Saturday, September 27, 2014

Recap of last weeks posts 9/21 to 9/27

A rather quiet week.  Some highlights include an old one already on the "Best of" list:

The Atomic Bomber Five Part YouTube Series   That one was about molten-salt reactors.  The molten-salt reactor could have kept America at the very top of the heap, but that opportunity was lost.

It follows a train of thought that I've had about why our society is failing.  The molten-salt reactor and the end of the Apollo Program are major clues as to why we are failing--- there was no good reason for it at all, just a sudden reversal in philosophies.  One that would have led to the stars versus the one that will take us back to the swamps.  A turn of phrase there, in case you didn't follow it.  Reverse that and you get nearly a word for word quote from one of Ronald Reagan's speeches--- "from the swamps to the stars", he said.

Incredible videos

At least I think so.  This dude appears to know how to make biodiesel and biogasoline out of his apparatuses.  First video is over an hour long, and is not a complete project.  It's the second system and video that makes the gasoline.  I would have liked to have seen the completed project on the first video.  He shows in the second video that he can also run a generator off the system and a propane powered fridge.

As for what I want to do, I just want power out of the thing.  I want to produce algae and mix it up with sawdust that I make with a wood chipper, that will utilize all of the available wood all my property.  No, I won't be chopping down trees.  Anyway, the sawdust and algae mixture will produce pellets that will run the gasifier.

Yes, it's water filtration time again

This thing is bugging me so much that I can't quit, it seems.  So, I am trying it again with new sand.  The good news is that the filtration is definitely faster.  But I can't claim that it is any better.  No clear water, but it isn't far from it.

I tried a real test with soapy water used to wash my hands.  The suds don't go away.  The water does get fairly clear.  A run with the charcoal shows a yellowish tint again, which is annoying.  To be honest, the charcoal is probably not properly set up for filtering.  Although my results aren't anywhere near acceptable, the apparatus really is quite crude.

I'm becoming a bit skeptical of these videos which show different results than what I'm getting.  It is a bit sobering to realize that a lot of this stuff is not going to be as easy as it is claimed to be.  That's why I continue to try to get better results.  If the results cannot get a lot better than this, I may have rethink the entire project.  There's going to be a lot of things that have to be mastered in order to make this project succeed.  If the water project can't succeed, then that leaves me wondering about how many other aspects of this project may not succeed either.  It is sobering.


Just to see what would happen, I ran the resulting yellowish water through the humidifier and got some water output from it. As expected, the water is clear, but I don't know if it is potable.  I won't be tasting any such water to see if it is.  The amount of water lost during the process was way too high.  I estimate maybe over 90% of the water is lost.  For example, I poured a little over 6 ounces of the water into the dehumidifier, and got back a little under 4 ounces.  Two ounces of water was not produced from condensation.  As a matter of fact, just enough water to fill a small part of the bottom of the jar was collected.  Less than an ounce.  Much less, in fact.

Watching the entire operation of the humidifier gave me some ideas of how to improve upon this output.  I'm thinking of a tweety bird cage and lining the outside with aluminum foil.  The apparatus goes inside the bird cage.  The water will leave the apparatus, condense around the inside of the foil, and finally drip down in a collection container.

What may make this thing work well, maybe, is the fact that the water cools its surroundings, which in turn aids the condensing process.  The foil may need to cover only the bottom half of the bird cage.

Compressing Woodgas for future use.

After making the woodgas, you can burn it immediately, or you could store it.  Here's a way to store it.

Arc Welding Lessons

Build it yourself or buy it?  If I want a gasifier, I may have to build it myself.  As noted earlier, those things cost a bunch.  If I build it myself, I will have to do some welding.  A new skill that has to be learned.  Well, that's what I got myself into.

Probably not for everyone

Continuing to browse through my eBook authored by LeMar Alexander.  The next link he provides is pretty interesting because I've been giving it some thought in these last few days.

That is to say, living in my van.  After all, that's what building the carport is all about.  The carport makes the RV livable.  It shields from the sun and the rain, and can shield against the wind, too.  All this for a minimum of effort and expense.

There will be work to be done on the van to make it into an RV and then there will be work to build a carport.  After that, life will be rent free and a lot cheaper.  Extend the idea into growing your own food, and the requirements for living just got even cheaper.  Use an algal based system to generate biomass, and stop paying for energy.  Now life has become dirt cheap.

Step by step of Shipping Container Home Design and Construction


And I thought this was an original idea.  Shucks.

About that goose...

Another one that elicits the "there they go again" response.

Over at the Mahablog, she's talking progressive taxation as a cure to all ills.  Well, we had that once, and we got rid of it because it doesn't work.  Progressive taxation was still plenty in effect during Jimmy Carter's malaise days.  The people then decided to try something new, Ronald Reagan, and the left has been trying to take us back to those days ever since.

