Friday, August 29, 2014

Too ambitious...

...For my own good.  How can someone like me be too ambitious?  After all, I drive a truck for a living.  Nobody that is truly ambitious can be a truck driver, right?

Well, if you are too ambitious, your very ambitions will get in the way of actually achieving anything.

In such a case as that, one has to learn how to focus and prioritize.  Taking as an example, my two previous trips out west, I managed to get little accomplished.  I may have accomplished what I wanted in just one trip, but I failed.  Why?  A lack of detailed plans that would have focused and prioritized my activities in such a way that I would have accomplished my goal ( maybe ).  I was on top on my land, but didn't even know it because
  • I did not bring along a map.
  • I did not calibrate the mileage on the vehicle's odometer, which if had been adjusted for its error, would have enabled me to conclude that I had arrived at my destination.
As a consequence, I did not accomplish my goal of actually learning something about my land.

But how is that being too ambitious?  I made of list of what I wanted to do, but failed to get much of it done.  I got into too much of a hurry, and left some important stuff behind.  Trying to do too many things at the same time is being too ambitious--- so that's what I mean.

Maybe it is the pressure.  Can't handle the pressure.  Gotta to be more deliberate and focused.

But that is too much navel gazing.  Time to get moving.  Time to make some plans!  Time to face the pressure...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wood gas video

I may be able to use this.

Creativity called upon for solutions

If you want to solve problems, you may need to get creative.  With respect to setting up shop on my land, this is just what the doctor may have to order.  There's a number of pain-in-the-ass type rules that I have to adhere to, or I am in bad odor with the local yokels in chief.

Anyway, that is what I'm doing right now.  It seems pretty quiet around here 'cause I'm thinking.

With respect to the water filtration problem, I think I'll have to build something that will work better than what I've used so far.  It may be made of wood 'cause wood is easy to come by and it can be nailed together to form a structure of some kind.  I figured it would be several feet tall to accommodate all of the levels that it needs and have the structural rigidity needed to handle all of the weight.

With respect to the shelter question, I've been looking at tents as an alternative to sheds.  I'm still leaning toward a shed, but that may require some modification in order to make it work.  For example, I may want to put in a couple poles for a hammock that will be inside of the shed.  The trouble with attaching the hammock to the shed is that it may not be strong enough to support the weight of a person in a hammock.  So, the hammock structure has to separated from the shed.  Once that hammock structure is in place, assemble the shed around it, see.  The hammock can go up when it is time to sleep and come down when it is time to awaken.  That gives some space in the shed to do some work, if that is necessary.

Climate control for the shed may be a swamp cooler for summer, and a solarium for winter.  The solarium will be attached to the shed.  The swamp cooler will be in the solarium. The swamp cooler will assist in recycling water.  A dehumidifier will condense the water out of the air that the swamp cooler puts in.  In the winter?  Don't know yet.  The plan will call upon collecting and storing more water than what I use.  It may be necessary to draw upon reserves for the winter months.  The water can also store heat from the sun and that will assist in heating the shed in the winter months along with the solarium.

Provided that the solarium is big enough to do all this, it will also be called upon to grow food.  I will look into the subject of aquaponics/hydroponics for that little solution.

In summary then, I will have a shed/tent that will have a solarium attached.  The solarium will assist in making the shed/tent habitable as well as in growing food.  That's the bare bones of it, and hopefully it won't run afoul of any regulations.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Elon Musk: Artificial intelligence may be "more dangerous than nukes"

cbs, Instapundit

Or,  "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us"

That stuff scares me more than anything else that is happening, which is saying something.

Optimism v pessimism

Generally speaking, optimism is better.  However, if optimism is based upon wishes and not reality, a bit of cold water needs to be splashed into your face.

In our pleasure-seeking entertainment-obsessed culture, it is probably not too good of an idea to allow yourself the further luxury of becoming too optimistic.  Such optimism in the face of mounting problems- that don't ever get solved- is just a fantasy.  The fantasy becomes just another part of the daily entertainment.  It is like a fairy tale told to children so that they can get to sleep at night.

I get the feeling that this culture is just a bunch of overgrown kids.  Reality is out the window.  Virtual reality is in.  But that is just a fantasy, ya'll.

Sometimes I get a bump in traffic when the optimism soars a bit.  That's what this post is attempting to warn you about.  Life's not about feeling good all the time.  It's about staying alive!

Why China Will Not Overtake America – Dick Morris TV: History Video!

Why China Will Not Overtake America – Dick Morris TV: History Video!


Morris recites the reasons why he believes that China will not surpass America.  This is too optimistic.

China has the will to overtake America, and therefore will find a way.  Unless that willpower there is matched with an equivalent willpower here, we are in very serious trouble.

Next Big Future: Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes by Chines...

Next Big Future: Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes by Chines...: [South China Morning Post] China has moved a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco...

