Episode-1564- Listener Calls for 4-24-15 — 31 Comments

  1. On the more males born in an acidity climate. I’ve heard (so yes this is 2nd hand) that the sex of a person is also strongly derived from the amount of testosterone in the womb. So there are actually a small percentage of people who have the chromosomes of the opposite sex. Perhaps the environment acidity has an effect on the testosterone in the womb?

  2. Jack, thanks for the insight into our duckling mortality issue. Obviously I couldn’t put all the details in my call. We did have a watering system like yours, and did have occasion to get the ducklings outside when we could. I’m thinking we’re simply going to avoid brooding ducks over winter. Our timing was such that when we got that ice and snow in March, it really messed with our plans for getting them outside more often, especially since our property is so wet. We’re not giving up on ducks; just want to make sure we’re smarter on the next go around!
    Curiously, we have one duckling from the golden 300’s we’ve named Gimpie. She had a leg problem early on and is basically lame and we were concerned at the time that she couldn’t preen and would not be able to dry off. Somehow she has managed to survive while other ‘healthy’ ducklings would be dead the next morning. She gets around waddling on her knees and her growth is more stunted. We hate to put her down, but I think we’re ready to admit that it’s probably best to put her out of her misery humanely. It just seems so odd that in spite of that, she has managed to hang on.

  3. My grandfather had shingles before he passed, and it was horrible! I’m sorry to hear that your wife has it too.

    I’d like to share some knowledge with everyone that I kind of lucked into a while back that ended up really helping my grandfather with his shingles as well as other ailments that just about anyone in my family has had since.
    It’s called “Frequency Specific MicroCurrent” it’s a little hard to explain, but it really works! The way it works is by replicating the natural frequency of the cells that you’re looking to help heal. It also turns out to work quite well at killing off viruses within your system. So, when the shingles virus presented itself in my grandfather, I took him to our practitioner, and he was able to get rid of the shingles virus completely for the rest of his life, in one visit. This was a tremendous gift to the family, as he was nearing the end of his life, and my generation was all having babies.
    I know it sounds ridiculous; before I tried it myself I didn’t believe it either, but it has really helped my family over the past 5 years or so. And, keep in mind, until you actually give herbal medicine a try, you think that it’s a bunch of hocus pocus for hippies. The same thing with “Frequency Specific MicroCurrent” you just need to try it once to become a believer.

    If anyone wants to find a practitioner that works with it in your area, the website is and then click on Practitioners. BTW I have no connection to the website, or the industry, just a believer in the results.

  4. Those cheap nurseries (the one in IL) are actually good for Asparagus and rhubarb. Everything else died but those did good 🙂 So now I look for them to buy those because 20 asparagus for $4.99 is awesome 🙂

  5. Regarding the ducks who are dying — can’t say enough good about providing a piece of semi-frozen liver and/or good yogurt or kefir. If it’s a nutritional problem….

    • Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been wanting to try something like this in my yard for a some time now and never really was able to get past the “how do I make this work right stage.”

  6. I would try to give the ducks kelp also, I have found they will eat a ton of it if needed and it have all the vitamins and minerals anything could need.

  7. I think that either Steven Harris may not have given the best advice on a battery backup solution for the 850w computer. Unless I missed something, he assumed that the caller wanted to run the computer for an indefinite period of time. I didn’t get that; in any event, I think he should have considered presenting a solution that would power the computer through a 1-5 minute power loss then begin an automatic, orderly shutdown of the computer. That type of UPS would cost $100-150. It would allow the caller some time to connect to long term power solution if required. Just my thoughts

    • I tend to agree, the caller didn’t give all the details on the call and maybe Steven didn’t get them via E-mail, but it sounds to me like he needs something larger than a standard UPS but not something to run his computer for days on end.

      Even if his setup is pulling 850W constantly, which is VERY unlikely, 2 GC-2 batteries connected to a charger/inverter (such things do exist) would provide > 3 hr run time, a single large marine battery would provide at least an hour and maybe pushing 2 depending on how big you go. This FAR surpasses an off-the-shelf UPS which have really pitiful batteries in them an are meant to (at best) provide a few minutes of run time, just enough to save work and shut down.

