Friday, August 21, 1998 11:01:36 PM
From: GSBN@...,Txinfinet Incoming
Subject: Digest for 8/21/98
-> I wasn't angry, really! Really. And I'm still not.
by M J Epko <duckchow@...>
-> Re: Wrong, wrong, wrong
by <Ecobruce@...>


Date: 20 Aug 1998 23:32:19 -0500
From: M J Epko <duckchow@...>
Subject: I wasn't angry, really! Really. And I'm still not.

Lately I seem to be losing my ability to present myself rationally and
pleasantly, even if that's how I feel. I don't mind admitting that I'm more
than a little alarmed by that.

I got a couple supportive notes off-list; and a couple more suggesting
that they, too, found the tone too strong. Coupled with the comments to the
list, the majority seems in favor of short and sweet, and let people do
what they will about finding the potential and actual drawbacks of fibrous
cement on their own through private research, or (grimacing as I say this)
the School Of Hard Knocks.

I guess I'd hoped to "save" at least a few people from jumping headlong
into something about which not enough information was given (which,
honestly, I still think is taking the moral high road; rather than
dispassionately allowing Caveat Emptor, which I feel is evil)... but I
recognize how assuming the role of some natural-building-savior can do more
harm than good. And it's *not* a role I want to take on (as a career, at
any rate).

Could I possibly have fit any more Christianity allusions into the
preceding paragraph? Next time, I'll do Druidism.

Anyway, sounding indignant and self-righteous was the furthest thing from
my mind when I wrote the draft. Catherine pointed out to me today that
responding to something of that nature on a point-by-point basis will in
almost any circumstance sound defensive... and I was not only answering
points, but injecting additional comments. The venomous sound it evidently
made was unnoticed by me, since I (alone) knew my the state of my mind and
heart in the matter.

I do have to admit being frustrated, however, by the thoughtless
presentation of the material in Earth Quarterly, and maybe that's what
blinded me to balance and is why what I wrote came out sounding hateful. I
see the value of the suggestion that "comments made in ignorance should be
treated more generously than those made with malice" (well spoken,
anonymous friend), and am content to hope that any resulting failures are
not catastrophic to owner-builders' life and limb (thinking of
well-experienced Ken Kern's demise), and reserved to a hurt in the
pocketbook and perhaps a bruising of the ego.

Busy-busy Catherine said that she'd give a go at drafting something less
brash when she gets a chance, which makes me happy. I mean, that's why I
posted here for the group's input: this is the smartest, most considerate
bunch of people in one place that I know of.

A related question: in one of the offlist responses, a person I respect a
great deal said that a cement-stuccoed strawbale wall will have about the
same embodied energy as a fibrous cement wall. Any thoughts on that? I was
thinking in terms of cement: that a 12"-thick wall composed of 10% cement
is 1.2"-thickness of cement content, where 4" of stucco (2" per side)
composed of 7 or 8% cement is about .3"-thickness of cement. I don't know
the EE of the paper vs the stucco fines, though.

Freewheeling autonomous speculation - Think!
Personality #7 represents only itself.
M J Epko - duckchow@...
Kingston, New Mexico
It is not true that life is one damn thing after
another; it's one damn thing over and over.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay


Date: 21 Aug 1998 11:02:46 -0500
From: <Ecobruce@...>
Subject: Re: Wrong, wrong, wrong

MJ -

Thanks for your work, but I generally agree with John Straube's comment that
it's not worth wasting a lot of time with such an (apparently) poorly written
magazine (I've never seen it), though I also think you might amplify the
environmental considerations as raised by John Glassford.

Please send off the rebuttal with our collective bronx cheers.

Bruce "Cheerful" King


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