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Showing posts from April, 2013

Pencils and World Peace

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Jay O'Laughlin brought the following video to my attention. Since it is such a good follow-up to yesterday's post, and so timely with a respect to the state of the world today, I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to view it, and contemplate.



Thanks, Jay.

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The Write Stuff

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Judging by tone of the emails in my inbox last week, passions are running high. Most were about stuff non-related to wood, unless I want to write about gun stocks. Perhaps I'll get a guest blogger to write about that; I know several gunsmiths who are amazing with the quality of their stocks.

But there was one letter, one of those chain things that never die, forwarded to me by Go Wood reader Tom O. that tweaked my interest, and I had to check it out. Here's the message (why are they always in BOLD and ALL CAPS?)
WHEN NASA FIRST STARTED SENDING UP ASTRONAUTS, THEY QUICKLY DISCOVERED THAT BALL-POINT PENS WOULD NOT WORK IN ZERO GRAVITY.  TO COMBAT THIS PROBLEM, NASA SCIENTISTS SPENT A DECADE AND $12 MILLION DEVELOPING A PEN THAT WRITES IN ZERO GRAVITY, UPSIDE DOWN, ON ALMOST ANY SURFACE INCLUDING GLASS AND AT TEMPERATURES RANGING FROM BELOW FREEZING TO OVER 300 C.THE RUSSIANS USED A PENCIL. ENJOY PAYING YOUR TAXES, THEY’RE DUE AGAIN! Now, unlike the radical Tom O. (you know the I…

The Hopeful Story of American Chestnut Recovery

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Dr. William A. Powell received his BS in biology in 1982 at Salisbury State University, MD, and his PhD in 1986 at Utah State University studying the molecular mechanisms of hypovirulence in the chestnut blight fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica. He is currently the Director of the Council on Biotechnology in Forestry and SUNY-ESF and the Co-Director of the New York State American Chestnut Research and Restoration Program. One of his significant accomplishments is the enhancement of blight resistance in American chestnut by his research team and collaborators.  In the following video, Dr. Powell does a nice job of summarizing what happened to the American Chestnut(Castanea dentata), what is being done in the scientific realm to make a recovery of the species possible, and how you can help bring the American Chestnut back to the American forest.



It would be a wonderful thing to have chestnut back in the mix of commercial woods available for our use. It's a great wood. I especially ap…

Going Green with a Black Locust Deck

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"I'm exploring the possibility of building a black locust deck, as I understand that the wood is naturally very insect- and rot-resistant. I'm having difficulty locating sources of black locust, however. Do you know of anyone who sells it? Thanks in advance for any information that you might have."  - Yours, Laura White Huntingdon, PA So began an interesting project. Laura White and her husband Jamie were committed to building an environmentally-friendly deck, one free of chemical treatment. The original deck site was situated partly over their well, so they were concerned about possible contamination of their water by the wood treatment leachate. They consulted an EPA website and decided that a non-treated decking product would be their best choice.

Laura googled "green decking" and found information about Ipe ("ee-pay") and found that the properties of Ipe were well suited for decking. However, the price of Ipe, and the the fact that it has …

Are Lumber Prices Too High?

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That certainly is the sense I'm getting from the lumber-using community. Just when it looks like business is starting to pick up, softwood lumber is going up faster than any other commodity out there. And hardwood lumber is starting to pick up steam as well.

Rich Vlosky down at LSU sent out the following news item today:
Lumber Prices Skyrocket to 8-Year Highs on Housing Recovery Apr 11 2013, 17:49              Content Provider: Seeking Alpha Author: Mark Perry
Thanks in large part to the U.S. housing recovery and an increased number of housings starts, framing lumber prices skyrocketed last week to $451 per 1,000 board feet (see blue line on chart below). The last time framing lumber prices exceeded $450 was back in September 2004, eight and a half years ago. CME lumber futures contracts fell by $11.40 last week to $379.80, but have been trading in recent months at price levels not seen since the spring of 2005, eight years ago (see red line on chart).
Looking just at these trends, yo…

Kramer, Seinfeld Agree - Wood is Good; Rosanne Takes Up Logging

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Need a laugh as tax weekend stares you in the face? Hey, remember...it could be worse. You could live in France.

Meanwhile, the world of wood continues to get more PR...like in this Seinfeld bit and Snickers commercial. Smile!



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An Ecosystem Management Approach to Reversing Climate Change

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This is truly the best lecture I've ever heard about global climate change, and the lecturer, Allan Savory, barely even mentions fossil fuels. Instead, he focuses on the issue of desertification of a majority of the earth's land surface...why he (and most others) thought it was happening, how he now knows and admits he was wrong, the terrible consequences of his early assumptions, and what he now has proven is the right path to returning the earth's terrestrial ecosystem to its pre-industrial state.

If you care about the earth, and want to understand better what we can do, watch the entire video. It's the fastest 22 minutes on YouTube, spoken slowly, clearly, and with compelling visual proof.



I suspect there are a few livestock ranchers out there who could say, "I told you so..."

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Climate Change Update

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Best fuel for best use, and let the markets drive the technology. Trust the people to learn stewardship of the planet's resources as the dynamics of society change - the markets will reflect our increasing knowledge and preferences. Don't over-think it, and don't try to control temperature and hurricane activity through regulation and taxes tied to dubious accounting schemes. Trust that the environmental calculus has already been taken care of, and use the available resources to ease the burdens of society, not to increase them. - Go Wood: Frost, Tolstoy and Wanniski Weigh in on the Folly of Carbon Accounting That last sentence was brought to my mind again as I read "It’s the cold, not global warming, that we should be worried about" in last Thursday's edition of The Telegraph. It seems that the concept of considering climate change policy through the lens of actual, not theoretical, human impacts is beginning to dawn on others.
Since [the 2003 heat wave in th…