Wild Mushrooms Can Kill


Wild, edible mushrooms are a delectable treat but California issued a warning earlier this week to people who forage for them.

Mistakes in wild mushroom identification can result in serious illness and even death, cautions Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and State Public Health Officer.

“It is very difficult to distinguish which mushrooms are dangerous and which are safe to eat.  Therefore, we recommend that wild mushrooms not be eaten unless they have been carefully examined and determined to be edible by a mushroom expert,” Chapman said.

Wild mushroom poisoning continues to cause disease, hospitalization and death among California residents.  According to the California Poison Control System (CPCS), 1,748 cases of mushroom ingestion were reported statewide in 2009-2010. Among those cases:

– Two people died.

– Ten people suffered a major health outcome, such as liver failure leading to coma and/or a liver transplant, or kidney failure requiring dialysis.

- 964 were children under six years of age. These incidents usually involved the child’s eating a small amount of a mushroom growing in yards or neighborhood parks.

– 948 individuals were treated at a health care facility. 
• 19 were admitted to an intensive care unit.

The most serious illnesses and deaths have been linked primarily



I’m under the impression that it’s not all that difficult to see what goes on and why in the financial world these days. Everyone simply keeps talking about what Germany should do, and about eurobonds etc., but a relatively concise overview of a few numbers should be adequate to point out that none of that “solution” talk is based on too much realism.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible that Germany would succumb to the growing pressure to “act”, just that even it it did, not one underlying issue would be solved. Instead, it would mean that the Germans would take the huge risk of taking on enormous losses incurred by other countries and their banks.

Germans may have enjoyed their spot in the safe haven limelight a bit too much to see the mote in their own eyes, but that should not mean they must keep on doing so. All’s not well in Berlin either.

Let’s do a list of where several countries stand at this point (I made a list of 10-year sovereign bond yields at 8.00 AM EST):

  • Greece: Will be broke in 3 weeks unless it receives the €8 billion next bailout tranche. It will get this only if the main opposition party signs a letter declaring its support for the EU/CB/IMF troika’s austerity measures and budget cuts, supported by new technocrat PM Papademos. Opposition leader Samaras has so far refused to sign. 
    10-year bond yields 29.87%.
  • Portugal: Downgraded by Fitch to junk status. 2012 GDP expected to fall 3%. Portugal expected to need the same level of bailout as Greece, though a 50% debt writedown has been ruled out by the Greece deal.
    10-year bond yields 12.32%.
  • Ireland: Nominal gross national

Will Parrish: The Logic Of Occupy Mendo


By casting 99% of the US population as collective victim of a miniscule minority’s monumental greed, the American branch of the Occupy Movement has provided a brilliant framework for bringing together a broad coalition to take on the worst manifestations of what, for the past 35 years or so, has been an almost entirely one-sided class war waged by the ruling elite. Students, their grandparents, heretofore apolitical people, the employed and unemployed, veterans, the housed and the homeless, and people of all ages and colors have partaken in the Occupy Movement (all, of course, to varying degrees).

This framing has profound limitations, however, which are evident in places like Mendocino County, where the vast majority of those who identify themselves as being on the “left” seem to have little interest in delving deeper into the local class structure. As a result, the political interests of a large segment of the so-called 99% — needless to say, the bottom 50% or so — are almost entirely marginalized. It’s difficult to graft the Occupy framework onto each and every place.

Speaking only for myself, I’ve lived in inland Mendo for over three years, and I’ve almost never heard of or participated in a public discussion about structural inequality. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Occupy Movement so far is that it has changed the focus of political conversation, opening up the national discourse so that frank conversations about class in America are actually possible. A a cursory look at the state of Mendo’s housing, employment, healthcare, education, and politics — in other words, its economic and social structure — is an important point of departure.

Why Occupy has taken off (and a response from Transition)

Transition Towns UK

Energy Bulletin

Why do you think Occupy has been more effective at mobilizing participation and discussion than peak oil or Transition? Their ‘message’ is not so dissimilar but it has connected.

The Occupy movement, unlike the peak oil/climate/Transition movement (?) is a bottom-up not a top-down approach. That appeals to the younger people and many of the older ones as well. What they are doing is not coming in the form of ‘delivered wisdom’ from the ‘experts in the field’ with their laundry list of what we ‘must’ do.

From what I can tell there is a lot of debate/discussion going on all the time about what to do and how to do it. It seems that the ‘leaderless’ or open classroom idea where everyone is a teacher and a learner is a very powerful concept that actually makes our younger people enthusiastic players. For the first time in ages (or forever for some of them) they feel they have the right to speak AND be heard with respect. It is ok to question other points of view, everyone is encouraged to do so.