      I suspect what happened though is the caller HAD a UPS that’d been sitting under his desk for 2, 3 or more years, long enough for the crummy SLA battery inside to grow old and feeble. So that when the power went off the UPS either died instantly or keep things running for all of a few seconds before the battery gave out. It may be all he needs is a new (and perhaps larger than average) UPS. Or it may be that all he needs is to build a 1-2 battery bank like Mr. Harris and our host recommend but instead of putting it in a truck (very cool) or in a closet (meh) just keep it under his computer desk and let it work as a UPS in addition to being available for other uses as needed. The ONLY way in which this DIY, high-capacity, UPS differs from a “Harris approved” home battery bank is the need for a means of having the batteries continuously available to power the computer through an inverter the instant power is lost. This isn’t hard to do, it just requires an inverter/charger designed for the purpose. Tripp Lite makes a wide assortment of such devices, I’m sure there are others.

      I think the question could have been better addressed if the starting assumption was “How can the caller solve his problem within the limitations of battery power” instead of “How many times do I have to pound on the limitations of battery power”. A 3-9 hr UPS that doubles as a home battery bank is not a bad idea, I think it has a lot of potential particularly for someone who depends on a computer for their income and might even be able to write off the expense against their income come tax time if the system is used on a business machine.

  8. Regarding the “Putting in irrigation in remote locations without power” call.

    Admittedly, by the numbers,with 1 psi = 2.31 vertical feet, to produce the pressure the drip system manufacturer says it would require the level of the water in the tank to be at least at 9’-3”.

    However yesterday, Saturday, I drip irrigated an area that was just about 28” below the then current water level of our smaller 600gal tank cistern. So I had only 1psi feeding a standard ½” poly drip irrigation tubing, and it worked fine.

    Now, I have never worked with drip tape and it might take a bit more pressure to “inflate” and hold that shape.

    While this is only a 600 gal tank, it is fed by rainwater off a 252 sq ft roof and located near the top of the relatively small, 1/3 acre site named “Green Patch” but with a 40 foot elevation change. So I have plenty of pressure from it to run hose to a number of drip irrigation systems anywhere on the property.

    While the larger 3,500 gal cistern pump/pressure tank feeds all the house plumbing, but does not have a bottom drain, I have it plumbed with ½” pvc and an outside hose bib with holding a constant siphon so water is always available at that hose bib.

    So even without the helpful power backup solutions Steven Harris has provided me with, we could still have water in a grid-down scenario.

    Also, for what it is worth, in the fifteen years-plus living here, with the rainwater catchment, we have never been without water, which is soft water that is also inexpensively processes into safe, great tasting potable water.

  9. An idea on how to let us know who the members of the expert council are, in each Listener Calls Podcast, put the names and areas of expertise in the show notes.

  10. I was disappointed to hear you’d cull your entire flock if some got sick and died. I believe the reason the wild bird population are asymptomatic carriers is that they’ve developed natural immunity to the current avian flu outbreak. Nature culled the weak wild birds who were susceptible to the avian flu. They either died or were weakened and didn’t breed. If we let the “weak” chickens die and breed the survivors then we’ll have avian-flu resistant chickens.

    It’s the same with wild bees and the hoopla about breeding Varroa-Resistant bees. Nature already did this, and there are plenty of wild hives throwing off swarms all over town (Abilene, TX). I get calls all the time about new swarms or bees that have been in a wall or shed floor, etc for years. Clearly nature knows best, and will ultimately win.

    I understand why commercial chicken egg/meat producers would want to get to a clean state ASAP. They can’t wait to see which birds survive and then try to sell those eggs/meat to the public. BTW, there is VERY LITTLE chance of people contracting this current flu, so eating eggs and meat from infected but healthy birds is deemed safe in all the reports I’ve heard. Commercial producers can’t wait, they need a clean slate so they can get back to producing a commodity for sale.

    That said I bet for the same cost/chick they currently pay, the big commercial breeders who’ve just had their flocks wiped out would indeed buy resistant chicken stock if such were currently commercially available.

    • Two things are clear, one you don’t know much about bees. The other you don’t comprehend the threat of this disease to poultry.

