Monday, August 31, 2015

The 5,000-Year-Old Sunken City in Southern Greece

 What i find remarkable and unremarked as well is that this city sat smack on the water as a port.  There must be an additional city nearby that is fortified and a few hours inland. In the event this city was located on the route from Italy around the Peloponnese on the way into Athens and Greece proper.  It is exactly where an important port would arise.

That means it was part of the Atlantean trade system at least and the organization seen may well be Atlantean inspired.  Just not big enough for a Pyramid. 

Its demise coincides with 1159 BC as well and may simply have not survived the loss of Atlantis.  It certainly informs us that huge Earthquakes were felt in Greece.
The 5,000-Year-Old Sunken City in Southern Greece

 In the Peloponnesus region of southern Greece there is a small village called Pavlopetri, where a nearby ancient city dating back 5,000 years resides. 

However, this is not an ordinary archaeological site – the city can be found about 4 meters underwater and is believed to be the oldest known submerged city in the world.  

The city is incredibly well designed with roads, two storey houses with gardens, temples, a cemetery, and a complex water management system including channels and water pipes. 

In the centre of the city, was a square or plaza measuring about 40x20 meters and most of the buildings have been found with up to 12 rooms inside. The design of this city surpasses the design of many cities today.

The city is so old that it existed in the period that the famed ancient Greek epic poem ‘Iliad’ was set in. Research in 2009 revealed that the site extends for about 9 acres and evidence shows that it had been inhabited prior to 2800 BC.

Scientists estimate that the city was sunk in around 1000 BC due to earthquakes that shifted the land. However, despite this and even after 5,000 years, the arrangement of the city is still clearly visible and at least 15 buildings have been found. 

The city’s arrangement is so clear that the head of the archaeological team, John Henderson of the University of Nottingham, and his team, have been able to create what they believe is an extremely accurate 3D reconstruction of the city, which can be viewed in the video below.

3D reconstruction image of the sunken city

Historians believe that the ancient city had been a centre for commerce for the Minoan Civilization and the Mycenaean civilization. 

Scattered all over the place there are large storage containers made from clay, statues, everyday tools and other artefacts. The name of the city is currently unknown as well as its exact role in the ancient world.

The featured image shows the original foundations of the city behind underneath the reconstructed pillars and walls of one of the buildings.

LIDAR and Infrared Imagery Reveals Many More Terrace Complexes in Appalachia

This is excellent work. by going out and doing what was done originally we discover just how the environment actually responds.  Better yet this is an excellent way to exploit a hill sided with natural reentries already in place to carry off runoff.   That allows a simple irrigation ditch set at the top of every terrace to allow seepage into the bed beneath.  All that captures ample water from every shower or thunderstorm that passes through and forces the water into a retaining grid of channels.

I cannot imagine a better use of a hillside ever.  Today we want wider terraces to allow equipment access but that should be mostly practical.  The idea of simply using four inch stems to make up retaining walls is also dead simple and a great reason to properly groom your woodlot.  Rebar will hold the stems in place as is done here.

You could even produce that irrigation ditch with a single blade plow.

I do not see direct evidence yet of these original farmers applying bio-char although the time frames appear very short.  I do not think that it was necessary in this country using the methods i see here.
LIDAR and infrared imagery reveals many more terrace complexes
Imagery provides convincing evidence that most terrace complexes contained log retaining walls and perhaps all began as log-walled earthworks. The majority of terrace complexes are at opposite ends of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range in Georgia and Virginia. Go figure?

Article Two of the Magic Biochar Garden Series

The Track Rock Terrace Complex, near Blairsville, GA is massive. Continued research by the volunteers of the People of One Fire have revealed pre-European man-made structures far beyond the original site plan of the Track Rock archaeological zone, created by a archaeological consultants for the US Forrest Service in 2001.

One may visit these amazing stone ruins a dozen times and still find man-made features that were missed before. It is also quite easy to become disoriented any time of year because of the dense foliage and undulating terrain.

Next time, however, when you hike at Track Rock, take a look down the mountainside about 100 yards past the point were the access trail passes across a branch and ravine that mark the northern boundaries of the terraces. You will see row after row of terraces that have no stone retaining walls. This section of the complex was completely overlooked as were the stone-walled terraces farther down the mountainside that even extend across Track Rock Creek.

These terraces without stone walls were many of the puzzles that we initially faced in 2012. Were they created by Native Americans or by farmers, who owned the land prior to it being purchased by the US Forest Service in the mid-20th century?