The favorite decade of the left is the Fifties, which incidentally is one of the right's faves, too.  Back in the good ol' Fifties, the left argues, we had a real progressive tax structure.  We also had a GOP president who didn't really challenge the New Deal.  The left sees this as a kind of ideal time, even though their more radical cousins, the far left, was planning the Sixties for us.  The right sees it as a time when girls were still girls and men were still men.  All of this was about to change, of course.  What we ended up with was the Vietnam War, Watergate, Gay marriage, abortion, and the Great Recession.

I think the roots of all this go down to the love of money.  As if money had the answers to all of our problems.  Progressive taxation is just a money centered response.  Just redistribute all the money around and that will solve everything, the libs say.  But what if money isn't the answer?  The left seems to think so.  Hence, more taxation, more government, and less freedom.  By the way, turn in your guns, please.

The left argues against itself, it seems.  As Maha is berating the "Masters of the Universe", she fails to notice two things.  That the great Middle Class she claims to love so much do tend to vote for the Republicans.  Also, these Masters she claims to hate so much tend to vote liberal.  The liberals have a lock on the very rich and the very poor.  We may not have a War on Women, but we sure do have a War on the Middle Class, they say.  Yeah, and they are the ones waging it!

She says the GOP'ers want to get rich.  Yeah, maybe so.  But that doesn't stop the left's rich from getting rich.  They seem to be pretty good at it too.  The left needs a boogie man, but it turns out that they only need to look in the mirror.

Where the GOP is going wrong it is that they keep on accepting the left's premises.  The one that really is bad is that you need a lot of money in order to be secure.  Wrong!  You may well achieve plenty of security without much money at all.  That's what I'm trying to achieve with my going off the grid project.

Nope.  Money isn't the answer.  Spreading the money around doesn't solve any problems either.  It just makes them worse, as money is a corrupting influence.  That's how you destroy marriage, the culture, and eventually the nation.

I'll be keeping my guns, thank you very much.

The way of the world

It's getting rather tiresome, mentioning the same things over and over again.  So, here I am again writing about money and how it rules our lives.  Some story caught my eye when I was reading memeorandum.  It says that Udall could lose in the Colorado election for US Senator.  The reason given?  Money.  The speculation in the story is that Udall could be losing his edge in the money race and that will be conclusive in the outcome of the election.

Are people this simple minded that they can be swayed by advertisements?  It is rather depressing to conclude that it appears to be so.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Idea: Modify the solar composter

The solar composter is LeMar Alexander's invention.  This is an improvement, perhaps, on that idea.

The solar composter decomposes human waste much faster than a conventional composter.  That's because the solar heat keeps the little critters warm, which they like.  It also dries out the manure faster, which allows for even faster decomposition.

So, the idea came to me to take one of his other ideas, which was to use a barrel as a composter, and to modify that into a solar composter.  The barrel would be cut in half, with the cut being lengthwise along the barrel.  It would be open at that end, and that end can be covered with a transparent plastic material that will admit the sun, but trap the heat.  It would act as your car acts when it sits in the sun.  It will be plenty hot inside.

You could add some of the touches he adds with his conventional barrel composter in order to complete the system.  I would modify it further in order to make the entire process automatic, except for the filling, which will still have to be done manually.  Just add a solar powered motor that would gently sway the barrel back and forth so as to turn the contents.  Perhaps a timer could be added to allow this motion to take place a few times each day.

Idea: Modify the carport

I was thinking that the carport may be overbuilt a bit.  You can make something of a permanent structure, but also have the quality of being taken down when not in use---like a teepee.

The system I am thinking of would require some post holes, as in the carport idea, but no permanent roof.  Thus, there's no roof, no walls, and no floor.  Everything else would be carried along on each trip out there.  You'd place that stuff on top of the permanent structure, which would be something like a skeleton.

A tarp would serve as a roof.  Also, tarps could serve as walls for protection from the wind.  It would not be fully enclosed.  Instead, the van would drive into it like a carport.  The van would be like an RV.  You could live in it for a few days, or perhaps a couple weeks.

The system would have to be robust, but not have to be built like the Taj Mahal.

Teepee Set Up

One way to go native is to live in a Teepee.  Teepees are useful for the nomadic type.  It has the virtue of being easy to set up and to take down.  It can be moved easily by horse.  Don't know about cars though.  Those poles look pretty long.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Earthships 101

Part I

question ( inquiring minds may want to know ):   Could my ideas be considered an Earthship?

Part II


Part One  ( obviously there's a part two and also a part three)

Got the link from the how to get off the grid ebook I've mentioned in earlier posts.

