Saturday, November 9, 2013

Arizona Synthetic Fuels and Mogollon Brewing Co. (Making Methanol)

It's not shown here, so I'll mention that methanol is used to make biodiesel.  Now, if you take that facility for making methanol and combine it with growing sunflowers and pressing out the oil, you can make biodiesel.

The video above goes with the video below. It shows how the methanol is made.

home oil press, make oil at home

Looks like it can be used to make cooking oil.  Was thinking of using it to make small amounts of biodiesel.

Larger amounts?  Check this.

What biodiesel is and how to make it

Starting with 7, the playlist takes over.  Prior to that, each of the videos is just one video.

Got your goat?

The third animal for an urban farm is dwarf goats.

Raising Ducks

That's the other animal that I couldn't remember.  Chicken, ducks, and dwarf goats.  Here's some duck videos.

How to raise chickens

That fella that started his own urban homestead has a website up and there's interesting stuff on it.  But they really don't teach you how to do anything.  That gave me an idea to go on YouTube and compile a few how-to videos to show how it is done.

The fella mentioned his dwarf goats, chickens, and maybe one other animal I can't think of at this time.  I can go back later and get that info.  He grows everything for his own table and even sells some of his stuff.

Anyway, here's a couple guys who are raising chickens.  The first two videos show raising chickens for eggs.  He also has a lot of other videos as well.  Maybe there will be a time to check that out.  And the second few videos shows how to raise them for meat.

6,000 lbs of food on 1/10th acre - Urban Farm - Urban Homestead - Growing Your Own Food

How about that for some "creative destruction"?  By the way, there are lots of videos like this on YouTube.


The man's name is Jules Durvaes.

Urine the money

It doesn't say what the final outputs are.  Urine goes in, electricity comes out, but what else?

I am curious as to whether this can be adapted to human space travel.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0? A challenge

Thomas Friedman

I read and reviewed the original.  After re-reading my original review, the review still looks just as good as before.  His fallacies are just the same as before.  Big government is the solution, he seems to say.

The Kickstarter program ( on the sidebar ) for the greenest car on Earth is still going on .  Where are all the big muckety mucks like Friedman on this one?  Here's this little known guy who has a car that can do highway speed on a 8 horsepower engine, and guys like Friedman probably don't even know about him.  Why do suppose that is?  The car can travel coast to coast on 10 gallons of fuel, and where are these guys on that?

If this car succeeds, it won't be any thanks to the big muckety mucks that claim to care so much.  But if they want to help, he's got this Kickstarter program....  No government required.  Just a little elbow grease and interest, thank you very much.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Some people have An Army of Davids; We have An Army of Pinocchios

MOTUS Mirror

“At the end of the day, uh, uh, Americans were, were, were not, not only not mild, myzeld by the president, the overwhelming majority of Americans are already insured.” Debbie Wasserman Schultz – DNC Chairwoman, with teleprompter
The comparison with Palin wasn't fair.  /snark


Free Repubic

  1. Obamacare was intended to bring about the Marxist dream- redistribution of wealth.
  2. Obamacare was intended to wipe out the middle class and make them dependent on government.
  3. As a bonus, Obamacare is intended to kill every decent paying job in the economy, creating only crummy, crappy part-time jobs.
  4. Obamacare is intended to bankrupt small business, and therefore starve donations to the GOP.
  5. Obamacare is intended to make the IRS all-powerful.
  6. Obamacare is intended to unionize 15 million healthcare workers.
Yes.  Now, if you can only get conservatives to understand that and to fight back for real this time.

I wouldn't bet the farm on it, though.

Expect ObamaCare Change

Dick Morris


ObamaCare will likely have all of three or four million participants -- if that! It will be dwarfed by the 100 million on Medicaid or the 170 million with individual- or employer-based insurance.


100 million on Medicaid?!?  That's not exactly good either.

Kirk Sorensen - Flibe Energy "LFTR Development Strategy" @ ThEC13

Published on Nov 7, 2013

Kirk Sorensen (of Flibe Energy) offers "the industrial perspective" on how the upcoming "nuclear retirement retirement cliff" of today's plants, combined with large numbers of coal plants facing retirement, create opportunity for the Liquid-Fueled Thorium Reactor.

Department of Energy's "Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap" states "it is ultimately industry's decision which commercial technologies will be deployed. The federal role falls more squarely in the realm of R&D."

Kirk notes that informal talks with NRC personnel, they have a great deal of optimism regarding regulation of LFTR thanks to MSR's inherent safety features. "The NRC is happy to look at anything, so long as you pay their billing rates... sometimes being different isn't all bad if you can help them achieve a higher level of safety."

Flibe Energy is currently conducting a year-long feasibility study.