The answer came after several county governments in North Georgia provided POOF with LIDAR and infrared imagery of suspected terrace complexes in their locales. County leaders had been frustrated for years by the response of Georgia archaeologists, when asked to help in understanding their enigmatic ruins. In most cases, the archaeologists refused to look at their sites. When they did, bitter schisms developed within the profession. One faction interpreted the stacked stones to be the work of early frontier farmers. The other and smaller faction insisted that the stone walls and cairns were the work of Native Americans.

Because of the schisms, the county leaders were unable to get the precise archaeological descriptions that were necessary to save these amazing sites from real estate developers.  The parking lot of the Mall of Georgia, one of the nation’s largest, was built over stone walled terraces, because three archaeological firms refused to certify the terrace complex as being either prehistoric or  historic! No radiocarbon testing was done.  The refusals were based on biases, mainly that Georgia’s Creek Indians lacked the intelligence to stack one stone over another.

POOF researchers began noticing a feature at the terrace complexes in Northeast and North-central Metro Atlanta that also occurs at Track Rock Gap. All sites had stone cairns on the southwest slopes of hills or mountains. All had at least some stone walled terraces near the tops of hills. However, on the lower slopes, just like at Track Rock there were still the vestiges of terraces that had no stone walls. Some stones were laying on the earthen slopes of terraces, but they were definitely not walls, just casual means of discouraging soil erosion.

Continuing analysis of these high resolution images in 2014 and 2015 have revealed many more terrace complexes that local officials and preservationists missed  in Union, Towns, Jackson, Gwinnett, White, Gilmer, Dawson, Pickens, Cherokee and Lumpkin Counties, GA – plus Meriwether County on the Flint River in west-central Georgia.  Many of these newest discovered terraces had no stone walls at all. They were far too narrow to have been created by 20th century tractors. The US Department of Agriculture under the Roosevelt administration encouraged Southern farmers to construct contoured terraces on slopes of hilly farms. However, these modern terraces look very different. They are 30 to 50 feet wide and have tractor access at each level.

Itza terrace complexes in the Chiapas Highlands

At this point I dug deeply into the cobwebs of my mind back to the time that I was backpacking through the highlands of Chiapas State and Guatemala. To be very honest with you, my only interest in the agricultural terraces was esthetic. I was an architecture student and these terraces obviously would never have any relevance to my career. Most of the color slides that I took were of large terrace complexes with stone walls and the ruins of temples on top.

Fortunately, they looked just like the Track Rock Terrace Complex.

However, when delving through old slides, I suddenly remembered that most of the actively cultivated terrace complexes had very few stone walls. They had the small streams on either side like the Track Rock Terraces, but the terraces were either all dirt or else buttressed with logs. So the all dirt terraces were merely what was left after log retaining walls had rotted away. Below is a typical appearance of a modern Maya terrace farm near Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Those are beans growing on the terraces.

This site even has the ruins of temples and a plaza on top, just like Track Rock Gap. Note that two small streams and ravines parallel the terraces- also like Track Rock.
Log walls improve fertility
A contemporary Itza Maya terrace farmer
A contemporary Itza Maya terrace farmer
Out of necessity, all of my original terraces at the experimental garden were supported by logs cleared from the forested hill side where the terraces were excavated by hand. It was slash & burn agriculture in its purest form.

View of the magic garden in April 2015
View of the magic garden in April 2015

However, when I learned that a documentary for public television was to be filmed in my garden, I intentionally built a stone wall along one major terrace, so the film crew would have something to film that looked like the Track Rock Gap terraces. They were also denied access to the Track Rock Terrace Complex. That year the only crops that did well on the stone-walled terrace were members of the squash and pumpkin family. They like hot, well-drained soil. On the other hand the beans, peas and tomatoes were stunted.

A load of charcoal is being worked into the garden soil in early spring.

A load of charcoal is being worked into the garden soil in early spring.
There is another plus to timber walls that I didn’t think about in 2012. By the fourth season, all of the original timber walls have rotted, turning into rich, saw-dust like loam. During the past two years, my crowder peas, sugar snap peas and black-eyed peas (all legumes) have grown 12 feet high. They would have grown higher, but the bean poles were too unstable after that length, so I snipped the ends.

