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Death and global warming

Death and global warming

Climate change activists claim that global warming is already resulting in lots of deaths (although the number they claim varies widely) and will cause more in the future – to the point of extinction in the next decade (at least according to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and that overexposed precocious brat, Greta Thunberg).

We do not hear much from climate activists about the effects of … dying.  We humans – and the rest of the earth’s fauna — tend to pass gas as we pass on.  Quite a bit of it, as it turns out.  And especially we humans because of our funereal rituals.

The major problem is the typical American funeral. It has a very large carbon footprint.  You have the machinery to dig those graves … the caravan of cars … the production of headstones … etc.  But the real polluter is preserving the body, itself.

To preserve the remains for posterity, there is the construction of those fancy casket and cement vaults– but why?  I am okay with creating monuments for prominent folks as a symbol of their accomplishments and as an inspiration to future generations.  

I can understand preserving and creating a mortuary monument for a guy like President Lincoln – who incidentally was one of the earliest corpuses to be embalmed in America.  It was necessitated by his body being on display for 14 days as it traveled the country before being laid to rest in Springfield, Illinois.  It could be argued that Lincoln launched the current craze of preserving the body in America – although the Egyptians were famous for the mummification method of preservation several millennia prior. 

But do we really need to preserve the local hairdresser or auto mechanic – or even folks who write commentaries – for far beyond the time there are any family members left to visit the gravesites?

If there is anything natural about nature, is that human remains should be recycled.  The nutrients in our bodies is a feast for supply-chain fauna and flora that we humans will later consume in the form of a Big Mac or a slice of watermelon.

There has always been a segment of the populace to advocate for “natural burial” – no casket, no sarcophagus, not even a linen cloth.  Bury the bodies au natural has many benefits — and there is more than one way to do that.

Discovery magazine covered several of them – many of which I would not recommend.  In Africa and outside of Katmandu in Nepal, there are cultures that believe in consuming the flesh ritualistically.  Yes, cannibalism.

Air burials are the custom of such places as the Tibetan regions of China.  The corpses are disrobed and placed on the ground to be consumed by vultures, wild dogs and any other creature looking for a meal. 

In India, the bereaved watch their beloved being consumed by fire – whereupon the ashes and skeletal remains are dumped into the river.  Other cultures simply throw the body in certain areas of a river.  It is said that they do not eat the fish from the river.  Good thinking.

Just so you do not think that our modern burial customs are the only threat to the future of the planet. Burning bodies – ashes to ashes, as the religious ritual tells us – is not a good way to replenish the earth.  Actually, we did not start life from ashes … or dust for that matter.   Cremation destroys much of the body’s nutrient value – and then there is all that smoke, hot air and Carbon emission.  In America, it is even worse.  We use lots of fossil fuel to bring the nutrient-rich human body to biblical ashes.

Space technology has given us another way to preserve the body while providing no particular benefit to humanity.  The proposed idea is to launch the bodies into outer space. Imagine the carbon footprint on that option.

Fortunately, the natural cycle has been given a boost from technology and innovation.  Discover also reported on efforts to turn the human body into compost.  Yep! Fertilizer.  That is actually what the dead body is supposed to be in nature … fertilizer.  It is just that we humans have sidetracked the process with arrogant beliefs in a sort of memorialized immortality. 

Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, of Washington State University, has proven the benefits of composting cow bodies to return much-needed nutrients to farm soil.  Picking up on the idea, Katrina Spade’s company, Recompose, has designed honeycomb-style pods (pictured above)v in which human remains are decomposing in a dignified park-like setting.

The human body is a motherlode of essential nutrients.  In addition to carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, we are depositories of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur and calcium – all essential building blocks for life.  Instead of making them the inheritance for future generations, we lock them up forever in a vault.

This would be one climate change crusade I could get into.  I have been a critic of our ceremonial burial customs since I was a teenager.  It was when a family member had passed, and the local mortician offered a splendiferous metal casket in which the dearly departed would be enclosed in a waterproof, bug-proof cement sarcophagus.  He proudly guaranteed that the body would be “preserved” for more than 100 years.

Having been to scores of funerals in my life, I never attended one that made sense or seemed necessary.  And I am a person who puts beliefs into practice.  When I cross the bridge to the great perhaps, there will be no funeral — no gathering of mourners.  The book of those who loved me or hated me is closed.  No amount of prayer can influence God’s judgment – if there be such a judgmental God.  Consequently, my body will be picked up by a service that may get me into medical school – after which my remains will be returned to the earth.  I suppose I could wind up in one of those places where they allow bodies to naturally decompose for research purposes.  

