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  • Glad you liked the video clip and picture. I did not know threshing pictures were especially rare but I have a large copy of mine hanging over my kitchen table.

    Another clip from the Edgar Steam Show. This one shows some of the other processes that were powered by steam tractors including a sawmill. BTW, Edgar is about 80 miles west of Green Bay.

  • Thank you for this. I remember threshing. What an event! What glorious food! What a perfect example of a small community in action!

    Picture of my grandfather and brothers threshing in 1940: Southeast Kansas:

    Restored 1920s steam engine powering a threshing machine. Also clip of a Case steam tractor pulling a 6-bottom plow:

  • techno commented on the blog post Illumination

    2014-12-25 07:20:10View | Delete

    Seriously? You really think the Christmas story is about the golden rule? Have you ever actually read the Christmas story? No golden rule there. That’s in Matthew 7.

  • techno commented on the blog post Illumination

    2014-12-25 05:14:21View | Delete

    It’s Christmas. Whatever may be said about the “golden rule” kind of misses the point here. Because the great essential message of the Christmas story (Luke’s version) was that when God came to earth, the first people chosen to hear about this event were the less-than-miniumum-wage drudges working the night shift outdoors.

    I am convinced that 99% of the success Christianity has had over the years is that it never lost sight of the social importance of those poorly paid people at the bottom who are doing the essential jobs.

  • techno commented on the blog post Saturday History: The Importance of the Barn

    2014-12-13 20:51:29View | Delete

    Barns are utterly fascinating places. Because of their importance, a lot of time, energy, and resources go into barn design and maintenance. Animals are valuable and must be protected. And because horses could live over 30 years, they became part of the family and their stalls are usually very attractive. Besides, this is the farmer’s workshop.

    But easily the most interesting thing about barns is how unsentimentally they were modified to reflect new farming practices. For example, dairy barns are very specialized things so if someone took up a milk herd (or sold theirs) the barns would change dramatically. I know some folks who have restored barns and one a hundred years old has been modified at least five times.

  • techno commented on the blog post FDL Going on Hiatus

    2014-12-01 11:01:54View | Delete

    Oh Jane! We are all sorry to read you have been felled by a bad hip. Those things really hurt.

    The good news is that the folks who do hip surgery have really gotten good at it. One close friend just had a replacement two weeks ago and went back to work today. After all the pain that hip caused him, he is just delighted to be pain-free for the first time in years.

  • techno commented on the diary post Turn Left for Earth by David Swanson.

    2014-09-21 08:55:20View | Delete

    This march is insane. Someone please figure out how much CO2 was pumped into the atmosphere planning, organizing, and transporting the participants to New York for this symbolic gesture. I did my own math—just driving my car (23-24 mpg) round-trip to NYC would burn slightly over 105 gallons and pump around a ton of CO2 [...]

  • techno commented on the diary post Bautista, Crisp-Sauray, and McKibben: A Future to March For by Tom Engelhardt.

    2014-09-15 17:43:39View | Delete

    I did the math. If I were to drive my car to New York to participate in this march, I would add a ton of CO2 to the atmosphere. This would be an extremely stupid thing for me to do—adding CO2 to the atmosphere so I could protest adding CO2 to the atmosphere. So I [...]

  • Amen brother. Rural poverty is probably the nastiest around. Just remember, people who live in urban slums are often migrants who are trying to escape a much worse rural poverty.

    Also, you are one brave man! In this economy, to quit a good job over moral standards is exceedingly rare. It’s guys like you that make me hope there just might be a heaven.

  • Although the Court fees deleteriously affect poor and lower income citizens the most

    Aw, aren’t you cute. These fees go to fund a bloated and hopelessly corrupt legal system. Assessing a $22.50 fee for some meaningless “service” to someone who might have $30 for next week’s food actually qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment in the mind of any fair-minded person. Of course, the judges who hand out these things routinely—without a thought—think such fees are reasonable or possibly trivial. Got to pay for those expensive cops with their six-figure pensions, after all.

  • You don’t have to be black to be scammed by our courts. Sit through ANY municipal court for a day and it WILL dawn on you that 98% of the “crimes” being prosecuted are really for the crime of being poor. And the insane fines handed down to these poor people (along with surcharges for the county law library, etc.) means that most victims will probably miss a week’s worth of meals.

    The insane Puritan legacy of this country means that there real IS only one crime in this country that will ever be prosecuted—poverty.

  • techno commented on the blog post The Roundup for July 28th, 2014

    2014-07-29 06:06:45View | Delete

    There is literally ZERO credible evidence that Russia or pro-Russian Ukrainians shot down MH17. On the other hand, there is PLENTY of credible evidence that this shoot-down was a USA-Kiev operation. You know—the kind of evidence treated seriously by real aviation types.

    These Russkie-bashing lies are going to fall apart because there is no hard evidence they are true. If there were, we would have seen it by now.

  • techno commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Solar Roadways Is Hiring!

    2014-06-29 11:05:22View | Delete

    I know quite a bit about making solar systems work because I have done it. They are difficult to handle and are quite fragile.

    These roadway solar clowns pretend to think that putting these devices into the most difficult maintenance position imaginable is a good idea. I am wondering why they don’t go all in and suggest we pave roads with smartphones.