Obama Apologizes For Health Care Problems: 'I Am Sorry'


Is that really the Bamster singing this song?

Jobs numbers

The establishment survey has 200k new jobs.  But the household data looks a bit screwball.  Here's part of the household data below:

Nearly a million drop out of the labor force.  The trend of a shrinking workforce continues.
Question:  What effect did the shut down have on this data?  The main report has this to say:
Total employment as measured by the household survey
fell by 735,000 over the month and the employment-population ratio
declined by 0.3 percentage point to 58.3 percent. This employment
decline partly reflected a decline in federal government employment.

Partial Federal Government Shutdown |
| |
| Some agencies of the federal government were shut down or were |
| operating at reduced staffing levels from October 1, 2013, |
| through October 16, 2013. All household and establishment survey |
| operations, including data collection, were suspended during |
| that time period. Shortly after the shutdown ended, October data |
| collection for both surveys began. The Bureau of Labor |
| Statistics (BLS) delayed the publication of this release by 1 |
| week to allow enough time to collect data. The reference periods |
| for the surveys were not changed. The response rate for the |
| household survey was within its normal range, and the response |
| rate for the establishment survey was above average. |
| |
| In the household survey, individuals are classified as employed, |
| unemployed, or not in the labor force based on their answers to |
| a series of questions about their activities during the survey |
| reference week. Workers who indicate that they were not working |
| during the entire survey reference week and expected to be |
| recalled to their jobs should be classified in the household |
| survey as unemployed on temporary layoff. In October 2013, there |
| was an increase in the number of federal workers who were |
| classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. However, there |
| also was an increase in the number of federal workers who were |
| classified as employed but absent from work. BLS analysis of the |
| data indicates that this group included federal workers affected |
| by the shutdown who also should have been classified as |
| unemployed on temporary layoff. Such a misclassification is an |
| example of nonsampling error and can occur when respondents |
| misunderstand questions or interviewers record answers |
| incorrectly. According to usual practice, the data from the |
| household survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain |
| data integrity, no ad hoc actions taken to reassign survey |
| responses. |
| |
| It should be noted that household survey data for federal |
| workers are available only on a not seasonally adjusted basis. |
| As a result, over-the-month changes in federal worker data |
| series cannot be compared with seasonally adjusted over-the- |
| month changes in total employed and unemployed. |
| |
| In the establishment survey, businesses report the number of |
| people who work or receive pay for any part of the pay period |
| that includes the 12th of the month. Persons who work or receive |
| pay for any part of the pay period are defined as employed. This |
| method of classifying workers is the same in all industries, |
| including the federal government. Federal employees on furlough |
| during the partial federal government shutdown were still |
| considered employed in the payroll survey because they worked or |
| received pay for the pay period that included the 12th of the |
| month.

It would seem that the numbers are skewed a bit because of the shut down.  This doesn't make it clear about how much it is skewed.  But it is probably not skewed by that much.  The trends that existed before, such as a shrinking job force, still apply.   Bottom line is that fewer Americans are working than when Obama took office.

Thorium a GREEN Perspective

Another Gordon McDowell video.  A more recent one.

Update: Here's another one that's pretty darned good.

Why only 8 horsepower can achieve highway speeds

That post about the Urbee may raise some eyebrows.  He has a 8 hp internal combustion engine.  How in the world can something that small achieve highway speeds?

It takes only about 20 hp to keep a much heavier car at highway speeds.  That heavier car wasn't built to be as aerodynamic as the Urbee.  It's all a matter of physics.  You don't need that much energy to cruise, just need it to accelerate.  The energy needed for cruising is kept down by the reduction in friction and weight.  It's a big drop from 20 hp to 8, but it is also a big drop in weight and drag.

He will need more horses to accelerate, but he can combine the two engines (it is a hybrid) for that.  With the lighter weight of the vehicle, he won't need as many horses to get up to speed, nor many horses to keep that speed.

So, I believe Kor's claims.

He has a Kickstarter campaign in effect.  I put that on the sidebar to express my support.  He has a modest goal, but frankly, he should be getting much more support than this, and the goals should be much bigger.


I'm in.  I will back this project.  This reminds me, I backed the Thorium thing that McDowell did too.  He didn't finish the project, it appears.  But there is this website with all the videos he has made.  I recommend this one.


I had to create a new account for Kickstarter.  Or I thought I did.  Anyway, I have backed 3 other campaigns, and this is number 4.  Here's the backer page for the Thorium remix.

edited to include the backed projects

Samizdata quote of the day

---Anthony Gregory---

partial quote of the quote:

In George Orwell’s 1984, everything was monitored, except the protagonist Winston Smith did have a small corner he could hide in, where the cameras couldn’t see him. Where we’re heading, we won’t even have that corner.


How could it be that this is being done in broad daylight and nobody seems to give a damn?