...and uses MOLTEN SALT REACTOR technology which they got from us.

Way to go, DC!  Your have outdone yourself with your brilliance this time.  With such a sub, the Chinese could gain a significant military advantage.   This is the kind of thing that can undo civilizations.

Yet we had molten salt tech 40 years ago and threw it away.  Brilliant. /sarc

We did the equivalent of burning down the library at Alexandria.  We shall reap the same outcome, I suspect.

A direct ammonium carbonate fuel cell with an anion exchange membrane - RSC Advances (RSC Publishing)

A direct ammonium carbonate fuel cell with an anion exchange membrane - RSC Advances (RSC Publishing)

You have to purchase the paper in order to get all the skinny.  The summary is interesting enough.

Actually, I recall seeing something about a direct ammonia fuel cell.  Maybe it was a solid oxide fuel cell that is available NOW.  Here is my post on that subject, but I see nothing about ammonia.  A bit of research failed to turn up products available now, but this pdf was found.

A 2009 article here.  Where's the products?  Here's one called the Power Cube.  It may be way too big for my needs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What destroyed the Great Library at Alexandria? ( revisited)

I won't repost the entire thing, but only to mention that there is a bit of a discrepancy between what Carl Sagan said and what the other side of the story was.

However, I do have definite opinions on why the empire fell, and such treasures were also lost forever.

The church at that time did not prevent this from happening.  Nor did the church prevent the Mohammedans from taking over vast stretches of Christian territories.   In addition to that, if certain accounts are to be taken at face value, they are failing yet again in our own time. Therefore, the church cannot be expected to defend itself successfully.  It doesn't have a very good track record.

On the other hand, the pagans didn't defend themselves very well either.

If Western Civilization is to survive, there had better be a better solution than what was observed from these two groups.

Power and water from the same source

What a concept!  A brainstorm that could mean something!

Anyway, you have to obtain ammonia and go from there.

The source could be ammonium carbonate in bulk.  The price may be a stumbling block.

You could produce your own methane, then reform it for the hydrogen source.


Or better yet, produce your own methanol and then reform it for the hydrogen.  The methanol can come from algae.

This post goes into my off-the-grid series.

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Apocalypse Now Intro (The Doors - The End) - repost


This repost seems more apt than ever.  Was Jim Morrison a genius or what?  The fall of Rome is certainly the model for what western civilization is going through now.  We are literally "lost in a Roman wilderness of pain, and all the children are insane".  The people at the top are drunken with a false sense of their own importance, like certain Roman Emperors who thought they were gods.  All the children are looking for leadership from an insane bunch of hedonists at the top, who will destroy anything good that emerges that might actually help improve the lot of the sheep.  The sheep are being led to their destruction.

Uploaded by yhprumx on Apr 26, 2009

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need...of some...stranger's hand
In a...desperate land
Lost in a Roman...wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah


A friend in high school loved this song. He died young, or relatively young. For some reason, this song is playing in my mind. I hope it doesn't mean anything of ominous portent.

Bizarre news

The S&P finished about 2000, at an all time high.

People seem to think this kind of news is significant, or a reason to buy stocks.  What about the earning power of the corporations, hmm?  What does the 2000 level have to do with that?  Besides, how does that help anybody else outside of the corporations?  Has there been any real growth in the economy since the sixties?  It seems all to be a farce, but the farce is rather persistent.

In other news, the military's new hypersonic missile failed.  Guess what?  I don't like the technology.  It confirms to me that the military/government complex only wants stuff that doesn't work and costs the most.  Hypersonic tech like this is probably not the ticket.  I prefer the technology that the Brits are developing, but won't fund--- the Skylon.   The precooler technology has been proven.  That's the most important part of this tech, yet funding is being held up.  Why is that?  This should be pushed aggressively, but isn't.  Instead, we are funding hypersonic.  I realize that this is foreign tech, but the Brits have been close allies.  Why not help them out?

By the way, I found a lot of posts that qualify for the "Best of" label when I searched for Skylon.  Nine new posts!  Now that's not bizarre, it's great news, thanks.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Updated the index page

It has been over a year since I updated that page.

The most significant thing I've done over the past year has been this off-the-grid series.  The reason for its signficance?  I've actually done something about it.  I'm doing REAL things here.  Everything that came before ( in terms of series ) were on theoretical kinds of things as opposed to real things like this.

I've add the term "series" to the index.  It doesn't seem to pull up much, but it does pull up something.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I was wondering why John Powell of JP Aerospace didn't think of this?  Maybe he did, but it seems like he has to conduct his experiments in a time consuming manner.  Perhaps it would've worked better if he was out in the desert to begin with, instead of being in close to the city and having to go out to the desert for his missions.  But the desert is much closer to him than it is over in this neck of the woods.  Maybe it isn't too bad after all.