And what about that climate change issue.  A typical American burial can result in a 350 kg of CO2 footprint.  A compost burial is a negative 864 kg CO2.  Take that 486 kg difference and multiply it by all the folks on earth.  The potential is phenomenal.

If people really want immortality, this is the way to go.  My nutrients may one day be living in another human being.  And just think of all the flowers that will not have to be picked in the prime of their lives.  Maybe one of them will be me.

Next time all the smarty-pants climate-change enthusiasts gather, I hope they will put this on the agenda.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Frank stetson

    +1 Larry. Real eyeopener.

    Except for the climate change advocate snark, real nice touch, picking on a little girl…. Why the name calling?

    My climate change stance is ez; why pollute more if it’s cost effective to pollute less. So, I’ve added hybrids to the family fleet Added cleaner renewable pellet fuel and higher efficiency oil burner,ac, to house, higher efficiency major appliances, lights, etc. Basically, I spend less, are warmer, more lumens, very minor sacrifices and nice roi. Think my oil n gas down by 70% pre covid. Solar hot water over 30 years old, free tank every day! Don’t use enough electric to make solar pay; perhaps after the next car if those prices drop.

    I will add you concept to the list. In NJ, we’ve been doing some of this for years. We call it Seacaucus ;-).

  2. Joseph S. Bruder

    Larry, the crap you’re going on about is a drop in the bucket compared to what needs to be done. A person with an average car who commutes 350 miles a week will generate as much CO2 as a funeral. One person flying from Boston to LAX and back will generate about 5 times as much. And yet, you’ll come back with “there are thousands of funerals every day!”… There are also something like 45,000 flights a day carrying millions of passengers.

    What we need is better communications infrastructure so people who can will be able work from home. More investment in solar and wind power. Upgrades to the national grid to better share the load across the country and get power from where it’s generated to where it’s needed. We need to stop burning coal and oil and switch to clean renewable energy. Renewables are already cheaper than coal, and fast approaching the cost of oil. The list goes on and on – investment in battery technology, helping people upgrade their homes for better insulation and more efficient lighting and heating, more mass transit and cleaner cars, programs to encourage states to enact renewable standards, ratings and regulations for appliances, even help for farmers to invest in RE generation… In other words, all the things that Trump ignored for the last 4 years and Biden is working on. It’s not only good for the planet, programs like this will ensure that the country has the energy it needs to meet future needs.

    Larry, you’re looking at one scraggly tree, and the rest of the country is looking at the whole forest…

    • Dan Tyree

      You can’t see past your nose. Dumbass

  3. Frank stetson

    Actually, a huge polluter are those container ships bringing us shit from overseas. . Believe it or not we could pollute a lot less just by going slower. The current bottleneck is a pollution nightmare. If transportation holds about 29% of the total bag, ships are 18, followed by cars at 10. Planes pollute more per person, but less of them. There are virtually no pollution controls on ships. A mega ship at 15 football fields in like 50,000,000 cars. Yet, just getting our crap from china slower can help.

    But Brau. I disagree. My point is if it’s ez, it’s always better to pollute less. Fuck climate change, let’s just not be dirty pigs. As far as I can say, Larry’s idea fits that model. I would imagine that you could get one of these funerals at a similar price as any other funeral and if it helps, it helps. That’s my mantra.

    My next adventure will be a hybrid water heater that takes advantage of the outside weather to generate hot water like a heat pump. If I get it right I think as a side benefit I can also blow off heat in the house in the winter and cold into the house in the summer. May take a little manual intervention between seasons, but that’s a small price to pay. They are a little more expensive than a normal water heater, but once I calculate the cost savings for generating the hot water, plus blowing off the heat or cold, I am sure I can get a decent rou and a breakeven within a short number of years. And I will use less oil to generate hot water saving money and pollution. Win win in my book.

    That’s why getting products later from China doesn’t really bother me at all. I can easily live with it if it pollutes less. Better yet would be to make some actual improvements to the ships, avoid any wait time at the ports, they never should be idling. My take is every little bit helps.

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      We could actually pollute a lot less by buying local… but energy prices are subsidized and including in the price of goods. So the goods flow from the cheapest source to where it gets the best price. Changing the energy pricing around the world would not only change where we buy goods, but also bring jobs back into the US. If our infrastructure starts relying on cheaper (and cleaner) renewables, we will start taking manufacturing jobs back from Asia.