      • Hi Jack, love your show. Thanks for responding. Sorry this is long but I know you want to give accurate information to your listeners and I’ll offer the following for you to consider regarding bees and avian influenza…

        I’ll admit I’ve only kept backyard chickens for a few years, so there’s nothing special about my chicken knowledge beyond what I’m reading and hearing from the so-called experts. More on chickens later.

        I will ask you to consider your statement on beekeeping. I offer that your own hosted guests agree with what I said. Matt Reed, Episode 955, Aug 8, 2012 says on his website, “In our own apiaries, colonies that succumb to Varroa or other pests and diseases are not increased the next season. Those that survive, we split from and increase our stock. Bees have been thriving without human intervention for thousands of years. As backyard and hobby beekeepers, let’s let them do what they do best in a healthy environment, and allow them to satisfy their own colony’s needs by relying upon the myriad of abilities they inherently already have.”

        Jason Bruns, Episode 1217, Sept 30, 2013 on his website says, “Since varroa’s introduction I believe feral bees in my area HAVE BEEN doing the same thing as Chump Crickets. It is my belief that ferals are a lot more common than most think. As far as varroa go the damage is done.”
        He mentions Chump Crickets as a case where natural selection resulted in rapid change in crickets to deal with a parasite. The essence of his post is that bees do very well when left alone, and human intervention is stymieing natural adaption and Varroa resistance.

        I could probably go on citing the words of others but reading the work of other people is just theory. Hands-on experience and observation is “practical application”. I would be happy to host you in Abilene anytime you’d like to come join me for a cut out. A cut out is going to a wild hive and removing them, usually because humans are unhappy with the hive location. I’ve done over a dozen cutouts of wild beehives. These were swarms that found a cavity and started colonizing it. They often are in place for a year or two before people get around to calling for removal, because at first the hive is small and bee traffic is low and people hope the bees will die out on their own. Locally our wild bee population is very healthy, if extremely unpleasant in temperament. I removed one hive from the floor of a shed that would have filled at least 5 deeps easily. These bees had been in place for many years, absent any human applying miticides, and by popular belief should have died of Varroa many times over. Yet they not only survive, they thrive and throw off swarms.

        So I will stand by my comment on bees naturally breeding for varroa resistance. I also would suggest that those beekeepers who are interested in wild bee survivability should at least once capture a swarm and if they wish they should conduct a cutout. Observing and studying WILD beehives isn’t something most beekeepers do. Seeing how they construct their hives and comb when there’s no foundation or even foundation-less frames is rather awe-inspiring (and sometimes confounding). Cut-outs are a special skill, so understandably few people do many of them but I maintain that wild bees have adapted to varroa and SHB well enough that they continue to thrive in the wild.

        If you don’t wish to come all the way to Abilene but have an interest in hearing more or joining a cutout you can find many people in the DFW area listed on this page.

        Again the crux of it is cutouts, and the dozens of people like myself on the link above WOULD NOT BE NECESSARY IF BEES ALWAYS DIED FROM VARROA. Only because wild bees do in fact thrive is there a need for people to do cutouts at all.

        When Varroa first came on the scene, people thought it was going to be honeybee Armageddon. The bees adapted, bred for resistance, and now thrive despite Varroa. What is a greater threat to honeybees is neonics and Big Ag monoculture.

        Back to chickens. I’m not aware that anyone can definitively say how widespread avian flu is among North America’s wild bird populations. Widespread testing for avian bird flu resistance in wild birds hasn’t been done yet to my knowledge. There have been tests on big bird die-offs to determine cause, but not on wild but healthy-appearing birds who survived infection but may remain asymptomatic carriers. Why would anyone have done testing on apparently healthy wild birds and who would have funded such studies? Basically nobody knows how many wild birds are H5N2 carriers. Clearly there are now wild birds healthy enough to be flying state to state infecting chicken and turkey farms across 10 states. Avian flu has been found in over 100 species of wild birds. The current outbreak vector is thought to be migrating wild ducks, Canadian Geese and predatory birds. What if 50% of these birds in North America are carriers? There simply is no reasonable way to contain such widespread wild vectors.

        I maintain that wild birds have encountered avian flu and appear to have developed resistance to it. There is no way currently to know how widespread it may be amongst wild birds, but clearly some portion of the apparently healthy wild bird population can be vectors to susceptible chicken flocks. Why can’t our chicken flocks be bred amongst survivors to enhance resistance just as wild birds have done?