Another riddle about the Track Rock Terrace Complex has been solved by the experimental terrace garden. If you recall in my book, I could not understand why the builders at Track Rock expended so much labor to build terraces, when there were ample stretches of river bottom land within walking distance to the north and the south of the terraces. In fact, these bottom lands contained conventional Muskogean towns with platform mounds that were founded exactly in the same era as Track Rock.

The answer is that maize (Indian corn) loves river bottom lands, but is anemic on terraces facing the southwest. After the second year, I gave up trying to grow corn because it was stunted and the cobs, barely had enough kernels on them to eat. What I do now is trade my surpluses in tomatoes, winter squash and fordhook lima beans for roasting ears, grown by neighbors in stream bottomlands. I strongly suspect that the occupants of Track Rock Gap has a similar arrangement with their neighbors. Now we know!

Below are LIDAR images of small terrace complexes at the edge of Northeast Metro Atlanta, plus an infrared image of a terrace complex near Coosa Bald Mountain that is about 6 miles southwest of Track Rock Gap.

Small terrace complex with a U-shaped plaza on right and a hill rising up behind it with the stone ruins of a prominent building – all features found at the Track Rock site.
Larger terrace complex overlooking North Oconee River.
Larger terrace complex overlooking North Oconee River.
Infrared image of very large terrace complex, about 6 miles southwest of Track Rock Gap.
Infrared image of very large terrace complex, about 6 miles southwest of Track Rock Gap.  This infrared spectrum picks up more fertile soil in steep terrain, covered with shrubs.

Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is a member of the Kaweta Creek Tribe and the Appalachian Shawnee Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast. He is also the National Architecture columnist for the Examiner.

Tomatoes Taste Better After a Nice Hot Bath

 This possibly will even work in your kitchen when you have tasteless tomatoes.  Five minutes in 125 degree water and a cool down to serve is practical for anyone.

This does not suggest that it will work but we all need to try it to see if it helps.  winter is coming soon enough.

What it does mean though is that industry will be able to adjust their current process to produce better flavor and that is certainly welcome  It is even a simple trick to implement.

Tomatoes taste better after a nice hot bath

By David Szondy - August 23, 2015 
Heat treating fresh tomatoes gives them better flavor (Credit: Shutterstock)

Store bought tomatoes are notorious for having an insipid taste, so a team of scientists led by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working on new methods to ensure that future supermarket tomatoes have more flavor. The research suggests this can be achieved by a simple, inexpensive alteration to conventional processing – a hot bath.

The distinct flavor of tomatoes is due to a cocktail of chemicals produced by the fruits as they ripen, but, according to the team that includes the USDA, the Agricultural Research Service, and the University of Florida, conventional storage methods inhibit these flavors. If tomatoes seem more flavorsome when bought from a farm stand, that's because they're being sold in the ideal condition – fully ripe and immediately after picking. 

However, commercially grown tomatoes need to be shipped hundreds, if not thousands of miles to reach market along with delays in packing and unpacking. Shipping ripe tomatoes over any distances risks unacceptable levels of spoilage, so the tomatoes are picked green, treated with ethylene gas to induce ripening, and then chilled for shipping. 

According to team leader Jinhe Bai, this chilling prevents flavor compounds, such as 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, 2-methylbutanal, and 2-phenylethanol from forming and the tomatoes end up with a watery taste. To avoid this, the team added an extra step. Instead of sending Florida-grown green tomatoes straight on to chilling, the team plunged them into 125° F (52° C) water for five minutes, then cooled them to room temperature before a final chilling to between 41° and 55° F (5° and 13° C), which is the standard shipping temperature. 

Compared to a control group, the team found that the treated tomatoes had more smell and flavor, as well as higher levels of flavor compounds. According to Bai, this is due to the heat treatment regulating certain ripening enzymes and activating the production of a protein that makes the tomatoes tolerant of cell decay.

"Chilling suppresses production of oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur-containing heterocyclic compounds, ketones, alcohols and aldehydes, including 13 important aroma components of tomato flavor," says Bai."But hot water-treated fruit actually produced higher concentrations of these important aroma contributors, even with subsequent chilling.”

The team is currently testing the technique at various stages of ripeness to see how it affects flavor compound production. 

Bai says the next step is to determine which method is the most effective before offering it to food processing firms. In addition, they're trying alternatives to hot water, such as methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil), which is an anti-fungal fumigant, and 1-methylcyclopropene when the tomatoes are at the slightly riper green/pink stage to make the fruit more tolerant to cell decay when at higher storage temperatures.