Sebelius to Speak in Atlanta Tomorrow to Make an "Important Announcement" About Obamacare

ace of spades blog

I want to block them from suspending (unilaterally) their g!@@*#!d abortion of a law, but how can we?

They gave that power up when they caved in during the shut down.  When you give up your power, you'  D'oh!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Another Tesla fire

Third fire in the last six weeks.  Stock is hammered, down more than 25% from its high.

Blog: ObamaCare Destroys Bill Clinton's Legacy

David Lawrence is a former insurance executive. He is the author of several books and hundreds of blogs.


You can't respect Clinton when party affiliation is more important to him than the interests of his country.
Yes.  That's the affliction of the entire country right now.  "What's in it for me?"  It's why the GOP establishment won't support Tea Party candidates who win nominations.  And it explains something like this.

But Clinton knows he needs that monolithic quality of the Democrat party.  They're blindly partisan and will support anything, no matter how bad it is.

Rational automotive design for the human race - Urbee


His car is designed for minimum aerodynamic drag.

One thing I wonder is this:  could you put a fuel cell in one of these?  At only 8 horsepower, one of those that Aronsson mentioned could fit in and run this car.  It would be even more efficient than the 300 mpg motor.

Orwellian America ( repost )

An Orwellian America

Next Big Future: The Self Driving car revolution should begin with trucks ...

Next Big Future: The Self Driving car revolution should begin with trucks...: Nextbigfuture was looking at how and where to operate robotic cars to accelerate their introduction back in 2008. Robotic car only zones in...

This is one development that I can live without.

I drive for a living.  Having your own job made obsolete tends to focus your attention most effectively.  It sort of reminds me of a movie, Logan's Run, where the "Sandman" took pleasure in hunting down "runners".  The runners just wanted to live, but the Sandman enforced the customs of the city, in which old age was forbidden.  These people who egg on this development of driverless vehicles remind me of the Sandman.

What if you just want to work and make a living, but this new society being built has just made you obsolete?  Perhaps it doesn't matter to you until its your job that's being phased out.  That's what happened to the Sandman in the movie.  He took pleasure in the hunting down of runners until it was his turn to run.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Back in 2006, there was the same kind of division within the GOP and its allies as today.  But during that time, there seems to have been a shift towards getting behind the GOP.  At least that seems to be the case with Instapundit.

Back then, Reynolds was bashing the GOP left and right.  Mostly over spending.  Then there was a guy on the radio, Neil Boortz, who said something to the effect that they needed to lose in order to teach the GOP a lesson.  So, how's that lesson proceeding?

At the time, I opposed that kind of thinking, but now I am in favor of teaching the GOP a lesson.  Some folks may have had enough, but looking at the results, I don't think the GOP has had enough yet.  I don't think that they have learned a thing in their sojourn in the wilderness.  It is the same divisions as before, but seems even worse than that.

Judging from the results, it looks like the GOP can win if they would unite, but they don't want to win if that means the wrong faction gets in charge.  Thus, they cannot unite.  No, you shouldn't unite unless it is for the right reasons.

For the man who can unite the party can take it to victory.  Some say that man is Christie.  I'm not so sure of that.  In 2008, Christie did the kind of thing that is killing the GOP.  He helped Obama in the critical time after Superstorm Sandy.  There's the keynote speaker to the GOP convention helping the opposition's nominee defeat your party's nominee.   How can a guy like this unite the party?  You don't reward betrayal.  Betrayal should not be the thing that unites this party.  It cannot unite, it can only divide.  The GOP still doesn't get it.

3D Printed Car Goes Transcontinental

Popular Mechanics via Instapundit

they will spend just 10 gallons of fuel to complete the trip from New York to San Francisco.

That's pretty good fuel economy.  The car will weigh just 1200 pounds and be powered by a 7 hp engine and batteries.  Top speed ?  70 mph.  The designer, Jim Kor, thinks he can market it for a price between $16k and $50k.

A car like that could obviate the need to electrify the highways.  However, if you electrify the highways, a car like this could be even more economical.  Just saying.

Contact ( film )

According to Roger Ebert, this is one of his favorite films.

But I never heard of it.  It was based upon Carl Sagan's book to some extent.  Although I did hear of Sagan's book, I never read it.  When it comes to extraterrestrials, I'm really not that interested.  For some people though, it seems almost a religious experience.  At work, many years ago, about the time of this movie, some guy seemed incredulous that I didn't believe in extraterrestrials.  I was struck by the depth of belief in that stuff.