        As for eating meat or eggs from chickens who encounter and survive bird flu I don’t think anyone would suggest killing and eating a sick bird, cow, or anything. However, even some of the birds getting culled in the current outbreak may be headed for the table. Why? Because properly cooking the meat or eggs kills the virus. So regardless of infection or not, if they’re alive when processed they may end up as food. They’ll probably get processed and cooked well done and become components of other livestock feed or something like chicken nuggets which are fully cooked before getting to store shelves.
        “The biggest infected flock, by far, were the 3 million egg-laying chickens identified this week in Iowa. A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Agriculture tells The Salt that the birds will be euthanized later this week. In this case, the birds may not all be composted. Some could also be buried, or sent to rendering plants.”

        Other sources which indicate proper cooking of eggs and meat allow for eating from avian flu exposed birds.

        Again, thanks for your podcast and all the paradigm-challenging viewpoints you share through your show.

        • There are no bees immune to varroa mites and letting them be attacked and doing nothing won’t change that no matter how much text you type. This would be like a human being immune to lice, or a aphid being immune to a lady bug.

          The chief reason wild bees are not as poorly effected by mites is comb size.

          This is also no related in anyway to the current reality of H5N2 Avian flue.

  11. In regards to growing apple trees from seed, I have planted about 60 apple trees this way on my property. I am still not convinced that transplants have a growth benefit to direct seeding.

    You can check out my you tube channel : Seattle Fruit Trees that shows my experience.

  12. Thought-provoking podcast, as usual. I usually learn something. I agree with some of what you say and usually disagree, as well. You were somewhat off in your view of medicine (though not completely). The system is imperfect, to be sure. But the vast majority of doctors do not order tests or take other actions so that they will somehow profit. More and more these days most doctors don’t make more money the more tests they order, for example. They try and save patients money, if possible. Some doctors are profiteers, but they are the exception, rather than the rule. As a health care provider, I believe there is no place in medicine for profiteering. And the primary problem in health care is profiteering. For the most part, NOT on the part of doctors or hospitals. The real problem is profiteering on the part of the big drug companies. equipment manufacturers and, especially, the private insurance companies. Private insurance sucks billions of dollars out of the health care system. That was a problem before Obamacare and Obamacare, despite the paranoia and scare tactics, has not made the problem worse. Now, of course, you can get insurance with a preexisting condition. Now you can’t be dropped when you get sick. But private insurance is still pandered to with Obamacare. Take away the profiteers and the cost of health care would drop significantly for all of us. For buying most things in life (cars, crap like televisions and etc.) I say, go ahead, let the “free market” and profiteering go to town and make as much money as possible. When it comes to our health, though, profiteering is simply immoral and people die because of it. What we need is a single-payer system. No, not government-run health care, but government-paid for heath care. No one on Medicare has to declare bankruptcy, like many who do not have Medicare. No one on Medicare is denied care, like many who do not have Medicare. Medicare is currently the biggest brake on what the private insurance companies would like to do to us. What we really need is Medicare for all (and then get rid of Obamacare). Anyway, thanks for the thought-provoking podcasts.

    • If govt paid for healthcare, they would surely run it. You are right that the problem is insurance companies. They dictate treatment plans sometimes where people aren’t even offered certain tests or treatments because their insurance won’t cover it. Of course, you can get whatever treatment or tests you want as long as you pay out of pocket. A lot of doctors are well meaning and not greedy, but the problem is that the information they get to treat people is run by greedy corporations. Drug companies control a lot of the studies done and the medical schools. So, doctors really think they are helping people by prescribing medications when, for example, a gluten free diet could cure them of their ills without harmful side effects like synthetic drugs.

      Everyone has different experiences, but our current govt would destroy healthcare as we know it. Drug companies are already in bed with the govt as well as the big food companies. If we had decent people in govt, I would say we could try it out, but things are so corrupt right now that govt-paid for (and eventually govt-run) healthcare would be disastrous in my opinion.