      Ships have enough deck space that they could probably put on enough batteries and solar panels to drive their engines. After all, they’re just big diesels. Or they could charge batteries and use the electricity to create hydrogen, which is easier to store, and could possibly run the same engines if they’re relatively new. We’ve given the Chinese a chance to compete based on the availability of cheap labor that they have. It’s time to put our money into robotics and clean energy and start sending goods back. They have a lot of mouths to feed, they’ll eventually need more than they can produce at cheap enough prices.

  4. Florida Phil

    Larry, you sure do seem to attract (more than) your share of #$%^&ts (word disguised to prevent outrage)- those unfortunate souls with whom we are forced to share the ever-decreasing bounty of this earth. I guess someone must bear that burden. Fortunately, it is you and not me. Your forebearance for such lost souls is remakable.

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      You and Dan should get together and form the Larry Fan Club…

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      Yes, he sure does. Dan, for example, never adds anything to the conversation except name calling, profanity, and gay porn references. There are several of his kind, Blankenship, Jake Butcher, John J, Top, are recent examples. I would put you in that category too – you at least write in full sentences and leave off the worst of the name calling, but no opinion, no analysis, no other facts to consider. What’s the point in replying if you don’t say anything? Do you think Larry needs a cheering section?

      Larry hates me for taking him to task, and is deathly afraid of engaging me – he cowardly directs his comments about me in posts to others – but someone has to keep him honest. I’m sure Larry sometimes longs for the good old days when you wrote your editorial and three days later you MIGHT get a letter to the editor against it, by which time everyone has forgotten wht you wrote in the first place (kind of like this website and its one day delay before printing comments – I imagine Larry waiting at home to approve the comments as they come over AOL on the phone in the cradle). But I think even Larry would be bored if all he ever heard back was “Yeah! Fuck the Democrats!” The whole point of a comments section would be to create a dialog – challenge assumptions, correct falsehoods, and show that there are other opinions in the world.

      So, Phil, instead of some backhanded sniping, why don’t you take a point or two and try to argue your side? You might even be good at it. Or you can devolve into Dan…

      • frank stetson

        Brau, a conservative with a point? Support? Facts? I do think you’re a bit hard on Larry although much softer than some of his Chicago reviews :>) He does try, like all of us he slips up at times, he is unknowingly snarky, name calls, does not often walk it back when caught, but he does try, he often has facts, support, and sources. He does not copy/paste like everyone else on the banner head here.

        And he responds, at least to me on occasion — brave guy since his audience offers so very little in terms of articulate support.

        But Alice, well Alice doesn’t journalist here anymore, not sure she ever did.

        I still think this is a thought provoking piece on the main beaten track that can get one thinking in different directions. Especially since we are so vulnerable at the point of sale for these things.

        • Joseph S. Bruder

          Well, yes, I’m hard on Larry… He ends his post with a crack about “smarty pants climate change enthusiasts”. The whole tone of the article is “if you can’t fix this one thing, then nothing else is worth doing”. It’s pretty typical crap that comes from so-called conservatives who will do anything not to support any kind of work on climate change.

          Larry, how about a serious article about climate change? (hint: a truly serious analysis won’t happen, and if there is ANY kind of an article about CC, it will completely ignore the science, and will start and end with comments about “liberal fear mongering”). Larry can do a 10-part series criticizing Biden about how he fixed Trump’s Afghanistan disaster, but a 10-part series about something that affects everyone on the planet is beyond his capabilities. He’d actually have to do research, and not just use FOX News talking points. (And right now, Larry is probably stewing about “Bruder’s attacks” on the “mythical Larry” instead of thinking, “oooh, I love a good a challenge”.)

          Europe has been doing this for years. It’s called a “cemetery”. Only there, they dig up the bones after 20 years and put them in a reliquary (why they don’t burn them or grind them up for fertilizer, I don’t know). They don’t have long funeral processions, people just gather at the church or cemetery for a service, and most people can walk home (or more likely, to the neighborhood pub for a drink).

          Larry’s version is inside a heated and air-conditioned building and they’ll find a way to make even more money off of death. Instead of a pine box, they’ll have state-of-the-art composters (probably more expensive than even the hideously expensive caskets they currently sell in the US). They’ll probably charge you rent for the whole time it’s composting. Instead of letting bugs and bacteria do the work, they’ll use electricity to keep the composters at the correct temperature and constantly turn them. They give you a huge number for the energy cost of the funeral procession, which will probably happen anyway. The only difference is that after the funeral the body goes in a composter instead of to the crematorium or graveyard. But because it’s “different”, they don’t count it on their energy tab.