It so happens that one of the main themes of the film is the various strains of skepticism.  For example, there is a skepticism for religious belief, as if there was a conflict between the two.  I can relate to that on both sides of the alleged conflict, as a matter of fact.  There were times that I considered myself an atheist.  There were times when I considered myself to be religious.  But never did I believe in extraterrestrials.  It may be time to reconsider that point of view, given that there may be many worlds out there like the Earth.  Yet, it doesn't interest me.  Although technology does, and always has.  The film covered the skepticism about technology, too.

Another theme is the challenge to skepticism.  Everybody's skepticism gets challenged in this movie.  For example, Jodie Foster's character was skeptical about a belief in God.  By the end of the movie, she had a challenge made to her that was confirmed by her experience.  Her boyfriend asked her if she loved her deceased father.  She said yes, of course.  Then he asked if she could prove it.  To which she had no answer.  By the end of the film, she had an experience that she could not prove to be true to a skeptical world, which confirmed her boyfriend's challenge made to her previously about her father.  Her boyfriend's point was that you can't necessarily prove the truth of something even though you believe it to be true in your own heart.  Jodie Foster's character was a very rational person.  This had to be a revelation for that character.

It is interesting to note that the film was mildly successful.  But not terribly successful, either.  About average, I suppose.  There's no bad guy to hate.  No good guy to root for.  Well liked films tend to have a villain and a hero.  There's no hero here, unless you count Foster's character.  She risks her life in order to find out the truth.  Although there's some not so good guys in the movie, they aren't evil enough to be villains.  Because of that, the movie may lack sufficient drama.  Perhaps that explains why it wasn't more successful at the box office.

An interesting comparison can be made with First Contact, the Star Trek film.  That film did indeed have villains and it is considered more fresh according to Rotten Tomatoes.  It's gotta be about the villains and heroes.  Gotta have the drama.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Warp Drive?

If magic beans or secret sauce is your thing, here you are.  Not meant to be critical, but it is a bit out there, so to speak.

2013 Nissan Leaf Review


this car can do anything any other car its size can, with the exception of long distance road trips. And that has always been the point of an electric car: to perform the tasks of conventional cars without tailpipe emissions. We are still not quite there, but the Leaf is one of the closest solutions.

But what if you could go on long distance road trips with only slight modifications?

Electrifying highways, part V


The last post basically described a trolley pole, but with a couple of twists.  The first twist is that it extends from the vehicle to the ground, not the other way around.  A bit of wordplay that.  The "ground" meaning electrical connection.  Has a nice sound to match ground and around.  The connection is downward, so to speak, not upward.  Down rhymes with ground and around, too.  Ok, enough alliteration.  Anyway, the second twist is that it won't require rails, but a sliding "seeker mechanism" on the vehicle that will enable it to stay connected to the live wire even while drifting within the lane.

Trolleys aren't new, but old technology.  Curious isn't it, how an old technology can be used once again to raise the standard of living?  It is an adaptation of old technology with new technology in order to solve an old problem.  The old problem is how best to use scarce resources.  This will help battery technology to work with cars.  Which isn't a new idea either, come to think of it.

Tried and true technology to solve a problem.  Why didn't anyone else think of that?  The point being is that it will work.  You don't need magic beans or secret sauce.  You just need to actually solve the problem.  We don't seem to able to do that anymore.  "We are the gold", but the gold is all used up, sadly.


Focus Fusion Update

Got this in my email recently.  highlights

  • Tungsten passes two tests
  • Pinch timing measures impurities and sparks international project
  • Laser experiment gives new visibility to pB11 fusion
  • Italian physicist analyses Focus Fusion, sees promise
  • Motherboard features LPP’s role in fusion race
There's a mention that Focus Fusion could produce energy for .1  ( 1/10th) cent per kwh.  Imagine using this with the electrified highway.  The cost of electricity would be really cheap then.

Electrifying highways, part III


The last post discussed the highway part of the system.

But the system can't work unless the car is equipped to use the highway.  That's what this post will be about.  Equipping the car.

The highway will have a live wire in it which can be accessed with a device from the car traveling above it.  The car will find the groove that was engineered into the pavement and probe into that groove thus finding it, and thus be electrically connected to the wire or cable in the groove.  This electrical connection will power the car and charge the battery.

How will device find the groove?  How does Bluetooth work?  There are ways to do this with the electronics we have today.  The device will find the groove and deploy the probe into the groove and make the connection.  It will do this and meter itself so that the owner of the car can be billed for the electricity.  Not to worry, the equipment can be built that can do this.  If this weren't so, the automobile itself couldn't be manufactured.  Cars require a lot of robotic stuff in their manufacture and this could be no different.  Heck, Google wants to make a self driving car.  This probe only has to find a groove just a few inches away from it.  It can be done.

The device will be toward the rear of the car.  One concern that I had was that there could be damage if the car changed lanes or didn't stay centered in the lane.  You could build in some leeway in the device so that it won't be damaged.  But if a driver moved quickly out of position, it should be able to disconnect quickly and retract back into the car.  The battery power will take over from there.  Once the car gets back into proper position, it can reconnect to the power source.

