Archive for smell


Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Environmentalism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2010 by Drogo


Hippies are people too. Sometimes we forget because the hippie movement fell out of favor only a decade after it began. Why? Because hippies were different, hippies are made fun of, and often financially powerless because by definition they gave up desire for those social and political constructs and aspirations. Also it is popular to say they “stink” because they often smell different due to bathing and patchouli practices. It is popular to make fun of astrology, and “new age” alchemical spiritual beliefs. It is the natural tendency to make fun of people that are different than normal standards, by birth or by choice, and to be biased against them.

So “hippy” has become a derogatory label.  There was a decade when many believed and felt they were part of larger revolution, and not just a fashion taboo. Others will always believe that their idealism was flawed, and they were always just criminal bums. Those people are usually called different names by those they call hippies, to be fair.

The popular Hippie Movement during the 1960s, had evolved from the 1950s counter-culture of hipster beatniks, and embraced a revolutionary return to naturalist folk traditions. Peace was a major motivating factor for many people to become a hippy. Environmentalism, drug use, and alternative lifestyle freedoms were also very dominant aspects of the movement.

The peace symbol was developed in the UK as a logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and was embraced by U.S. anti-war protestors during the 1960s. Originally the “V” finger sign stood for Victory (a return to peace) in WWII, but ironically was adopted by hippies to remind people about the joys of peace. Hippies were mostly pacifists and many participated in non-violent political protests, such as marches and demonstrations for civil rights, liberties, and peace.

The degree of political involvement varied widely among hippies, from those who were active in non-violent demonstrations, to the more anti-authority street aggression of the Yippies (the most politically active hippie sub-group). The active yippy political rebels led to underground resistance groups like “The Weathermen”, and often operated violently as anarchists. Pacifist hippies tend to disagree with hateful tactics.

The Hippie Movement continues to the present day, but began to decline in the 1970s with the emergence of new popular movements like Disco, and later was rejected by Hip-hop breakdance, Goth, Punk, and Yuppism in the 1980s under the hyper-inflation of Reaganomics. The economic bubble of the 1980s (which revived the 1950s industrial enthusiasm) had a lot to do with the cultural supremacy of Cocaine.

The multi-culturalism of the 1990s was a peaceful integration of many colorful hippy values like celebrating ethnic diversity and environmentalism, with modern technology and the enthusiasm of the commercial 1980s. Improvements in transportation allowed these benefits of travel, including the popularity of tattoos. However, this positive zeitgeist was smothered by the Military Industrial Complex under Bush II.

Brown Stink Bug Plague

Posted in Historic Architecture, Organic Gardens, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2010 by Drogo

The Brown Marmorated Asian Soldier Shield Stink Bug

Kingdom: Animal

Phylum: Arthropods

Class: Insect

Insect Order: Hemiptera

Family: Pentatomidae

Genus: Halyomorpha

Species: Halys



“The Dreaded Brown Stink Bug”

For 4 years now, the Brown Stink Bug has infested many of our homes in the metropolitan DC area. Some comfort can be gleaned from knowing we are not alone, they do not attack humans, they do not eat everything, they can be killed, and they are not poisonous. Never-the-less these pests are awful nuisances due to their over-population, ability to get into houses, and tendency to release foul odor anytime they are alive and when they die. This odor is not just unpleasant for humans, but it acts as a odoriferous beacon to other brown stink bugs.

Brown stink bugs are hemiptera (half-wing) insects. Like the Nezara viridula or Acrosternum hilare (two varieties of Green Stink Bug), it is plant-seed feeding. Both green and brown stink bugs are in the same Family of Pentatomidae Hemiptera. Why are the indigenous green stink bugs not invading us in our homes? The green stink bug is very easy to control with pyrethroids, Orthene, Bidrin, methyl parathion and Vydate. The brown stink bugs seem to be more resistant to our pesticides. The green ones came from Africa hundreds of years ago, and the brown ones are from Asia. Both were stowaways in crates.

Brown Stink Bugs lay eggs on the underside of plant leaves. They love to reproduce on Soybean plants, and those are more common than ever before. The practice of bringing plants inside during the winter worsens the epidemic, as eggs can be already laid on the plants while they were outside. They lay masses of 10-100, barrel-shaped compact eggs.

Stink bugs are susceptible to insecticides that were used to spray boll weevils. From the success of boll weevil eradication, Bt cotton and the use of more selective insecticides for plant bugs, we’ve opened a window for other resilient bugs like brown stink bugs. DDT would do the trick, but it’s all a question of how willing we are to poison ourselves in the process.

Expert exterminators recommend a mixed approach to defending against bug problems. I will recommend an approach as non-toxic as I can.

1. Clean and caulk around windows and places they might have gotten into the house

2. Spray Frebreeze de-odorizer on surfaces

3. If more bugs come, try to gently collect them and toss them outside (so they wont fearfully spray their stink, or release it from dying inside). This does not work that well on numerous bugs, as they can leave a scent behind on anything they land on. Killing them immediately may be the better solution, considering each one is a potential breeder, and if released is free to spray more. Once you kill them, clean up after them!

4. Continue the first three steps with patience. If one generation of bugs is released in a house, it will be years before extermination will have any affect. More bugs will continue to want entrance to the house because of the mass odor from the last batch. Also they seek warmth inside any structure.

They have invaded historic homes, as well as new homes. They can enter air conditioning units, not just cracks in siding or open doors or windows. There is no quick fix to an invasion. Even praying mantis don’t like them.