          I’m not opposed to saving energy. My house has been off-grid solar powered for almost 25 years. But this is an article written based on company marketing material, probably sent directly to Larry since he’s over 70 and living in the one-foot-in-the-graveyard state of Florida. I have no doubt that the company marketing this will charge lots of money and manage to capture a lot of people who think it’s worth it to save the equivalent of a hundred gallons of gas AFTER they die..

        • larry Horist

          Frank. Thanks for pointing out how Bruder attacks me. If, from your perspective, YOU think he is a “bit hard” on me, he must be over the top. But it is not just me. You know how he consistently attacks every writer on this site, the owner of this site — AKA Gilbertson — and degrades the site, itself. There is a reason, and I think it has more to do with potty-training than politics. I have two reasons for NOT engaging with him. First, I think he is more of a pest than an intelligent debater– and really expresses falsehoods about the real me as a person. He has the mythical Larry Horist of his invention with which to spar. No need for me to be a third party.. Second because I think there is an underlying reason why he is obsessed — and I am only a foil for him. I do not take his participation seriously because I am not sure his political opinions are the driving force. I stopped responding to him when I learned it seems to be all about sibling rivalry. You see Bruder (meaning brother) is the biological brother of the owner of this site. Bruder seems to be obsessed with demonizing his sibling — and dragging folks like you into the process. When Bruder refers to Gilbertson as a “cheap bastard,” he knows he is talking about his own brother. I think that is also the reason why you never see Gilbertson respond to him. Truth be know, Gilbertson does not even read the commentaries — staff does that. He basically shrugs Bruder off with no need or benefit in responding. It appears we are all being yanked around by a one-sided family feud. It is an old story. I look at it as Bruder’s Cain versus Gilbertson’s Able. I have held off revealing this, but in view of Bruder’s obsessive attacks, I think the underlying fact need to be put into context. Now what do you think?

        • larry Horist

          Frank, I am curious. I am not aware of any Chicago “reviews” that are particularly hard on me. Most of my Chicago publicity has been overwhelmingly positive. My archives are filled with thousands of newspaper articles … and I appeared on hundreds of news and talk shows. Yes .. I can recall a few political adversaries who said something unkind … but that goes with the turf. So, what did you find that I missed?

          • frank stetson

            Well, here’s one:

            This one starts out: “The guy who lost an election to Spanky the Clown finds a new way to operate.” But you gotta love: “Critics accuse him of selling out the United Republican Fund–an independent conservative group–and running it into the ground. They accuse him of double-crossing mayoral candidate Nino Noriega. The Sun-Times’s Steve Neal has called Horist a “loose cannon” with questionable ethics and a “grand sense of…self-importance.” The Tribune’s Tom Hardy used to deride him as “Uncle Larry,” a cranky ideologue.”

            The rest is a mixed bag: but I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.

            But many resonate with this one: “The Republican Party has been relegated to also-ran status in Chicago mayoral elections over the last decade, and the local GOP chairman glumly conceded Wednesday that the party has attracted what he called “fringe” candidates.”

            Larry was not the fringe, not the rebel, he was, basically, unknown: “Although the GOP has not formally taken sides, Hoffman said the nomination will come down to two more established candidates, Larry Horist and Nino Noriega, even though neither is well-known.” Summing up for the Republican Party at the time: “”We don’t have the financial resources to attract a good, qualified candidate in a mayoral election,” Hoffman contended. “So, we get guys who are the fringe of wanting to be politicians to come in and run.”

            So there it tis.

          • larry Horist

            Frank. For the record. I NEVER was a lobbyist for the Chinese. I did have clients who had business interests in China. The reporter on this story is just another example of inaccurate and dishonest journalism.

            With regard to the article in the Reader. You relate a few out-of-context comments and not only suggest that they are representative of the entire article, but you even suggest that it is representative of many of my Chicago critics. That probably qualifies you for a job at MSNBC. The Reader article is some 10,000 words — mostly positive about me and my history. I often recommend it to folks who like a more in depth to Larry Horist. In fact, I should really add that to my bio.

            Truth be know, the article was written by a friend I hired to do the article. I told him I did not want a puff piece. But I did have final say on what got published. I read his article and made no changes.