The results of the study were presented at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Jinhe Bai discusses the new treatments in the video below.

We May Not be Running Out of Helium After All

Vast new sources of could keep helium-filled balloons a party staple

The transport mechanism is robust and powerfully suggests major enrichment taking place.  Thus merely putting a premium of the commodity will quickly promote serious exploration.

However it is also likely that we are wasting a lot right now.

Thus conventional efforts will quickly increase supplies.

We may not be running out of helium after all

By David Szondy - August 23, 2015

Vast new sources of could keep helium-filled balloons a party staple (Credit: Shutterstock

Helium is the second most abundant element in the Universe, but it's relatively rare on Earth – so much so that some have called for a ban on party balloons to ward off a worldwide shortage. However, a team of scientists led by Diveena Danabalan of Durham University conducted a new study that indicates that there may be vast new sources of the gas in the western mountain regions of North America.

First detected in the spectrum of the Sun, in a century and a half helium has become a key resource in our high-tech world. The noble gas is used in cryogenics, MRI scanners, semiconductor manufacturing, welding, deep-sea diving, and blimps and balloons – though the latter makes up a surprisingly small fraction of the demand. 

The problem is that even though helium makes up almost a quarter of all matter in the Universe, it's very rare on Earth with the main supply coming from natural gas wells in North America. This is because helium is a very light element that, once it escapes into the air, floats off into space. Hydrogen is lighter, but it's common on Earth because hydrogen is captured in molecules of water or organic compounds. Helium, on the other hand, forms no compounds even with itself except a few highly unstable ones under extraordinary laboratory conditions.

Recent studies have pointed to a drastic decline in known helium reserves and no large discoveries to replace them. This being the case, the fear is that we may run out of helium so soon that some scientists, such as Cambridge University chemist Peter Wothers, are calling for an end to its use in party balloons. 

For the new study, a team of scientists from Durham and Oxford Universities looked at natural gas regions in North America, where they subjected gas samples from 22 wells in the United States and Canada to mass spectroscopy. By analyzing the isotopes of helium, neon, and argon, they were able to gain a better understanding of how helium is produced, transported, and trapped in the Earth. 

Most helium on Earth is helium-4 (4He), which is produced by radioactive decay deep inside the planet. Over hundreds of millions of years, it migrates up to the crust, where it is released during periods of tectonic activity. By comparing the ratios of 4He with neon-20 (20Ne) in the helium-rich Hugoton-Panhandle gas field running through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, the team found that released helium dissolves in groundwater, which transports it to natural gas deposits. According to Danabalan, This mechanism indicates that much more helium is waiting to be tapped than previously thought.

"We identified neon isotope tracers which show a strong association between helium and groundwater," says Danabalan. "This means that in certain geological regions, groundwater transports large volumes of helium into natural gas fields, where trapping potential is greatest. This suggests that we have probably underestimated the volumes of helium which are actually available to explore.

"On a continental scale, and we are talking about a line running right down the Rocky Mountains, we are seeing processes which are releasing the existing helium which has been built up deep underground over hundreds of millions of years," she continued. "In some places, like in Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, the deep helium is released directly into the atmosphere. In others, we are seeing that the deep helium which was released when the Rocky Mountains formed has percolated via the groundwater into the same underground reservoirs where we find natural gas. This means that there are almost certainly reservoirs of helium which we had not anticipated. More importantly, understanding how and why helium arrives in these reservoirs means that we now know where to look for new helium resources."

The team's findings were presented last week at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Prague.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Irradiated Food Sounds Like a Terrible Thing. It’s Actually Really Good.


The pleasant surprise is seeing Huffington step up on this one.  There are thousands of radiation bands available and they are entirely precise.  Our problem has been that we chose to use one name for a whole range of prospects and that has turned out to be stupid.

Today we are learning now to use coherent radiation as well and that promises excellent results..

The point this is the magic bullet provided we do not turn over control to someone trying to protect an inappropriate protocol. We need this technology and we will get it but not before we wade through mountains of ignorance.

Irradiated Food Sounds Like a Terrible Thing. It’s Actually Really Good.

Zapping food with radiation could prevent dangerous food-borne illness outbreaks—if only consumers would get behind the idea. 

| Mon Aug. 24, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

 In 2002, the East Coast supermarket chain Wegmans introduced a line of packaged ground beef that had been irradiated with an electron beam to kill bacteria. Company executives expected the product to do well; a series of food-borne illness outbreaks had rendered Americans' confidence in food safety dismally low. The launch came at the start of grilling season, and executives thought it would be a hit with people who liked their burgers rare but didn't want to get sick from undercooked meat. The slogan: "Cook it the way you like it!"