Another concern is how much current in the cable?  It may overpower the car and melt down the components.  That may be a problem there that needs to be addressed.  The car may need some hardware that will address that issue, so that isn't a trivial problem.  For example, transformers are used to step down from a higher voltage to a lower voltage.  The voltage needed for a car may not be compatible with the voltage needed to transmit the electricity efficiently.

You can handle it similarly with how it is handled with homes.  A section of road will have its own set of transformers that will send the required amount of current to that section of road.  Each section of road would be like an address on a block.  That way, any car traveling on that road should be able to handle the current that flows into it, while driving through it, just as your appliances can handle the current coming from the grid.  The difference is that your car will be moving and so it changes addresses constantly.

I'll close this post with a little story from my childhood.  When I was a little kid, Dad bought us boys a Christmas present of "slot cars" that were a lot of fun.  The slots guided the little cars around a figure 8 track that had an intersection where the cars would crash into each other.

The slots in that little toy are like the slots mentioned here.  The track had slots built into them, and the car had little plastic probes that fit into the slots.  These slots guided the cars around the track.  The difference here is that the slots is where the electricity is coming from, which is a bit different from the toy.  A sophisticated device guides the car into the slot, which then provides the power to move the car.

The point is that the device should not be too difficult to understand.


Electrifying highways, part IV


The last post discussed equipping the car so as to be able to use the system.  This post will go into more detail of how that may be accomplished.  Speculation alert.

Looking at the bigger picture of how the automotive part of this system could work, consider a few technologies that are out there.  The disk drive in your computer can find locations on a disk that are minute in size and do it error free over the lifetime of the product.  A comparison to that mechanism could be in order, as the device on the car has to find the groove in the pavement.  It has to do this seamlessly with the driver being mostly unaware of its operation.  The read/write mechanism moves over a fast rotating disk.  There are billions of locations on this disk, so finding a particular spot on the disk is non-trivial.

The driver can begin and assist the process just by being centered in the lane.  Let's say a line is projected upon the windshield with which the driver is encouraged to keep aligned.   This will keep the vehicle close to the center of the lane as possible, but there may be those times when attention wanders or a gust of wind blows you a bit off course.  It is acknowledged that this will be imperfect, and may need some improvement.

So, the seeker mechanism, which is mounted underneath the vehicle and toward its rear, needs to be able to adjust the device to allow for some play back and forth inside the lane.  Compare this to the read/write device on the disk drive.  It has to allow for some random positioning of data on the disk.  It will move the device to locate the data on the disk.  Likewise on the car, this will be a side-to-side movement to adjust for the side-to-side movement of the car in the lane.  So, while the driver is working to keep the car centered in its lane, the seeker mechanism is fine tuning this to keep the electrical conducting device centered to the groove in the pavement.

The tolerances are going to have to be close.  For if they aren't, the groove will have to be larger.  The groove size should be as small as possible.  You don't want a chasm to have to negotiate when you make a lane change.  So the fine-tuning of the seeker mechanism will have to be very, very accurate.

How might this be accomplished?  I'm looking at these two websites for some clues.  Here's one about RFID devices that can be read.  These might be embedded in the roadway to cue the seeker device as to their location.  Plus, I'm looking at self-parking/self-driving car technology:
sensors transmit signals, which bounce off objects around the car and reflect back to them. The car's computer then uses the amount of time that it takes those signals to return to calculate the location of the objects.
Thus, a system of sensors can keep the seeker mechanism perfectly aligned with the groove.  What happens in a lane change, or when the vehicle strays too far out of the center?  The sensors should be able to sense that and tell the seeker to disengage to avoid damaging the system.

Now to round out the system.  The seeker will need to be connected to an arm, which extends downward to the surface.  It will interface with the groove in the pavement, which holds the live wire.  The arm retracts and extends as the situation warrants.  It will have wheels that turn on the pavement on each side of the groove.  There could be mini-grooves that these wheels will have to stay in so as to aid the alignment process.  It will be at the end of the arm and will itself have an extension which drops further down into the groove.  It can be deployed and returned also.   The extension will be in the shape of a railcar-shaped wheel that will fit on top of the cable/wire that is electrified.  There could be some play built-in that will allow some side-to-side movement as well.   Anyway, it will transmit the electricity from itself through a conducting cable in the arm toward the car above.   The entire assembly---seeker, arm, and extension--- will be electrically connected to the vehicle.  Once the extension makes electrical contact, electricity will flow through the system and run the car.

In summary, the system will have to remained aligned and will be equipped to do so in real time.  Perhaps you can compare it to the Segway, which makes continual adjustments on the fly in real time so as to keep itself in proper position.