    Tell you what, we get solar arrays on all the good rooftop sites and THEN we should consider paving roads with them.

    This is obviously a scam. And if you cannot see it, I wonder about your awareness level.

  • techno commented on the blog post Come Saturday Morning: Solar Roadways Is Hiring!

    2014-06-28 22:23:02View | Delete

    I hesitate to respond to this because the idea of putting solar cells on the highway is so absurd, I smell a hoax.

    Can anyone imagine the problems selling the idea of paving roads with glass? This glass must be kept clean in order to transmit the solar energy and as everyone knows, there is nothing so easy to keep spotless as a road.

    I have been watching roads deteriorate from the weather and the pounding of traffic my whole life. Here in Minnesota, we actually had a bridge fall into the Mississippi. And since solar cells actually generate electricity when they are working, can you imagine what would happen if anyone introduced road salt into that environment? Since that would be a disaster, this means even the non-solar roads could not be salted because cars would carry salt from the regular roads to the solar ones.

    And so on. It is scams like this that will severely embarrass anyone who supports them. Worse, this idea is so goofy, it will discredit the technologically illiterate left (the main left we have, unfortunately.)

  • I have been thinking the same thing since Tuesday. Hedges’ great line from the OWS days was that the problem with American politics is that there was no way to vote against Goldman Sachs. So the folks in Virginia were actually given the choice of voting for someone who claims to be against the interests of GS and surprise, he wins.

    Yes indeed, it would be great fun to have a Harvard-Princeton Divinity School debate. As a Lutheran PK who knows quite a bit about the rituals of serious Protestantism, I would pay good money to see it.

    What I wrote about Brat yesterday.

  • techno commented on the blog post The Roundup for June 5th, 2014

    2014-06-06 06:26:41View | Delete

    Do you suppose that with the last veterans of WW II passing, we can finally start telling the truth about USA’s involvement? I mean D-Day is treated as this very big deal even though it had almost nothing to do with the defeat of Germany. That was accomplished by the Red Army.

    In fact, the USA lost fewer forces during the whole of the war than USSR suffered liberating Sevastopol in Crimea. Red Army figures are around 200,000 for that battle alone. USA in Europe-Atlantic 183,588; Army ground forces 141,088; United States Army Air Forces 36,461 and Navy/Coast Guard 6,039.

    If people understood this, they might understand why Russia was NOT about to let Crimea fall into NATO’s grasp.

  • Kinsley, the rich doctor’s son, attended very fancy prep school and then Harvard. When you come from so much privilege, it is almost impossible to become anything but a useless, right-wing, prick. And that is what he became. I lost my patience with Kinsley when I discovered he was FAR to the right of Buchanan on NAFTA. What was so disgusting is that Kinsley defended neoliberalism so enthusiastically.

    I try not to think about Kinsley. He didn’t betray us—he was never one of us. What was so shocking is that by the 1980s, a far-right looney like Kinsley could actually play a librul on TV. The “center” of political thinking is a long way back, folks.

  • techno commented on the blog post Can Climate Change Be Stopped Politically?

    2014-04-24 13:03:16View | Delete

    Have you paid the price of installing ground source heat pumps instead of burning oil or gas to heat your home?

    This is the sort of quote that proves most “liberals” probably should not be discussing solutions to climate change.

    I have spent most of my adult life either trying to build energy-efficient housing myself, learning from folks who do it well—esp. in Sweden and Finland, or advising on projects that offer some hope. Sometime, I just stand by and applaud—after 20 years of trying, my brother has actually succeeded in making his house net-zero—on a working class budget. He is qualified to award all levels of LEED certification so when he claims net-zero, he has the documents to back it up.

    He was here over the weekend and we got caught up on the latest in the business of building green. I wanted an answer about an installation of a ground-source heat pump some friends installed hoping to go green. They are VERY unhappy with it because this last winter, the resistance heater literally ran for weeks at a time.

    His response included:

    1) The ground source location must be selected very carefully or the thing never works as well as a lab tests would lead you to believe. Most folks bury the tubes on their property without serious geological sampling.

    2) Most folks building the equipment have way more good intentions than manufacturing expertise.

    3) Most people installing this equipment are hippies who believe that because they are doing the work of the gods, they really don’t have to read those pesky instruction manuals. People believe their sincerity and connections to the various environmental NGOs.

    4) Whatever made anyone believe a heat pump could work very well when its -35°F. Anyone who sells one of these things north of St. Louis should be jailed for fraud.

    5) There are no magic bullets. If you want a true net-zero house, you must do a LOT of things right—not just select a “green” heating system and hope that makes up for all the other energy catastrophes you have built into your structure.

    If you want to comment on the nuts and bolts of how green housing is built, please do your homework. Wild opinions are NOT helpful—even if they mostly politically correct.

  • techno commented on the blog post Can Climate Change Be Stopped Politically?

    2014-04-23 16:51:34View | Delete

    Actually, we have the makings of a fire-free earth—thanks to all the things we know about electricity. But we don’t seem to have the will to go to work and convert to those technologies.

    And no, I do not think this is about comfort and complacency—this is about survival. Of course, we can cut down on the wasteful uses of fire. Unfortunately, the necessary uses will still kill us.

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