"Some people even think their food is going to be radioactive, which is just totally not how this works."

But to their surprise, sales were unimpressive—and they remain so today, says Wegmans' meat merchandising manager, Mark Spagnola. One reason might be the higher price: Irradiated beef can cost as much as 80 cents more per pound. But Wegmans' customers are willing to pay a premium for other special foods, like organics. So more likely, it's irradiation itself that puts shoppers off. Many consumer surveys have found that people consider irradiation—which the federal government approved for some foods as early as the 1960s—creepy and unsafe. "Some people even think their food is going to be radioactive," Spagnola says, "which is just totally not how this works."

Here's how it does work: At a special irradiation plant—there are just a handful in the United States—workers zap food with a machine similar to the kind that administers radiation to cancer patients. Most facilities use electron beams, but some irradiate with X-rays or gamma rays. While the dose of radiation is high, it doesn't stay with the food, and workers are protected from it with safety gear and massive concrete walls. The result, says Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota expert on food-borne illness who has studied irradiation extensively, is that it kills as many bacteria as cooking at high temperatures, but without any loss of taste. "Food irradiation shows absolutely no detrimental impact on the food," he says.

Hundreds of studies have proved that irradiation neither adds compounds to food nor takes nutrients away.

Hundreds of studies have proved that irradiation neither adds compounds to food nor takes nutrients away, and that it can help prevent the food-borne illnesses that sicken 48 million Americans and kill 3,000 every year. The World Health Organization and the US Department of Agriculture have deemed the technology safe for food, as has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which asserts that in addition to eliminating dangerous bacteria in human food, the technique could also be used to prevent the spread of disease in livestock through its feed.

Yet some food advocacy groups have campaigned vociferously against the technique. Food and Water Watch, for example, argues it might induce manufacturers to zap food instead of maintaining a clean plant. "This could be a gateway to faster line speeds at meat facilities and sloppier handling practices," says Patty Lovera, the organization's assistant director. But Rick Holley, a food microbiologist and irradiation expert at the University of Manitoba, sees the technique as an extra tool, rather than a crutch; irradiation, he points out, doesn't get rid of all bacteria, just most. "You can't make bad food good using irradiation," he says. "If your plant is dirty and not inspected and overtaxed, the food is going to be bad in a way that irradiation can't fix."

About a third of dried herbs and spices are irradiated to prevent salmonella, and imported fruits like mangoes and papayas are sometimes zapped to kill invasive insects.

In fact, you're probably already eating irradiated products. About a third of dried herbs and spices are irradiated to prevent salmonella, and imported fruits like mangoes and papayas are sometimes zapped to kill invasive insects. The technique is also used to sterilize medical equipment like gloves, bandages, and syringes, as well as personal-care products like contact lens solution and baby bottle nipples. Several European countries regularly irradiate all kinds of food; the French even do it to Camembert cheese to cut down on pathogens from raw milk. In South Africa, safari operators eat irradiated meat because it has a long shelf life, even in hot climates.

To be sure, the technology isn't cheap—but that, says Harlan Clemmons, who runs an irradiation facility in Sioux City, Iowa, is mostly because it costs a lot of money to ship all that meat to the special plants. Although the equipment is expensive (about $18 million up front), Clemmons calculates that if meat processors did irradiation in-house, over time they could bring the cost down "to next to nothing."

But that's unlikely to happen anytime soon unless consumers start embracing the technique, which might require more public attention. In a 2005 study, 484 shoppers at grocery stores in four Texas towns were asked about their opinion of irradiated foods. Then they read material about how an electron beam works and watched a short video on the topic. Initially, about 18 percent of the shoppers described themselves as "doubters" or "rejecters" of irradiation. But after the statements and video, that number dwindled to just 3.8 percent. Osterholm likens the public mistrust of irradiation to the anti-vaccine movement. "We know we could eliminate many food safety problems with this technique," he says. "And yet people are still fighting it."

Toxic Cyanide Pollution From Extracting Gold Is Widespread in China

A Chinese staff shows off a gold bullion with a design of the rat in Beijing 17 December 2007. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)


What i find astonishing is the lack of regulatory oversight here.  It is totally in everyone's self interest.  Yet here we are with fools playing at been fools.