            You implied that the criticism i get here pales compared to the reviews I got in Chicago. Of course, the totally erroneous lobbying story was a reporter here in Florida. And I have appeared in the news tens of thousands of times over the course of my career. Most a just straightforward …. but generally positive of my civic and political work. You suggest that I was and “unknown” when I ran for mayor. Hardly. I was arguably the best known civic leader in Chicago at the time — having just come off of a two-year successful campaign to save the historic Chicago Theater.

            You seem to have started out with your premise and sifted through the Internet to find ANYTHING to prove your bogus assumption.

            I had to laugh when you came up with the Reader as an attack on me. I guess I was attacking myself. LOL

            Nice try, but no cigar.

          • larry Horist

            Frank. Regarding all those negative “Chicago reviews” you mentioned. For the record. I NEVER was a lobbyist for China. That was a total bit of totally inaccurate information by the press. No surprise there. And it was actually from Florida — not part of the “Chicago reviews.” I did have clients who did business in China, but never, never lobbied for the Communalist Party or China. When you are a conservative out in public, you get this crap.

            Yes, the Tobacco Institute was a client back in the 1970s. That was an interesting experience since they considered me a bit of a maverick. There is a fascinating story there, but I am saving it for my memoirs … lol

            Now as to the Reader article. You pulled an MSNBC approach. You selected a few charges out of a 10,000 word article on my history. BUT you did not follow up with the full story — generally blowing their accusations out of the water. That is just dishonest. It was a very fair and balanced article … mostly very positive. I would often point to it is people wanted to know more of my background. In fact, I should add it to my bio. I am glad you put up the link so that anyone interested can read the entire story.

            That story was written by a friend I hired to write it for the Reader. They wanted to to an extensive cover story on my background. I was hardly the “unknown” that you alleged (wrongly) when referring to my mayoral candidacy. I told the writing that I did not want a puff piece. I actually had the right to review the entire piece before it was published. When it was submitted to me, I signed off without any changes. Sooooo … the negative comments you site in the article came from … me. I thought the guy did a great job at capturing my history in Chicago … including the controversies. You live in public and politics as I did, you will get people pissed off. But it was always because they were doing bad things. Of course, you did not report on that part of the story — most of the story. You really had to push through a lot of positive stuff to find grains upon which to build your bogus narrative.

            And that article was only one of tens of thousands or times I appeared in the news media over the years — almost all positive.

            if you are a person of integrity, you should concede that you know nothing about me personally and should send back the mythical Larry Horist to Brother Bruder and deal with the issues — something you actually know something about and can make a real contribution to the dialogue.

  5. Frank stetson

    Gents, I have no reason to really try to understand what either of your issues are. I just made a point on this thread ..

    However… I think we are all a bit thin skinned and yet snarky at the same time. You started this off by saying “from your perspective”. Now, I can read a whole bunch of bad connotations behind what you mean here, or just laugh it off, but really, do you have to make everything so pointed? Either when you’re trying to elicit more conversation from me? That seems to be a bit disingenuous to your cause, but yet, there it tis. .

    Perhaps Brau is also affected by these little tweaks, some pointed jabs, a little innuendo, double entendres that we put in with each piece of information. You do the same thing about I guess the entire liberal and Democratic demographic when there’s really no need whatsoever, you’ve made your point, the over the top Snark is just not necessary. Or the name calling.

    Nonetheless, I pointed out what I pointed out because it seemed appropriate for the thread but in no way am I looking to understand, enter, much less comprehend whatever you folks have going. I have Dan 😉

    I’m still trying to understand how this guy went full solar in 1996. That’s really leading the curve. Wonder if he replaced panels yet.

    • larry Horist

      Yes Frank. You have Dan. I have told Dan in the past that I do not engage with him because of his language and insults. Not my style. I do not understand why you like to respond. You and Dan often are dealing with subjects and opinions that have nothing to do with the commentaries. You just use the platform to take verbal shots at each other. To what avail? My commentaries appear here and are often reposted on sites all across the country — sans reader responses. Occasionally they trigger a media interview. Your ongoing squabble with Dan dies here. Unless you get some sort of personal satisfaction, I don’t know why you bother. NOW … let me be clear. I am not referring to your more intelligent debate points. That can be interesting … and occasionally I find them enlightening. It is true. I actually had to correct opinions based on things you brought to light. That is productive. But this back and forth name calling does not impress or convince. I respect facts and sound logic. I never disrespect anyone who disagrees with me … only disrespect HOW they express their disagreement. I see no value in indulging with folks who have neither facts nor logic — but a sense of humor is frosting on the cake. To paraphrase the line form a children’s rhyme … when you are good, you are very very good, but when you are bad, you are horrid. LOL

      • Frank stetson

        You asked. I provided. Sorry if you didn’t like. Twice. Lost to Spanky the Clown; that never gets old.