Low Budget Camping

Voice In The Wilderness via the Independent and JWR's Roll of Essential Links

Now, how was that in terms of using this blog as a resource?  I got this link via the left sidebar of links to interesting reading and came up with this gem.  Well, I call it a gem because it restates- in other words- the philosophy that I've developed into an action plan that I'm executing and which I call my off-the-grid series.

But unlike so many of the urban attractions, we knew that we could do our mountain exploring without ever having to pass through a ticket booth where someone collects an admission fee. For all practical purposes, the mountains belonged to the people and they were free for anyone to enter and explore.---Christopher Nyerges 

I noticed a long time ago the tendency to automatically go to store and buy whatever it was that you needed.  Can't remember when exactly it happened, but it did happen that I realized what he is writing about here---that you don't have to spend money in order to do something.  I think we have all been conditioned to think that way, and that conditioning can be unconditioned so as to become more self-reliant and resourceful.

Okay, I'm going to bring a TV show back into the mix here, even though that is somewhat verboten.  That show was on in the eighties and it was called McGyver.  It aired just before Monday Night Football, and yes, I did like it and watched it.  I liked it because McGyver was resourceful and could solve his problems himself without having to go someplace to buy something.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Here Spot, come here boy!

Before and after 3rd try

One last try yielded about the same results as the first try.  Here's the yellow looking result, which I think is indicative of a lot of charcoal not getting filtered out.

One last pour and the napkin below it.  This last pour is with a napkin over a plastic cup.  It may have helped a little, but I lost a lot of water trying to get it into the glass.  That's why the water level is lower.

This is all I have time for right now.  Something of a disappointment, but we'll get 'em next time.  ( famous last words )


Analysis after cleanup:

There's a problem maintaining the integrity of the layers.  The sand wants to run all the way down to the cotton layer, which is the last layer.  This does two things  1) it reduces the  effectiveness of the sand layer and the cotton layer and 2) it clogs up the cotton layer which reduces throughput.

The breakdown appears to be around the edges or the perimeter of the plastic container.  The container is very flexible, so when I pick it up, it flexes.  I think the flexing is what is destroying the integrity of the layers.

I could swear also that this isn't 100% sand.  It may have some clay in it, too.  It shouldn't clump together the way it does.

Thoughts to chew on.

The truth is like the sun, it cannot be gazed upon for long

When I read that book yesterday, or some of it, a slow but painful feeling started coming over me.  It is like the truth being realized, but the truth is horrible, and cannot be endured for long.  Then you turn away from it in one fashion or another.  Entertainment is but one way to turn away from it.

I'm like that too, despite all my words about seeking the truth.  I don't want to look at it for long, and when I do see it, or read about it such as mentioned above, I want to turn away like these criminals in the movie A Clockwork Orange.

In the history books I once read long ago, I recall reading about these fire and brimstone preachers that would talk like this prison charlie here, and would reduce many to tears.  The tears were for from those who believed in what they were hearing.  But the other way to react is to make fun of it because the truth cannot be borne for long.

I went to a fire and brimstone type sermon when I was but a little boy.  Even then I did not like it.  I think it was the only time my parents took us kids to one of these type sermons.  Maybe a kid is too young to hear stuff like that.  On the other hand, many people never emerge from that stage of their lives.   Just sayin'.

Post Mount Remote Solar System Design by LaMar

Assuming that the water issue is close to being resolved, let's move on to next problem:  power.

I saw some solar power gizmos like on this video on my way home from out west last month.  The one out there near Columbus Texas was more sophisticated than this.  It could track the sun in real time.

In order to implement this system, you will need to dig a 3 foot hole and pour concrete into it.  The post will be anchored to the concrete.

I'm going to refer to the table of contents for the off-the-grid series in order to link this post to that series.

Thus, this idea came from #19 on the list, which is about solar power trailers.  I got the link to this video from there.

Recap of last weeks posts 8/18 to 8/23/14

To engage or disengage, that is the question.
Whether 'tis healthier in the mind to suffer
The snarks and attacks of meaningless prattle
Or to take arse to an oasis in desert
And by ignoring them, end them.  To die, to sleep--
In peace--and by a peace we say to end
The heartaches of a thousand to the googleplex.

Oh, just fooling around with Shakespeare a little.  Last week was about the water filtration experiments, which will continue onto this week.  It's all a part of the living off-the-grid goal, in which I intend to make a success.  A success being defined as being able to live in that woebegone desert out in West Texas.  Oh, let's not make it that bad.  It's just a little more arid than average.

Here's a little entertainment for y'all since I know that it's the only thing that you care about anyway:


Forgot the "Best of" posts section, so here's a mention of a bunch of them from the Brainstorm category that I found a few days after this post.

It is probably too late to mention highlights for the week, although it did appear that the highlights were of a Brainstorm type quality.  Perhaps that is getting a little respect these days.  If so, thanks much!