What i find even more nauseating is that this chemical is easily neutralized to been harmless with the addition of a simple reagent.  The only problem is that it produces a purple dye which is harmless but obviously unsightly in a river.

So here we are creating mess after mess year after year.  Storage has never worked out because dams must fail.  Yet neutralization and steady leagage could clean them all up.;

Toxic Cyanide Pollution From Extracting Gold Is Widespread in China

After two devastating chemical explosions in the city of Tianjin on Aug. 12, Chinese authorities revealed the presence of about 700 tons of sodium cyanide at the site. Some of it is thought to have spilled into the surrounding environment, causing angry responses and questions. Many wanted to know what such large quantities of toxic material are used for. Wang Yang, the editor of Tencent Weibo’s “Daily in Touch” channel, attempted to answer the question. The following article is an abridged treatment based on his post of Aug. 15.

Cyanide is a well-known, highly toxic chemical. A tiny amount can kill a person. But few people know that it is used in huge quantities in modern gold mining. Almost all gold producers depend on it to separate gold from other ores. Cyanide is also an essential reactant in jewelry plating.
China is the world’s largest producer of gold. The enormous amount of cyanide used in gold mining in China is shocking. China Gold News once ran a detailed report about a gold production company in Inner Mongolia. It indicated that the company mined 23.1 million tons of ore in 2014, producing 5.1 tons of gold. To support its production capacity, the company consumed over 2,000 tons of sodium cyanide each month, which is equivalent to approximately 4.7 tons of sodium cyanide for every 10kg of gold. Taking into account the many smaller gold mining companies and the jewelry industry, China’s annual consumption of cyanide is shocking.

Lax Supervision

Modern industry has developed a sophisticated procedure for cyanide degradation. China, too, is aware of the technology. One way is to effect degradation during the earlier phase of separating gold from the other ores, and then achieve natural degradation by exposing the depleted tailings to the sun at the end of the process. Isolation and anti-infiltration measures are essential. The natural degradation process of cyanide is fast. With good contingency plans, and by isolating people, animals and important water sources, it is possible to prevent catastrophic consequences.

But without strict environmental protection measures, toxic leaks may cause ecological disasters. In June 2013, China Economic published a report titled Shaanxi Maanqiao Tailing Warehouse Approved for Licensing Despite Multitude of Potential Dangers. The article stated at the beginning that Shaanxi Maanqiao Ecological Mining Ltd. has produced 12,000 tons of gold each year, while the tailings have caused pollution and safety problems. Villagers said there were sediments in their well water and people dared not to drink it, for fear of cyanide poisoning. In addition, the protective plastic liners in the tailings warehouses were damaged; so how could it achieve anti-infiltration, the article questioned.
Another famous case involves Zijin Mining. As early as the end of 2006, a dam collapsed at their Shuyindong Gold Mine in Guizhou Province. About 200,000 cubic meters of waste potassium cyanide leaked out of the tailing warehouse, threatening two freshwater reservoirs downstream.

With lax supervision and severe local protectionism, it is indeed worrisome to trust in corporate self-discipline for environmental protection. In fact, it is common for some companies to ignore environmental protection all together in order to reduce costs.

Illegal Mining

You could say that registered businesses still follow certain management procedures and are concerned about rules and regulations. But illegally run mining companies are a mess across China; even death cases have been reported.

In May 2015, Beijing News published a report titled “1,000 Meter-Long Gold Cave With Hidden Underground Gold Factory Discovered.” The report exposed private gold mining enterprises in Beijing Pinggu. Reporters found that illegal miners secretly used chemicals to repeatedly wash and soak mountains to absorb gold through activated carbon.

An article titled “Properties and Safe Disposal Methods of Yunan Cyanide Waste” was published in the industry journal Yunnan Metallurgical in June 2015. The article stated that nearly 10 tons of cyanide tailings were left by private and illegal miners in a county in east Yunnan Province without any protective measures. The waste was scattered across excavation sites in the woods, some of them located in local government’s secondary water protection areas. These waste piles contained toxic materials and posed a big threat to nature as well as people.

Cyanide Black Market

The jewelry electroplating industry also uses cyanide. Small workshops that are not licensed to purchase cyanide get it from the black market. In many cases, heavily contaminated wastewater is directly released into the environment.

