[Stoves] Asking the right questions??? Re: forced draft (Re: A Karve 13 August)

Paul Anderson psanders at ilstu.edu
Mon Aug 29 22:15:52 MDT 2016

Dear all,

I totally agree with Ron's message below about needing to ask the right 

Asking our target (needy, impoverished, etc.) people what they would 
want in a stove sounds logical, but would they "imagine" asking for 
stoves that make char, or use small wood, or have a rather constant 
flame for 40 minutes and longer?  Maybe.  But probably not.

Back in the 1980s, when personal computers were just getting started 
(Apple IIe, MS-DOS, etc), if you had asked educated Americans what they 
wanted for personal communications, they would NOT have answered with 
words like wireless internet on handheld small phones that take 
pictures, send text messages, and do Google searches. Dick Tracy's 
two-way wrist radio was still futuristic.  Should Jobs and Gates and 
others have been told to just give the people what they ask for?  
Improved products virtually REQUIRE someone to bring the new things to 
the masses.  Are the masses ready for the new items?

Paul     (what is below is a bit off topic, but you might find it 
interesting.   More important to read Ron's questions in his message 
below mine.)

In college I seriously considered majoring in anthropology (simplistic 
definition is studying the way people/societies are) but rejected it 
because I wanted to help people gain improvements, essentially changing 
their lives (I hoped for changes for the better), not staying as they are.

By the way, I also rejected majoring in business because too often 
profit motives are too dominant and self-serving.  I also rejected 
careers in social work, medicine, military (3 yrs in Army), and 
religious ministry.  I ended up as a univ. professor for 30 years.

Do not misunderstand me.  ALL those careers are and can be very worthy.  
And preserving the status quo or making only small changes MIGHT be 
better than major changes, sometimes.

Doc  /  Dr TLUD  /  Prof. Paul S. Anderson, PhD
Email:  psanders at ilstu.edu
Skype:   paultlud    Phone: +1-309-452-7072
Website:  www.drtlud.com