        But wait, there’s more. Nah, you really take it hard.

        • frank stetson

          Larry, so I guess you didn’t work for the Chinese…. Honest Larry, I did not really read these, why would I? I didn’t even want to post them, you asked for them. And then you correct me? Hey, out of context, what would I know, I never read them, just a scan, cut n paste. You could have just cut out the middle man and googled them yourself…. It’s too bad you are portrayed as a stealth candidate, the guy Spanky the Clown beat, whatever, I am impressed that you could run. A door of opportunity opened and you took the steps to walk in.

          “Horist, executive director of the United Republican Fund, had been praising Noriega warmly until last week, then withdrew the praise to enter the race. He referred to Noriega as “a pugnacious name-caller.”

          “To which one can only say, “Gentlemen, gentlemen! Please! You are Chicago Republicans. No one cares.” My point exactly :>)

          Sounds like you need to take on Sesame Street to reclaim your conservative advocacy :>)

          But wait, there’s even more……

          • larry Horist

            Ah hah. You research my past like a prosecutor. Scanning to find items to fit your preconceived narrative. Try reading them if you want to be fully informed. You only have another 9,999 articles to go. Between working out your green life style with Bruder and talk about me, you have no time for issues. I think I will abandon this thread. It is becoming a townhall meeting. lol By the way, did you ever get the portion of my book I emailed to you? Read it? I wanted you honest opinion…. really.

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      Well, Larry, I hope you cleared it with Gilbertson before you let that cat out of the bag… He and I have different politics, but I do it mostly to keep his website from becoming a one-sided Trump-fest. And we proudly call each other cheap bastards, it’s how we were raised. In fact, if you go back to some earlier columns, he calls himself that. We get along fine, but don’t discuss politics much since the Trump era. “Degrading the site”? I suppose that depends on your politics. You don’t seem to accept any opinion other than your own as valid. I try to balance some of the conservative misinformation with facts and figures, and knock you off your high horse once in a while.

      As I predicted, you stewed in your own sauces about the “mythical Larry” instead of taking up the challenge to do some real journalism. And it took you long enough to figure out Joseph’s Brother from Joseph S. Bruder… But Frank is right – you really are too thin skinned. That’s a heckuva meltdown – for being in politics your whole life, you really can’t take criticism… Where’s that sense of humor you claim to have? And puh-leez – Cain and Abel? You are taking this way too seriously… If I ever decide to create my own progressive news site, you’re welcomed to heckle me.

      Frank, I started building my house in 1995, and moved in as soon as the foundation was capped (bare concrete walls, main floor with a tarp over it for a roof, and a wood stove – obviously before I was married! At least it was a walkout basement, so I had some windows, and there was plumbing). I started out with an inverter and some deep-cycle marine batteries and one 250W solar panel leaned against the front of the foundation (and an old Wisconsin generator for backup). A year or two later, when the roof went up, I put up 1KW of panels – pretty much a do-it-yourself project, but at the time I was working for a solar inverter company, so I had good advice and access to (relatively) cheap panels ($10 per watt back then). I really need to upgrade…The panels are at about 70% of original capacity, and my second battery is 20 years old, probably at about 5% of original capacity. Luckily, lights and computers are a lot more efficient than they were in 1995.

      I’ll probably replace the whole system next summer (this summer was the year of clearing fields and building fencing). I may replace the roof panels, but my wife (who is paralyzed with fear on the third step of a step ladder) really doesn’t want me going up there any more (and it IS a 30′ drop off the south side roof), so I’ll probably put a 5KW system out in the field. What’s amazing is that my old Trace inverter is still running like the day it was new. It was one of the first commercial solar inverters, and they built it to last. I may relegate it to the barn as a backup system. It works great, but it’s from before electrically eraseable memory came along, so it can’t save operating parameters, and I don’t really want to dig into the electronics to add capability (but it’s not out of the question, once it becomes the backup system!) Until my battery started getting weak a couple of years ago, I didn’t lose power once in 18 years. Meanwhile, every time it snows up here (a lot in NH), half my neighbors lose their power for a few days.