Yiwu City in Zhejiang Province has many jewelry electroplating businesses and a serious cyanide pollution problem. In 2013, a safety supervisor in Chi’an Township of Yiwu City noticed a heavily polluted small river in town. He also discovered a large black resale market for cyanide.

Although the rate of cyanide degradation is fairly fast, continuous release of large amounts of cyanide does cause damage.

Light Punishment

Punishment for illegal discharge of cyanide is not nearly as severe in China as it is in the U.K. and the U.S.

For example, on the website of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection one can access the “Environmental Impact Report Approval for Heilongjiang Baoshan Mining Ltd. Gold Resources Development Project.” Right in the beginning it states: “The environmental impact assessment filed for the project was not approved by the ministry. Unauthorized construction was begun in violation of relevant provisions in the Environmental Impact Assessment Law. The illegal acts have been investigated and punished. The company must learn lessons, improve awareness of the laws and prevent violations from happening again.” 

It seems, the punishment was nothing more than a light slap on the wrist.

3-D Glass Printer

This is a really good beginning that makes me finally bullish on 3D print technology.  From this we leap quickly into metglas and this produces an array of characteristics otherwise difficult to manufacture.

It is taking years to advance these technologies ,but that is prehaps inevitable.  We are certainly getting there.

Sooner that later we must peroduce a real star ship and we need all of this..

New 3-D Glass Printer Is a Lot Like What They Did 4,000 Years Ago

In the world of 3-D printing, plastic has been the base material of choice for most purposes. Metal, ceramics, and graphite are also used, but on a smaller scale. Now, that list is being expanded to include transparent glass.

The basic concept of 3-D printing with glass is the same as with other materials: the glass is heated until it becomes a liquid, and is then extruded in 0.4 inch thick filaments through a software-controlled nozzle.

Ironically, the production of glassware by coiling strands of molten glass is a throwback to the earliest methods of glass-making that originated in Mesopotamia more than 4,000 years ago, before glass-blowing and molding was discovered.

The production of glassware by coiling strands of molten glass is a throwback to the earliest methods of glass-making
The manufacturing of glass products through extrusion is already in use in different industries, but researchers at MIT were only recently able to come up with a way to produce optically transparent glass.

The researchers had to overcome a number of challenges posed by the qualities of glass: they relied on gravity to pull the molten glass out of a crucible, which was heated to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, so the diameter of the filaments were inconsistent as the pressure changed; the glass would often stick to the nozzle instead of the preceding layer; and the glass would often cool prematurely.

To make things work, the researchers had to switch to a ceramic nozzle and keep the production in a temperature controlled chamber to maintain even cooling.

In addition, the ceramic nozzle has to be manually shut off with compressed air as a cooling agent and turned on with a propane torch.

Lime glass was used by the researchers because of its low melting-temperature, but the researchers wrote that they plan on experimenting with different glass materials in the future, but the print would have to be modified first to raise its temperature tolerance.

Caustic patterns of a 3D printed glass structure. (Andy Ryan)

Caustic patterns of a 3-D printed glass structure. (Andy Ryan)
As a demonstration of the method, the researchers produced a number of decorative glassware, mostly vases of various shapes and colors, a selection of which will be exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, located in New York City, in 2016.

As with plastic, 3-D printing would give hobbyists and enthusiasts the capability to toy with their own designs for glassware, and empower suppliers to produce objects on a nonindustrial scale. Glass bottles, for instance, are manufactured with cast-iron molds, encouraging standardization in shape and design of the products.

“Additional complexity in product scale is now possible without negatively affecting its production rate, cost, or quality,” the researchers wrote in a paper detailing their invention.

The biggest breakthrough accomplished by this discovery may ultimately be aesthetic. The caustic light patterns created by glass are often things of remarkable beauty, one that could be greatly enhanced by calculated distortions designed to project shapes and figures.

(Andy Ryan)
(Andy Ryan)

If the thickness of the filaments appear rather crude and inelegant, that’s because the products serve only as a proof of concept that 3-D printing of transparent glass is possible. As the technology is refined, the diameter of the extrusion will become smaller if needed, and the designs more complex.

The researchers’ finished products were limited by a number of resource restraints. The reliance on gravity as the pulling mechanism forced the crucible to be constantly filled. A plunger or compressed air is being considered as a replacement for that force. Different materials are also being considered for the nozzle, and a disposable foil has been considered.

The printer’s software also faces needs to undergo consolidation of the several programs that are being run simultaneously, so that there’s more control of the process in real time.