    • @David Lehnherr – I’m not going to pretend to know what you know about the health care industry, as you are a “health care provider” and I am not. However, your remarks show some misunderstanding of how economics work within an industry that I hope I could help clarify.
      First off, I think when you say “profiteering” that what you really are referring to is “price gouging.” Price gouging is already illegal, not just in health care, but in every industry. If I ran a gas station, and there was a natural disaster in my area, I couldn’t just raise the price to $15 per gallon, without legal ramifications down the road. The same can easily be enforced in emergency situations, if an ambulance company wants to charge $2,000 for a ride to the hospital because the heart attack victim is in no position to negotiate a lower rate, that’s price gouging, not profiteering, and their are legal avenues for it.
      Price gouging, is not possible under normal circumstances. Wal-Mart couldn’t just start charging $100 for a box of Cheerios because it wanted to, everyone would just buy their Cheerios elsewhere or would buy another brand of cereal. Price gouging could not be possible in a free market environment, the reason why is because it would be just too profitable to pass up the opportunity to setup a stand right outside of Wal-Mart (using the example before) and sell Cheerios you got online for $5 per box. The free market would fill the demand at more reasonable prices automatically. The same would work in the health care industry, if one hospital becomes known as the lousy hospital that charges the same as the good hospital, no one would go to the lousy hospital. If one doctor wants to charge $300 for a test that shouldn’t cost more than s$50, no one will go to that doctor etc. However, when you strip away all of the free market controls by taking away all of the choices individuals and businesses make, price gouging becomes not only possible, but inevitable. That is the problem with our current system, Obamacare made it worse by further stripping away individual choice, and a single payer system will be the final nail in the coffin.
      These problems do not present themselves immediately, but slowly build over time. You may not even notice it, but you’ll instinctively know that “this doesn’t seem right” and “things were better in the old days”

      • @USCPrepper: I don’t think I do misunderstand the economics of the healthcare system. Economics is not black-and-white, and what applies in some situation does not apply to all. As much as some would like to believe that the “free market” concept can be applied to all situations, that is simply not true. The “free market” is great for most consumer goods, for example.

        As far as price gouging goes, it may be illegal in some ways but it’s done routinely. Being able to charge whatever you want is frequently done, and it’s not big deal when you’re not dealing with situations that don’t affect life and limb. Even in those situations it’s sometimes done, even if it is immoral in some circumstances. In the health care world, the free market simply doesn’t work. And emergency situations are the last place you’ll find controls on what is charged. Are you going to worry about cost or haggle in an emergency?

        You get charged what you get charged, and after-the-fact remedies are often unavailable or difficult to pursue. That is one example of why we need government regulation in some situations. When it comes to healthcare you’re not buying Cheerios, you’re needing something incredibly more complex and involved than a simple transaction involving a food choice. First, not all doctors and hospitals are the same. Some are better are some things and worse at others, and it is very difficult if not impossible to separate the nuances. And as a consumer you’re often not sure what you need beforehand. Unlike many purchases, if you have abdominal pain, for example, you don’t know if you need to just talk with someone or if you’re going to need thousands of dollars (or tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, under the current profiteering model) of tests or remedies (surgery, etc.) until you’ve gotten involved in the system.

        Once involved, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what one doctor or hospital offers as opposed to another not only in terms of quality but also in terms of cost. Not only because no one can tell you ahead of time what those costs are, but also because of complex charging systems that make comparing costs between hospitals essentially a matter of comparing apples and oranges. And especially in a more acute situation people don’t have the time to “shop around.” And if you finally manage to determine (almost impossible) that a hospital fifty miles away offers a better price for the same service (and that assumes there won’t be any complications that undo all of the “free market” comparisons you’ve done), should you have to bypass more local (and more convenient for you and your family) hospitals so that you can save money in a system where everyone is overcharging in one way or another?

        Because the system is so complicated and the finances such a shell game there is no incentive to lower price based on any sort of shopping that consumers might attempt. In other words, the system is so complicated that you can’t compare doctors and hospitals and make a rational decision that you’re going to go to one or the other because they charge you less. Because of all of the complexities and variables you may end up being charged more, and with the profiteering in the current system, you’ll be charged more than necessary. Take your time if you’re shopping for a new TV, or a new car. Try it, though, the next time you have chest pain or are seriously injured in a car wreck or have any other countless health care issues. Despite your comment, price gouging/profiteering is built into the current medical system and only government regulation and a single-payer system is the answer.

