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  • Bamboozled

    The Wall Street Journal wrote an article called “Picking Apart Bamboo Couture” about the sustainability of bamboo clothing; as it turns out, bamboo clothing really isn’t sustainable once you factor in all the chemicals and processing involved in its production. Claims that bamboo clothing is a sustainable option are probably close to fraudulent. I could go on for days about all the various scams that I think are being perpetuated by sellers of so-called “eco” or “green” products and services. But that’s not the focus of this post.

    No, this post launches from the WSJ article to talk about the bamboo on Isla Palenque, which we plan to use for building materials. As you can see in the picture below, we have a species that grows quite large (the stem I am holding is fairly young, just a few months), and when mature, this bamboo gets some 60-80 feet tall and a good 6″ in diameter.

    Ben Loomis, Isla Palenque

    Benboo!

    The stand we have on the island has several hundred stalks. The experts we’ve spoken to can’t figure out how it got there (it’s an unusual species for the area, and to have it appear on an island is especially strange), and we are still getting advice on how we can harvest the existing stand sustainably, and maybe plant more and/or additional species that can also be used as building materials. We plan to start harvesting in January and drying it on-site.

    We won’t be using this bamboo all over the place, just in select locations. But a lot of buildings will have it in at least some elements, and it’ll be extremely cool to have some of the more unique construction materials we are using be harvested from a location that’s just a few hundred meters away. Talk about using local materials…

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    Post by Benjamin Loomis

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    5 Responses

    1. Henrik Flodhammar says:

      One factor that keeps bamboo in control is an intact forest in good health. The bamboo competes better in open areas than in closed ones, and as long as Isla Palenque stays healthy there should be no problem with its spread.

      Bamboo is an endemic to Panama and the country has 21 species of it.

      I am building a low cost eco-community in Panama, and as a first step I am planting Guadua Angustifolia for future building needs.

      Good luck with the Isla Palenque project. It is an inspiration in its elegant and ecofriendly design.

    2. I am definitely bookmarking this page and sharing it with my friends.

      🙂

    3. Mike Robinson says:

      Bamboo is a beautiful plant. I have over 20 species on my property on the Sunshine Coast of Canada. Many tropical species of bamboo are actually quite hardy but don’t grow to the massive sizes that they can in the tropics. One way around stopping the vigorous ones from spreading is to contain them in planters or dig a deep enough trench around the planting and insert something impermeable. They aren’t particularly deep-rooted. Check out: Phyllostachys bambusoides
      ‘Castillon’ as a particularly beautiful cultivar.

    4. Benjamin Loomis Ben says:

      The species we currently have isn’t a particularly invasive one. Some species are incredibly invasive, and other aren’t. From what I understand the invasiveness is largely dependent on the root structure;. This is one of the primary things we need to worry about if/when we bring in additional species for construction materials, something our consultants are helping us figure out.

    5. Adam Elliott says:

      That’s a surprising find. In Hawaii the Bamboo has gotten completely out of control and has replaced huge areas of natural jungle as an invasive species, pushing out the natural animal species that lived there. I wonder what factors have kept it under control on Palenque.

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    The Wall Street Journal wrote an article called "Picking Apart Bamboo Couture" about the sustainability of bamboo clothing; as it turns out, bamboo clothing really isn't sustainable once you factor in all the chemicals and processing involved in its production. Claims that bamboo clothing is a sustainable option are probably close to fraudulent. I could go on for days about all the various scams that I think are being perpetuated by sellers of so-called "eco" or "green" products and services. But that's not the focus of this post.
    No, this post launches from the WSJ article to talk about the bamboo on Isla Palenque, which we plan to use for building materials. As you can see in the picture below, we have a species that grows quite large (the stem I am holding is fairly young, just a few months), and when mature, this bamboo gets some 60-80 feet tall and a good 6" in diameter. [caption id="attachment_20352" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Benboo!"]Ben Loomis, Isla Palenque[/caption] The stand we have on the island has several hundred stalks. The experts we've spoken to can't figure out how it got there (it's an unusual species for the area, and to have it appear on an island is especially strange), and we are still getting advice on how we can harvest the existing stand sustainably, and maybe plant more and/or additional species that can also be used as building materials. We plan to start harvesting in January and drying it on-site. We won't be using this bamboo all over the place, just in select locations. But a lot of buildings will have it in at least some elements, and it'll be extremely cool to have some of the more unique construction materials we are using be harvested from a location that's just a few hundred meters away. Talk about using local materials... [post_title] => Bamboozled [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bamboozled [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-08-31 12:47:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-08-31 17:47:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://amble.com/ambler/?p=1255 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 5 [filter] => raw )

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The Wall Street Journal wrote an article called "Picking Apart Bamboo Couture" about the sustainability of bamboo clothing; as it turns out, bamboo clothing really isn't sustainable once you factor in all the chemicals and processing involved in its production. Claims that bamboo clothing is a sustainable option are probably close to fraudulent. I could go on for days about all the various scams that I think are being perpetuated by sellers of so-called "eco" or "green" products and services. But that's not the focus of this post.
No, this post launches from the WSJ article to talk about the bamboo on Isla Palenque, which we plan to use for building materials. As you can see in the picture below, we have a species that grows quite large (the stem I am holding is fairly young, just a few months), and when mature, this bamboo gets some 60-80 feet tall and a good 6" in diameter. [caption id="attachment_20352" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Benboo!"]Ben Loomis, Isla Palenque[/caption] The stand we have on the island has several hundred stalks. The experts we've spoken to can't figure out how it got there (it's an unusual species for the area, and to have it appear on an island is especially strange), and we are still getting advice on how we can harvest the existing stand sustainably, and maybe plant more and/or additional species that can also be used as building materials. We plan to start harvesting in January and drying it on-site. We won't be using this bamboo all over the place, just in select locations. But a lot of buildings will have it in at least some elements, and it'll be extremely cool to have some of the more unique construction materials we are using be harvested from a location that's just a few hundred meters away. Talk about using local materials... [post_title] => Bamboozled [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bamboozled [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-08-31 12:47:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-08-31 17:47:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://amble.com/ambler/?p=1255 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 5 [filter] => raw )

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