Friday, 1 March 2013


Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter (leaves, "green" food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture. Worms and fungi further break up the material. Aerobic bacteria manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium. The ammonium is further converted by bacteria into plant-nourishing nitrites and nitrates through the process of nitrification.

Compost can be rich in nutrients. It is used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. In ecosystems, compost is useful for erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and as landfill cover (see compost uses). Organic ingredients intended for composting can alternatively be used to generate biogas through anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion is fast overtaking composting in some parts of the world including central Europe as a primary means of downcycling waste organic matter.

Friday, 21 April 2006

Granny Peace Brigade Heads to Court

The Granny Peace Brigade, they call themselves. Last October, they descended on the armed forces recruiting station in Times Square. They wanted to enlist, they said. They've been around. Send them to Iraq, they demanded, instead of some 20-year-old who has barely tasted life.

When the military, shockingly, showed no interest in signing them up, this Walker and Cane Brigade held a sit-in. The police ordered them to leave. They refused. So officers young enough to be their great-grandchildren handcuffed them gently and put them under arrest.

Tuesday, 18 April 2006

Carl Bernstein: Senate Hearings on Bush, Now

"There was understandable reluctance in the Congress to begin a serious investigation of the Nixon presidency. Then there came a time when it was unavoidable. That time in the Bush presidency has arrived."