        Under the current system of profiteering any of us could go bankrupt if our medical problems we’re serious enough, no matter how much we might like the idea of shopping around. You have less of a choice than you realize with the current system. With a single-payer system you still have doctor and hospital choices, you just lose the chance you’ll end up going bankrupt. You won’t have to worry about “shopping” a system that is inherently impossible to shop, as you’ll always being comparing apples to oranges. Obamacare is an improvement, but it still kowtows to the profiteers.

        Get rid of the profiteers. By using a privately-run but government-funded system you will start seeing uniformity of service quality and lowering of health care costs, so that you can go to local doctors and hospitals and expect good health care, without fear of bankruptcy. The U.S. has the highest health care costs in the world per capita, but the quality provided by our health care system is not better than the quality provided by many other nations, who have government-funded systems. And our system supposedly offers the most “choice” — which is a sad charade perpetrated by the profiteers (drug companies, private insurance companies, etc.) that control our current health care system.

        • @David Lehnherr – it sounds like we pretty much agree on everything regarding the medical industry and the problems it presents to society as a whole.
          If you don’t like my example of Cheerios because it’s too simple (that was done on purpose by the way), then feel free to replace it with absolutely anything. A system of fair competition and free consumer choice will make it impossible to price gouge just about every time. The only exception being in emergency settings. But, there are already laws on the books to prevent that as well… during Hurricane Katrina I heard there were gas stations charging above $6 per gallon when gas was lower than it is today. The government didn’t just let that go unnoticed no harm no foul. If an ambulance or an emergency room wants to take advantage of someone having a heart attack, then there’s legal recourse after the fact, as long as the same laws are applied in the same way.
          The current system has gotten out of balance not because their is too much free market, but because there isn’t enough. By controlling the amount of doctors that can enter the field, and they have to abide by the pricing set by the local chapter of the AMA etc., you have reduced or eliminated the supply side of the equation.
          By then limiting access to healthcare without insurance, the consumer’s choice on insurance is only what the government or employer is willing to supply, their choice of doctor is only what the insurance company is willing to supply etc. you have eliminated the demand side of the equation from working properly too.
          My business is a lot more complicated to quote than a doctor’s exam, or an x-ray. And yet, the free market works here just fine, but we don’t get together as a “trade association” and violate the Sherman Act by price fixing. Each Doctor’s office could easily have standardized pricing on their menu much like a restaurant, but the system is not designed to cater to consumer choice, and instead to get on as many lists of insurance companies as possible.

          If you had a government funded but privately run health care system, that means 1 government gives over the money to 1 company. That company then has ALL the choice while everyone else (including doctor’s) have none. You will see uniformity of service quality, that’s true, but it might not be a high level of service as the company will get paid the same whether they roll out the red carpet or barely provide any care at all. What instead would happen is two levels of service: the one for government officials and executives within the oligarchy, and one for everyone else. (Much like how the USSR operated before it collapsed) You wouldn’t have to worry about doctor’s price gouging the average American, because their pay will only be what the company wants it to be. The costs will continue to rise on a governmental level and yet there will be less and less tangible to show for it. But, don’t think that it’s just a couple people at the top that are keeping the money for themselves, NO, it’s the old person down the block who’s taking all the money, or the sickly kid around the corner. Be mad at them, they’re the ones ruining your life! And the march to tyranny continues, sigh

  13. Re: crappy plants from the Internet:
    Jack, you talked about ‘scraping’ before pruning a recently planted bare-root tree. A quick web search showed nothing useful… How does this work?

    • This is just seeing if the damn thing is alive. If you scratch the bark with your nail you will see the cambium. If it isn’t green, it is dead. What I was saying is a few of these by the time I found any green they were only 4 inches tall or less. The entire tops were DEAD.

  14. One thing to watch if you sell eggs, if you get stuck in an Avian Flu quarantine zone. The state will not dispose of your chickens if they do not test positive, but you can not move any chickens or chicken products for 30 days off your site. Not so bad if you have no egg inventory, you will lose profits if they expire while in storage. This is even for the backyard flocks, At least that is how it goes in MN.

    • 30 days doesn’t really scratch the surface on egg viability

      • 30 days is the maximum storage time according to the MN rules for food safety if you are selling your eggs.

        I know what you mean though. These will be breakfast for the summer.