tall, dead stalks from the previous year’s growth make excellent markers for new growth in the spring, with the young shoots poking up around the old stalks.

Since there are so many things you can make with knotweed, you’ll have no trouble using as much as you harvest. And if you clean and freeze the stems when you get home, you can cook with it at your leisure; it keeps for months in the freezer. Knotweed wine is one of my favorite home brews; it takes less time to finish fermenting than many other wines and tastes like a good sauterne with a tawny gold color. Knotweed can be substituted for rhubarb in pies, jams, and jellies; it combines well with strawberries, blueberries, and apples. And, yes, you can use knotweed as a vegetable; it’s tart and crunchy in stir-fries and lemony delicious under hollandaise. My favorite way to eat knotweed is in a creamy soup. Nothing like turning environmental activism into lunch.

Earlier this month, Nikon announced their CoolPix S1000pj camera, which has a built-in projector — the first camera to do this as of yet.

I’m not a gadget whore nor am I advocating buying this product, with its $430 price tag, but it does bring up some amazing social possibilities.

Imagine this: instead of 3 or 4 people huddled around a 3-inch LCD screen, you instead project your images from parties and travel against the walls of the local bar or restaurant. While some people don’t approve of this, I say why not? Cafes have become laptop opium dens, people gab on their cell phones on sidewalks, and I have been asked to move aside while looking at artwork for the sake of a quick photo.

Public space is replete with devices and this one will at least foster face-to-face social communication rather than isolation. I can’t wait.

cool_pix

Voting just opened for 2 panels that I submitted for this years South by Southwest – one in the Film category and one in the Interactive category.  If you have a minute, pretty please create an account (it takes 1 minute) on the PanelPicker site, and then give my submissions the thumbs up.  They will both be awesome, of course.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3716 – James Chimpton (with Steve Lambert)
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3715 – openFrameworks (with Zach Lieberman)

an article on protests in response to the pending Cap and Trade Bill.
Uh, what’s wrong with this picture?

This was the first of a series of about 20 rallies planned for Southern and oil-producing states to organize resistance to proposed legislation that would set a limit on emissions of heat-trapping gases, requiring many companies to buy emission permits. Participants described the system as an energy tax that would undermine the economy of Houston, the nation’s energy capital.

and a few paragraphs down:

“It’s just a sense of outrage and disappointment with the bill passed by the House,” said James T. Hackett, chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum, who attended the rally. He defended, as an environmental measure, the use of buses financed by oil companies and Energy Citizens to carry employees to the rally. “If we all drove in cars, it wouldn’t look good,” he said.

…from an article in the NY Times today about a pro-oil, anti Cap n Trade Bill rally in Houston :

A public relations company hired by a pro-coal industry group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, recently sent at least 58 fake letters opposing new climate laws to members of Congress. The letters, forged by the public relations company Bonner & Associates, purported to be from groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Hispanic organizations.

Bonner & Associates has acknowledged the forgeries, blaming them on a temporary employee who was subsequently fired. The coal coalition has apologized for the fake letters and said it was cooperating with an investigation of the matter by a Congressional committee.