Obamacare and the Unforgiving Gauntlet

via  ----  Ace of Spades


Article is written by an IT specialist.  With all due respect, a reference to a specialist is just asking to be bullshitted.  Not that the guy doesn't know what he's talking about.  Besides, he could very well be right.  However, keep in mind this one thing:  a computer program---- which could consist of millions of lines of code--- can be halted by any one of those lines of code.  That halt could be intentional or inadvertent.  If it is inadvertent, it is subject to the testing mentioned in his article.  If it is intentional, no testing is required in order to restore functionality, because the "error" is already known, and can be "corrected" easily.

What goes on in the black box is out of sight and out of mind.  Nobody knows but the people who produce the black box.  Make the code open source, and this problem goes away.  At least in theory.

Just saying, don't ever disregard the possibility of dishonesty.  There may not be anything seriously wrong with the code.  It could have been fixed so that it won't run properly.  The claim of programming errors could be a smoke screen for another problem:  such as lack of funding.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Is Twitter Really Worth $14 Billion?

Evidence of a bubble.  The case is convincing that Twitter is way overvalued at the price they anticipate at their IPO.

But the snowball in hell will never melt.

The truth hurts

Sometimes I am aghast at the reaction I get from my writing.  But I am projecting my own values onto others.  That can mean only one thing.  I may respect the truth, but that doesn't mean the rest of the people out there do.  In fact, nobody respects the truth.  Otherwise, they'd like this blog and it would be reflected in the audience numbers.  So, I am aghast that my hard work doesn't pay off.  I should get over that.  It is what to expect these days.

If you think Ann Barnhardt is too tough, it is because of posts like this.  She comes down hard on people.  She just may be right.  She says "we are the gold" meaning that we have to back the currency by the kind of people we are.  At the present, we are not gold, but pig iron---cold, brittle, and worthless, she says.  She's tough, and that hurts.

I was wondering what happened to gold.  It is snowing in hell right now, that's what's happening.  A snowball doesn't have much of a chance in hell, but if you lie good enough, and you're good enough of a magician, you may convince the gullible otherwise.

AVIK ROY: The Myth Of Americans’ Poor Life Expectancy

via Instapundit

It’s one of the most oft-repeated justifications for socialized medicine: Americans spend more money than other developed countries on health care, but don’t live as long. If we would just hop on the European health-care bandwagon, we’d live longer and healthier lives. The only problem is it’s not true.

If we look at Switzerland, a country with private-sector, market-based universal coverage, we see very good health outcomes data. Put another way: if we compared the life expectancy of Americans on private insurance with that of centrally-planned Europeans, I’d bet that the U.S. would come out on top. And if that’s true, the argument that socialized medicine leads to longer life evaporates. 


What you get from this is that the left is lying when they claim socialized health care leads to longer lifespans.  Beyond that, the things that hurt US longetivity stats are due to policies that the Democrats favor.   So, they blame others for what is actually their own fault.

But nobody will believe that because they believe what they are told on TV and in academia.

Health care insurance can be improved upon, but the thing you can count on is for the political class to studiously avoid doing that while doing the opposite and claiming that they are indeed improving it.  They are improving it if the real intent to "improve" it means that people will die.  Too many people, you see.  It's all about Limits to Growth.  If there are fewer people, that's a feature, not a bug.

Electrifying highways, part II


The last post in this series discussed using space solar energy for the power to run the system.

In this post, there will be a discussion about building the facility. ( Speculation alert.  I don't know all the detail to which I refer in this piece.  It is a great thought experiment, though.)

It occurred to me that to tear up existing road will be very inconvenient for motorists.  There are ways to deal with this issue, as I have seen in some reconstruction projects here in Houston.  It's still a pain in the neck.

So, why not start anew?  Then, you can tailor the facility for a purpose, which is what this idea is about.  That purpose would be a high speed facility, like an autobahn for electrically powered vehicles.  These would have to meet certain standards.  That discussion will be set aside for later.

On a trip to San Antonio recently, I noticed the new section of toll roads built between Interstate 10 and Interstate 35 on a route to Austin.  This would be Highway 130.  That gave me the idea for funding this new stretch of road between Houston and San Antonio.  Houstonians may remember how fast the Katy Freeway (I10 west of downtown) was rebuilt from 2001-2008.  This was facilitated by the local Toll Road Authority, which now operates a toll lane alongside the HOV lane that runs down the middle of the freeway.  The Toll Road Authority helped finance it as it became part of the local Toll Road system.  Such a financial scheme could be employed to build this fast turnpike lanes that would use the existing right of way between Houston and San Antonio.  It would use the median area, and thus not require any new land to be acquired.  ( I think)

Motorists would have access to it from the left lane of the mainlanes, as in the stretch in Houston as mentioned above.