For comparison I submit that one reason the local food projects are getting a lot of popular support and interest is that to some extent they are site-specific in a way and they lend themselves to customization in another location.

On the other hand, as has already been noted a few times here at Energy Bulletin, there is a hint of elite-ism and follow the manual in the order presented (there will be a test at the end) about the Transition approach

Bringing it down to earth

The Archdruid Report

…No amount of protesting is going to refill the once vast and now mostly depleted reserves of cheap oil and other resources that gave America its age of extravagance, nor is protest going to do anything to stop the decline of America as a world power or the rise of competing powers. Blaming the results of both these processes on the manifold abuses of Wall Street is not going to help the situation noticeably—though seeing bankers and stockbrokers doing perp walks through the streets of Manhattan might do a little to restore public faith in the rule of law, which has taken quite a beating in recent years. Most Americans, ignoring these realities, still insist they are entitled to a standard of living that neither their country’s faltering position in the world, nor the hard facts of physics and geology, will enable them to have for much longer, or get back if they’ve already lost it. Until that sense of entitlement gives way to a more realistic set of expectations, nothing is going to solve the problem Americans think they have—that of finding a way to hang onto hopelessly unsustainable lifestyles—and nothing is going to be done to deal with the predicament Americans actually face—that of dealing with the end of abundance in a way that doesn’t finish shredding the already frayed fabric of our society.

Any attempt to walk the talk that we’ve been discussing here, in other words, has to begin with the individual, and has to start with the acceptance of a very significantly lowered standard of living. To return to an acronym I’ve proposed here already, any response to the future that doesn’t involve using LESSLess Energy, Stuff, and Stimulation—simply isn’t a serious response to the downside of the industrial age. The toolkit of the Seventies—organic gardening and appropriate tech movements… is among many other things a very effective way of responding to the need

Alice’s Restaurant Massacree


Homemade Pie Crust Recipe


The baking season is upon us. In this video, Catherine Schon, of Sassafras Catering, demonstrates how to make a tasty homemade pie crust. Now for some of you this will be old hat, but for many who are rediscovering the baker within, this will be very useful to watch. Actually, even as a seasoned home-baker, you might pick up some tips – I did! Ms. Schon was kind enough to also share her Home Made Pie Crust Recipe.

Traditionally folks will make pumpkin pie for their Thanksgiving meal. Or, you might want to consider apple pie or pecan pie – both primary ingredients are in season. Whichever type you decide, try making it yourself. For me that’s part of the fun of making a Thanksgiving meal…find some good music, roll up your sleeves, create, and share!

And before you start making dough, here’s a good tip I learned from the TwoJunes post, Pie, It’s A Way of Life; double or triple the pie dough recipe, divide accordingly, wrap in wax paper, and freeze until needed.

Happy baking, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Occupy Thanksgiving: Radicalize Your Relatives


“Pass the gravy.”

“How ’bout them Packers?”

“I wonder how much of this food is genetically modified.”

Hmm…which line doesn’t belong? The table talk at many holiday gatherings often fluctuates between strained and superficial at best—as most folks try to keep the family peace. This reality can leave the radicals in quite a quandary: maintain proper etiquette or exploit a golden opportunity to spark a crucial conversation?

Then, as you sit there agonizing over the right way to broach a touchy topic, the person next to you suddenly blurts out something that makes your blood boil. Do you react or do you “mind your manners”?

When Aunt Betty sez: “If the planet is heating up, why is it so cold today?”

What you want to say: “Listen, you old bat, if you stopped tuning in to right wing radio long enough, you might realize how ignorant you sound.”

Another approach: “The term global warming can be confusing. If we perceived it as climate change instead, it’d make more sense because shifting weather patterns often result in unusually cold weather in certain areas.”

Link for Aunt Betty: Changing the climate…of denial

How Bad Is Pepper Spray?

Mother Jones

This horrifying video of UC Davis police indiscriminately pepper-spraying peaceful student protesters has gone viral. Two officers have been placed on leave. But for anyone who’s never been pepper sprayed, it’s hard to imagine exactly what it feels like. Over at Scientific American, Deborah Blum makes a valiant attempt to explain.

Using a scale of intensity developed 100 years ago by Wilbur Scoville, Blum notes that commercial-grade pepper spray is 1,000 times “hotter” than a jalapeño pepper. Most sprays are between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units—and the higher-end figure is the type police use. Here’s the chart:

As Blum notes, getting sprayed in the face isn’t at all like putting too much hot sauce on your burrito:

The reason pepper-spray ends up on the Scoville chart is that – you probably guessed this – it’s literally derived from pepper chemistry, the compounds that make habaneros so much more formidable than the comparatively wimpy bells. Those compounds are called capsaicins and – in fact – pepper spray is more formally called Oleoresin Capsicum or OC Spray.