On 8/29/2016 10:15 PM, Ronal W. Larson wrote:
> Cecil, Nikhil, list et al:
> This is the first time I have understood Cecil’s interview 
> methodology, where he says below his (and Crispin’s) method was: 
> “../to minimally tweak /
> /traditional stoves/ ..”   This obviously is biased against TLUDs and 
> charcoal - making.  I contend this also underestimates the 
> intelligence and desires of the rural cook.
> I wonder if any other person doing stove questionnaires or knows of 
> their existence has ever seen one that asked any question pertinent to 
> TLUDs?  Examples of questions I would like to see asked (and never 
> have seen) are:
> 1.  Would you consider a stove that could be paid off in months from 
> the charcoal you could make with it?
> 2.  How would you rank the importance of using a stove that you could 
> leave unattended for an hour?
> 3.  Would you consider buying a stove that could use very small pieces 
> of fuel?
> 4.  Would a stove that helped address global warming be important to you?
> 5.  Would you consider a stove whose charcoal output could possibly 
> double the productivity of your garden?
> I assume questions are regularly asked about emissions - so TLUDs 
> might have a small consumer advantage there.  But one would have to 
> know the relative advantage - such as asking about a biomass cook 
> stove that could be cleaner than a kerosene stove.  I doubt such 
> health-related questions have been asked.
> So I ask Cecil (who I have known for decades) if he has ever asked any 
> stove questions like these above - or ever seen any such? What answers 
> would he expect?   What would Nikhil  (who I have also communicated 
> with decades ago) think would be the answers?
> Ron
>> On Aug 29, 2016, at 11:46 AM, cec1863 at gmail.com 
>> <mailto:cec1863 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Greetings Traveller aka Nikhil,
>> Thank you for your swashbuckling frankness‎ about the fundamental 
>> foolishness of expecting abstract ISO standards, metrics, and 
>> household stove performance tests to lead the stovers and stove 
>> producers of the planet into a paradise of smokeless pollution free 
>> biomass cooking and space heating.
>> From where I sit on the sidelines these days I see a tragic 
>> perversion of the potential for a holistic "science" of small 
>> household stoves by many differe‎nt competing commercial, 
>> professional political, gender and lifestyle interest groups. We are 
>> forced to fight the battle of armgeddon simply to decide what 
>> parameters and assessment methodologies can be trusted to guide the 
>> development of simple $10 improved stoves for the 1/3 of humankind at 
>> the bottom of the world scrum.
>> My question is how do we generate a respectful conversations‎ between 
>> the various role players involved in the scrum to innovate, produce 
>> and promote user friendly and responsive improved  household stoves 
>> that are affordable and can successfully compete for market share 
>> without any subsidy.
>> That means the end of outsourcing to China and the end of imported 
>> stoves selling for ±‎ $100 with or without carbon credits when there 
>> are locally made stoves being produced, distributed and sold for 
>> under $5 by traditional artisans.
>> I am a backslid (defrocked) anthropologist‎ so the first thing I do 
>> is investigate the already institutionalized stove technologies and 
>> all of the stove management and fuel use 'culture' which surrounds 
>> the TECHNOS with what used to be called "ethno-science". The 
>> mrta-culture between the stove and the plasma of knowledge and 
>> symbols might be referred to as the human factors which mediate the 
>> relationship between stove users and their stoves. OK. That is where 
>> I choose to start. Other professional stovers have other skills, 
>> interests and points of intervention.
>> My contribution to a hopefully respectful conversation with fellow 
>> stovers is informed by decades of AT based self help develop projects 
>> in South Africa. My bottom up‎ development process was guided and 
>> informed by my effort to answer this question: how do we collaborate 
>> with partners and potential beneficiaries so as to get the greatest 
>> possible benefits for the largest number with the smallest possible 
>> intervention and at the smallest possible cost per 
>> brnefit/beneficiary????
>> Unfortunately, the thrust of BIG AID and BIG DEVELOPMENT‎ agencies 
>> (remember Big Nurse in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest?) is to 
>> massively intervene from the top down and in the process massively 
>> disrupt the traditional stove/fuel/pot/kitchen layout/producer/
>> marketing "system". It is worth pointing out that there is an 
>> indigenous stove/fuel culture and economy in place that has been 
>> cooking food, heating homes, making and selling stoves, and supplying 
>> fuel for many generations.
>> I only have one simple suggestion about a possible master strategy: 
>> slow and steady change strategy will radically out perform the 
>> massive disruption strategy that is favored by Big Development.
>> Crispin and I combined to propose and demonstrate the feasibility of 
>> a stove improvement develpment process in Mongolia and Java that 
>> involved using stove science to minimally tweak traditional stoves so 
>> that their emission and efficiency performance eventually approaches 
>> the high stardards of an EPA approved clean cookstove.
>> IMO such high standards are bureaucratic impositions that needlessly 
>> disempower the stakeholers and role players in traditional 
>> stove/fuel/producer systems.
>> For me as a old man observing the counter productivity of the stove 
>> wars in places like Sudan and many other places in Africa, Asia and 
>> the Pacific. If we are to make real progress in the small 
>> stove/biomass fuel economy  it is necessary for all role players to 
>> take deep breaths, cool off, depoliticize, speak kindly to 
>> colleagues, and grow the common ground that unites us all in our 
>> quest for an infinite series of apprpriate "good" little cooking and 
>> heating stoves.
>> Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
>> *From: *Traveller
>> *Sent: *Monday, August 29, 2016 10:13 AM
>> *To: *neiltm at uwclub.net <mailto:neiltm at uwclub.net>
>> *Reply To: *miata98 at gmail.com <mailto:miata98 at gmail.com>
>> *Cc: *Discussion of biomass cooking stoves
>> *Subject: *Re: [Stoves] forced draft (Re: A Karve 13 August)
>> Neil:
>> Thank you. I learned a little about biochar from a "stover" friend, 
>> guru from decades ago - Stephen Joseph - back in 2008 but then lost 
>> track. I am glad to read from you that there are consumer products 
>> now that you consider "So versatile".
>> It is a gross error to ignore versatility and flexibility, and buy 
>> into the USEPA propaganda of Water Boiling Tests. GACC could be a 
>> Faustian Bargain. Except perhaps to those who pay the Clinton 
>> Foundation to play at the gala performances of WJC and HRC.
>> I wonder if WHO Is fooling EPA - that its IAQ guideline is to be 
>> taken as Moses' Fifteenth Commandment (all others can be ignored, 
>> just like WHO's OAQ guideline is) - of EPA is fooling WHO - that its 
>> ratings based on a silly test protocol for emission rates and area 
>> modeling will somehow translate into mass acceptance and reduction in 
>> premature mortality. (There will always be premature mortality; the 
>> GBD people will find something else to blame it on, for example 
>> boredom with academia.)
>> Versatile. Durable. What a breath of fresh air, compared to the 
>> intellectual smoke of Washington, DC.
>> If we are to continue this "cobenefits" paradigm - the pretension of 
>> saving trees, lives, and climate - we might as well add in the 
>> co-benefits of biochar, and assign value to customer satisfaction. 
>> The customer is sovereign, not the expert class engaged in mutual 
>> back-scratching.
>> Nikhil
>> ---------
>> (India +91) 909 995 2080
>> On Sat, Aug 20, 2016 at 5:56 AM, <neiltm at uwclub.net 
>> <mailto:neiltm at uwclub.net>> wrote:
>>     On 19 Aug 2016 at 19:25, Traveller wrote:
>>     > I remembered how some charcoal fires used to be run with a hand
>>     > blower. I found a modern version on Amazon.in, here
>>     >
>>     <http://www.amazon.in/Grill-Blower-Charcoal-Grills-Fireplaces/dp/B011
>>     <http://www.amazon.in/Grill-Blower-Charcoal-Grills-Fireplaces/dp/B011>
>>     > 7F268 0>
>>     These can sometimes be purchased for as little as one GB pound in
>>     pound
>>     shops in the UK (and a little more on ebay), and are excellent for
>>     starting or reviving volcano kettles when there is no wind and/or
>>     reluctant fuel, or for reviving a TLUD which has gone out, by simply
>>     blasting it into the top until the flame rekindles well enough to
>>     sustain, or less urgently applying it gently to the bottom outside
>>     airholes which can help a flagging  NDTLUD revive sometimes.  I
>>     use it as
>>     an occasional 'rescue' in other words.  Sustained use of it would be
>>     tedious as well as occupying both hands.  They seem surprisingly
>>     durable
>>     as well. I've had the same one for years.
>>     Just cooked a nice omelette on one of the Chinese NTLUDs using
>>     very fine
>>     dry wood chip - almost chain saw sawdust size. This restricts the
>>     primary air nicely for a lengthy sustained moderate heat, but
>>     there is no
>>     possibility to add fuel at the end of the batch to keep it going, yet
>>     even such micro char successfully fuels our BBQ. Using much
>>     larger fuel
>>     allows for indefinite burn time whether beginning the burn as a
>>     TLUD or
>>     not.  So versatile these stoves.  Much as I enjoyed the Reed fan
>>     woodgas
>>     campstoves, I no longer take them on trips now, but still use them
>>     occasionally at home.
>>     Neil Taylor
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