The road will be located past Waller county near Houston to just east of state Highway 130 itself.

The road should be built a bit higher than the mainlanes.  This is necessary in order to drain off water from the electrified highway.  So, how to electrify it?

I've watched roads being constructed.  I've noticed that the concrete is rather thick.  That will create an opportunity to lay a cable in the center section several inches above the bed.  This concrete will be laid around the center section, which will contain the live wire.  The wire will be insulated in all directions, except from above---which will be open.  This will be necessary in order to access it from above.  The car will access it from above, that is.

So, the electrical cable will be raised above the bed onto which the concrete is poured.  There will be drain channels built into the concrete from the cable, which will drain the water in order to keep rain from shorting it out.  ( That's why it is necessary to raise it a bit in order for the water to flow downward and away from the electrified cable.) The channel should be thick enough to accommodate a cable, and not much thicker.

To power the electrical system, we don't have to use space solar.  The power can come from any method that is best.  I would suggest a LFTR design, as it would be the cheapest to operate.  Other options would include gas turbines, of which I hear are very efficient.  The use of the existing grid should be avoided.  This is a completely new facility in that respect as well.

If electricity can be produced for a dime a kilowatt hour and the toll road authority charged the usual rate for the road, plenty of money could be generated in order to retire the construction bonds.  That's how they do it here in town.  The same scheme could work elsewhere, I imagine.

The numbers for income generation appear pretty good.  With a high efficiency system, it shouldn't be too hard to make a nice profit off 10 cents a kwh.  The toll roads make enough by themselves to ensure their popularity.  The finances should work.

The motorists should like it because of the speed and the economy of electrical vehicles.  It could help with marketing battery powered vehicles because they could now be used for long distance driving.  If the idea caught on, there could be many more roads like this all over the country.  A facility like this one, if expanded coast to coast, could mean that a motorist wouldn't have to stop except to pee.  Perhaps the entire fleet could be converted to electrical operation in a couple decades.  This road could be a test bed.  Or the proposed I-69 freeway could do the trick, since it doesn't exist yet.


Changes are a fact of life

Nothing stays the same.  So, it is true in all cases, including this blog.  Including myself.

Please do not misunderstand.  This is not a goodbye.  It is more like a hello.  The changes in my case is that I've got a medical problem.  Not serious, I hope.  My foot is bothering me and it is becoming chronic.  I can hardly walk on it today.  So, I'm free to post on this blog a bit this morning, but I'll have to do something new to manage this thing, because what I'm doing now isn't working.

But that's a lot of mundane stuff that I don't like talking about.  My imagination is soaring like an hawk right now.  The ying-yang thing.  The mundane and the extraordinary.

To have soaring thoughts and to be dragged down by a stupid, aching foot.  Oh, the pain of it all.

By the way, you aren't going to get this post unless you click through the links.  Otherwise, the post could resemble jiberish to you.  To get to the point, I made a slight change in the header.  I added the word "visionary" to it.  Visionary could have critical or laudatory connotations.  I suppose that is in the mind of the beholder.  For example, the Wright Brothers were visionary.  There were those who would have taken the negative connotation of the word as they pushed ahead with their vision of "heavier than air" flight.  On the other hand, their success made their visionary idea a real world reality.

To compare myself with the Wright Brothers may seem rather grandiose.  But the Wright Brothers were of a humble background, as I am.  You cannot always judge a book by its cover.  At least, in my case, I hope not.  I feel confident that my ideas could work.  But until they do, the negative connotation will most likely apply.  That gives me no pain at all.  If you click through the links, and if you understand and read this blog, you'll know why.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Space sailing with the solar wind

Why I am critical of Tesla

Mind you, I don't hate the car.  It is very attractive in a number of ways.

But it is a feel good car, not a practical car.  Time is not likely to solve this problem either.  Since 2004, I have been following energy news, and during that time , I noted promises that Tesla will get its prices down.  But it hasn't really.  It is still too expensive for the mass market.  It will likely stay that way, unless something changes.

Cheaper batteries with longer ranges?  It is taking a long time. Why not try a differrent strategy?

Well, the one big advantage of an electric car is its efficiency with electricity.  Something like 90 percent of the electricity moves the car.  It far outpaces gasoline, which at best is in the 30 percent range.  The Tesla gets 4 miles per kilowatt hour, which is quite good.  Compare the cost per mile using electricity this efficently versus using gas. The Tesla could be close to an order of magnitude cheaper for its energy consumption.  That will save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the vehicle.