      I’m intrigued by your hybrid water heater… that might be a fun project for next year too. I’ll add that to the other 50 projects on my list. Not sure if it would be practical here. I’m not a thermal-cycle engineer, but I think 40 degrees F is the lower limit for running a heat pump (at least with the current refrigerants that are available). That makes it relatively inefficient for about 8 months of the year here! I’ve always thought about putting the pump (or at least the coils) for a freezer outside to take advantage of winter… but in all actuality, the cheaper way will likely be to just get a few more panels and use a standard freezer.

      • larry Horist

        Doe the benefit of clarity, I shall put aside my policy of ignoring you. In response to your hope … the answer is “yes.”

        Regarding the “cheap bastard” insult. You may see at as some term of endearment within the family, but you offered it up as a public insult to an audience not into your inside humor.

        I will not get into the “we get along well” claim by generally noting that different people can have a different view of what that means. I “get along” with my ex-wife. From your obsessive negative writing about him, the site and everyone associated with it, I fail to see any respect your brother very much — or the rest of us, for that matter.

        Now about the mythical Larry Horist that occupies your mind. I am not responding to correct your views because I believe you are far to arrogant to accept the fact that when you describe me you really know nothing about me. The mythical Larry Horist merely feeds you bogus sense of superiority. It gives you a strawman combatant to satisfy you own ego. You describe Larry Horist as “stewing” … afraid to engage in debate with your … an old man with diminished mental capacity … an avid Trumper … thin skinned, etc. etc. etc.

        For the record, I am none of those things. I tried to make it clear that I do not respond to you (1) because I think the sibling thing colors your writings, (2) I do not believe that you have the knowledge and intellectual integrity to carry on a civilized dialogue, (3) there is not room in the dialogue for me and your creation of Larry Horist. (4) you do not prey on my mind as you often allege, but in realty you engender no emotional response at all.

        I am sure you will protect your ego by assuming that all i say is untrue — and that you know me better that I or others do. So … why would I bother with your or be bothered about you?

        Having said all that, I will go back to ignoring you.

        • Joseph S. Bruder

          More of the same – I’ll go back to calling you out when you make incorrect assumptions about Dems/Liberals/Progressives, or repeat Fox News whoppers about Biden.

  6. frank stetson

    Wow, it’s like the Koch Bro’s, Ryan Homes, or Aldi’s…… Bro’s on the attack :>)

    Brau, I know not the way of the heat pump, but since you put this in you basement, you can probably choose external and internal in takes that you can switch from. Given your history, not hard for you, if it can be done. I currently do this for both my home furnace and pellet stoves. Below 10, I usually begin to get my intake from the house. For the WHtr will look to do the same for intakes and outflows. That way I can blow heat into my basement in winter, and jet it out in summer. Will do the same for intake on this one. Last time I looked, a couple years ago, the documentation was scarce but was leading me to that possibility — not a done deal. Still have a lotta life on my current water heater which is fed by the solar hot water so not exactly in full use. Plus I just lowered the temp while raising the solar tank temp so I am taking showers without even the furnace firing even for a minute.

    I am wed to oil hot water baseboard, and last time I looked, could not get the heat I needed for that for electric. But my oil bill is so low that I fill up in April, and next one will be January. I actually use less oil the colder it gets as I bring the pellets up to full strength. My furnace is pretty neat, it adjusts temp based on outside sensor, then can readjust based on load too. Since whatever temp the furnace is doing, that’s what gets fed to the hot water tank, my hot water temp can move depending on sun, outside temp, etc. making showers fun.

    My house is 1865, so it’s a weird duck as I try to live in both worlds. My hot water solar is flat on the roof for appearance, not efficiency. I have a lot of solar passive, so on a 30 degree full sun day, my heat goes off around noon and does not kick in until between 6pm and midnight. Faster as the cold days multiply and my thick walls finally cool down. But on colder days, these 9 foot ceilings and my 35-ft high great room take a toll. And I just can’t replace some of the old doors, windows, and such, so pay a cost there too.

    After a terrible end of summer, too much rain and clouds, it’s been quite sunny which makes these old bones feel fine at my typical 75-degree living area is summer fresh!! For free!!

    I am living proof that you can spend less, pollute less, but have more light, more heat, more cool, than ever before!

    FYI, terrible place on the grid. Too much land, not enough houses, damned liberal green acres provisions :>) We live on generators, looking at the new-ish generac battery system next.

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      I’m a terrible plumber, much better at electrical engineering… My house is a chalet style post and beam, but access to the roof is not easy… walls are solid foam and it’s not easy to pipe to the roof. I would love to try a solar water heating system… I just cleared a spot behind the house, close enough to pipe hot water in… you’ve inspired me to at least look up the specs.

      Elon Musk claims he brought the cost of lithium batteries from $1000 to $80 per KW-h – he says he looked at the market cost of the raw materials and figured that it could be cut to close to that cost. I don’t know what the cost actually is, and with current supply chain problems you probably can’t buy them anyway, but I did hear a radio story about someone in NOLA who bought two of Musk’s battery packs, an inverter and solar panels for $60,000 and was able to weather the last hurricane without losing power. However, that sounds like it’s 3-4 times the cost of going out and buying all the components at full price on the open market, so it sounds like Musk is blowing his own horn. I looked into Tesla equipment 4-5 years ago, and it was WAY overpriced. Maybe he’s bringing the cost down for the car market, but he’s not helping the solar market much. I would happily spend $4K for 50KW-h pack of Lithium batteries, and even a few thousand for a charger to match, but I’m not spending $30K for batteries! I’ll start pumping water uphill to store energy, or dam up a creek or something, it would be cheaper.

      I have a couple of little Generacs from Lowes, about 3.5 KW, to top off my batteries in the winter. They’ve held up pretty well. When one starts to get hard to start, I run the other and change the oil, filter, and plug. They’ve lasted about 3 years so far, and were around $300 each. Even if you don’t do solar panels, find some sort of batteries and an inverter, and just run the gennies for an hour or two at a time to charge up. Gens won’t last long running 24 hours a day, and it’s noisy and you still lose power when you stop the gen. Batteries are expensive, but you can get some marine deep-cycle batteries relatively cheap, and you can probably get a charger/inverter for $1-2K. if you take care of the batteries – don’t let them get below 40% charge (size them for 2-3 days of use, but charge more often than that), keep them in a cool but not freezing basement, check the water regularly, you can probably get 5-6 years out of them. Take a look on the surplus market for telecomm batteries or used electric car batteries (but that might be more technical than a non-engineer would want to play with).

  7. frank stetson

    Check hard on the hot water solar — unless you have a larger family, willing to add a lot of tank storage, wait a long time for payback, or a bit of each —– it’s a long payback. In my care, flat on roof so losing efficiency right there. Then, only a single storage tank, so I get one tank a day unless I am running water while the sun shines. But after 30 years or more, I think I have my payback. System is basically one pump, on hot water tank, a few sensors, and some plumbing. Run glycol, so pretty safe. In 30 years, replaced a tank (getting rid of a generation 1 cement lined tank was a bitch), a sensor, and replacing spent glycol, On the panels, I rolled my own just fabricating aluminum cases with plexi tops, and black piping inside. Looking to add some to pool at some time since I can really take all the sun I can get there all the time versus one tank a day.

    Probably look at generac back up battery just cuz they are ez. And yes, I burned one generator out after Sandy, but it was hinky from the get-go and when I installed myself, generac stiffed me on the warranty. But have a good decade on the next one, run for 24 hours all the time, just have to be sure to change oil. Using propane so a bit pricey but keeps the freezers cold and the house warm. Not quite full house, so will probably do that next time, but the idle cost just keeps rising for basically nothing.

    Wow, foam too. Mine’s balloon construction with true timbers so very hard to add stuff. Been lucky so far, have all heating and ac internal to walls, but just pure luck. Son wants to put hydro in for the mill stream but I say too many moving parts. I have plenty of room, would like to put in real solar plant, but State has a fluky pay back where you can only sell up to your usage, you can’t really become your own power company and sell as much as you can produce unless you become a regulated utility. Too bad cuz I could easily put in a few acres worth. Life in NJ.

  8. Joseph S. Bruder

    I have a walk-out basement with windows on the corners – I was thinking about just some plywood boxes covered with dark colored glass or something, and circulate air from there into the basement… It wouldn’t take much to design a little fan controller that turns it on whenever the box heats up above room temp, and a little solar panel could even run a small box fan. That’s probably enough to heat my house, it doesn’t take much.

  9. frank stetson

    Could work. I had a sunroom that generated much heat using slanted windows, extra thick floor piped for air flow. It actually generated too much heat during the warmer months so recently re-engineered with like an r40 double roof, solar glass, etc. but actually cut too much sun from cooler months while insulating so heavy that basically the temp inside never changes much. So, lost a lot of the heat, but temp remains almost constant. Pretty funny really.

    I was amazed how much heat I was putting out from a 10×15 space.