This efficiency could be used to make the car more affordable.  But the use of solar power destroys that proposition.  Solar city?  No, that is more feel good without a real solution.  The intermittency of solar doesn't eliminate the need for fossil anyway.  It would be cheapest to use only coal fired plants to produce the cheapest electricity and to give a cost advantage that could make up for its high sticker price.  But to do that takes away the feel good aspect of its appeal.  Coal is dirty, and that doesn't help with feeling good about reducing carbon.

No, the solution would require a compromise of sorts.  You would need an energy source cheaper than coal, without the carbon, and a way to still feel good about it without busting the piggy bank.  And you would need a delivery system for that energy.

I suggest LFTRS for the energy source, and the delivery system would entail building  charge lanes into the highway system.  You wouldn't use the existing grid.  This would be new infrastructure.  How to manage such a new system could be the trick.  I believe that it could be done.

If the electricity was brought directly to the vehicle, it could charge the battery on the fly.  That would solve the charging time issue and the range anxiety issue.  You wouldn't need as big of a battery either, which would help with the cost of the car.  The battery is the most expensive part of an electric car.

You would have to accept some radioacive waste, but that is manageable.  The LFTR reduces waste by a hundred times.

The feel good attractiveness doesn't have to go away because it would be a real solution for the real world.

Individual insurance market going away

Gateway pundit

Told you so.

It is a feature ,  not a bug.

Forcing doctors to accept Medicare and Medicaid

But it won't make any difference.  They will vote Democrat anyway.

Why am I so negative?  Blue states will vote the way they do because of money.  They get too much money out of the current system.

President Obama ties Ken Cuccinelli to GOP obstructionists

No pretense of objectivity.  The GOP are 'obstructionists'.  There is probably little hope for GOP here.  Virginia has turned blue.

They may as well have continued with the shut down until they got the beast tamed.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bangkok Farmers Grow Edible Algae on Rooftops


algae called spirulina -- a rich source of protein, antioxidants and nutrients

Looks like a "two-fer".  You remove the carbon dioxide and you produce a food product in the bargain.  This may cut down on the amount of food needed to support an astronaut in space.

The stuff grows prolifically.  You should be able to keep up with food demand with it while not having to devote a lot of space to it.

I was thinking of an aquarium to grow fish that feed upon this stuff.   You need a system for this in order for it to work well.

Best quote of the year

As far as I'm concerned.

But this is a Bloombergian technocracy of billionaires and activists, of people who think that “progress” makes things work, rather than things working leading to progress.

That's what's wrong with things today.  People assumed that time makes things better, but it isn't the passage of time, but an effort of will expressed through time.  If there's no will, there won't be a way.  There doesn't appear to be the will to get things done that actually matters in terms of making progress.

Example:  Tesla.  It solves no problems.  Sorry, but it really doesn't.  Not that it can't be tweaked and made to work in solution to some problems.  But as it is, no.

It may make a lot of money, but that money isn't increasing values and wealth.  It is at best a zero sum game.

Warning Signs Flash as Stock Market Soars to Records


Some Analysts See a Replay of the Go-Go Market of the Late 1990s

Interesting comment section too.


I was a little incredulous the Netflix is doing so well.  Priceline?  Facebook?  Twitter???

What do they do????

( That was a rhetorical question by the way.  I know what they do. )

The solid stuff, like companies making tangible goods, aren't anywhere to be found.  Companies that do make real stuff, like Tesla, are depending upon hopes and dreams.  Tesla doesn't solve any real problems, and until it does, it's all smoke and mirrors.

There's likely to be an argument there, but screw it.  Tesla doesn't solve any problems.  They are just selling hopes and dreams.

Disk sailer: Stategy for mining an asteroid, part XXVII ( corrected )


 Thinking further on the design for the Deimos mission.  This design looks superior to the one being considered up to this point.  From this point on, this will be the design.  It is expandable, which means it can including a size proposed for the mining ship, plus even bigger ones that could house a city.  This design was studied briefly at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, according to author---Jerome Wright.

This design has a docking port built right into the design.  How convenient.  Notice at the very center where the spokes radiate outward.  That area can be pressurized and despun in order to accept cargo and passengers.  The entire spacecraft will be spun in order to make the sail stiff and to provide artificial g for the astronauts in two pods near the center of the 860 meter in diameter disk.

In this latest iteration of a design, the two habs will each house one astronaut.  They will be spun up to achieve about 1 lunar gravity.  With the Iron Man suit, the astronaut will be lugging around a mass almost equal to what he usually has to lug around on Earth.  The musculature will not suffer too much, hopefully.  The crew might not look like bodybuilders when they get back.

I worked out some mass numbers using Wright's work.  A Gemini type mass could be possible for the two habs.  Actually if a radical design were to be employed, it may be possible to do better than even that.

See the spreadsheet below the picture.

From Space Sailing, p. 75



Looks like all of this can go on one Falcon 9 launch, with plenty to spare.  There's lots of room to grow with this concept.