This stuff is actually pretty simple and is just common sense.  However, one wonders why common sense isn't common these days.  Anyway, it is on page 209, so I won't forget where I saw it.  He's got an idea for a composter too (in that part of the book) that can double as a washer ( you need to build one for each application, duh).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Laundry list for carport

To build a carport:

  • An augur: Question: hand operated or machine?  This is to dig post holes filled with concrete.
  • The necessary materials to build the carport.  Posts, 2x4's, plywood or metal roofing, nails, etc.
  • Necessary tools, as mentioned above plus a way to mix concrete
  • Solar power system, batteries, and backup generator because solar power won't be enough.
  • Food, water, and so forth for the time needed to be spent there will be measured in days, most likely
Basically, it's tools, supplies, and building materials.

When to start?  Maybe soon, but there's been a lot of rain in the area, and I don't know what shape the roads are in.  That mudhole is probably a whole lot bigger.

from the weather channel monthly page
Update  ( Sat. 10/4/14) :

I'm adding this to the off-the-grid series.

It should be noted that this material is older than the most recent link in the list.  Therefore, it may have to be modified in order to be up to date.  For example, I have decided not to make the roof out of plywood, but to use a tarp instead.  Solar power will be provided elsewhere on the premises.  The type of materials used will be lighter and so forth.  It won't be the "Taj Mahal" of carports.

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Blogging burnout?

At the moment, I can't get really excited about anything.  If I am not excited, I am not motivated.  If I am not motivated, I probably won't write anything.

Update:  That last sentence reminded me of the Austin Power's movie.  But people won't die if I don't write.  Or maybe they won't.  Bwah hah hah!

Take the Climate March for instance.  It is hard for me to believe that this is a serious thing.  People there do not practice what they are preaching.  If they were, they'd give up all their possessions and move out to a homestead in the country.  Will Al Gore and the rest of these celebrities give up their rich lifestyles?  Doubtful.

That they are serious about something, there's little doubt.  These people want something.  But to do anything about "climate change", no they aren't serious.  This isn't about the climate, I suspect.

"War on Women"?  Not serious, folks.  Why would any society make a war on its women?  To commit suicide, perhaps?  If there's a real war on women, it is from the people claiming to be against the war on women.  For to wage a war on women is to kill off a society, and that is what these people are doing in the name of protecting women.  The reality is that they are destroying the futures of young women.

As for the GOP, who can they not succeed in running against insanity like this?  It should be as easy as taking candy from a baby, but these guys are flummoxed.  Well, they are supposedly flummoxed.

Limbaugh tried to explain why the GOP can't do anything.  It struck me as excuse making.

Incidently, there's supposedly some plot to destroy Limbaugh.  If only.  Limbaugh isn't a big help these days.  Conservatism can probably live without him.  He is a non-entity as far as I can tell.  He's the best thing the libs have going for them.

Conservatives had better find themselves some real leadership.

Dick Morris talked about how Obama wants to change America.  Well, duh.  That's so obvious.  What isn't obvious is why isn't anything being done about it?  A horrible thought then occurred to me.  Morris is just another mercenary making money off the misery of the land.  There's nothing serious about the man just as there is nothing serious about the people in this land.  Conservatism?  What conservatism!  Nothing is being done and nothing will be done because nobody intends to do anything at all.

All this and the Climate March marches on.  The left is winning by default.  Hard to get excited about a bunch of people who stand by and do nothing while their country is being stolen from them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Unitroids--- a new term

What is a Unitroid?  It is one who subscribes to the philosophies of the Unitary State.  It is one who serves such a state slavishly and thoughtlessly.  It is one who invariably consumed by such a state in one form or another-viz. his freedom, his soul, or even his very person.

The Unitroids are on the march and are consuming everything in their path.

They are consuming Western Civilization.  All Western Goverments seem to be moving towards larger and larger Unitary States.  Hence, the European Union has consumed the European States.  In America, the Federal Government has consumed the States, and is now attempting to gain even more control.  One way or another, the Unitroids will gain more power---either by turning the economic basis of the nation into a conglomeration of semi-private enterprise entities known as "corporations", or into a vast leftist superstate full of economic dependents.

What to do about Unitroids?  In America, the Constitution must be preserved.  It is being attacked by the Unitroids on the left and it isn't being defended much by the Unitroids on the right.  A Unitroid cannot be counted on to defend the Constitution.  Hence, those who do not wish to be Unitroids had better detach themselves from it, or they will be consumed as well.

How do you know if you are a Unitroid?  A Unitroid is overly concerned about money.  A Unitroid favors and unthinkingly serves the money-centered economy.  Thus, just about everyone has been infected with the Unitroid disease.  You are mostly unaware of its existence.  But take heart, here is your warning. You have to clean yourself from the infection, or it will take you over.  Chances are, you are a Unitroid, but maybe a reluctant one.  Take that reluctance as a motivator and use it in order to free yourself!


This concept probably needs a lot more discussion.  For instance, some may point out that any economic system is going to be money-centered, so how do you get away from that?

I'd have to agree with that statement.  You can't get away from the necessity for a medium of exchange, which is what money is.  I think where I'm going wrong is to confuse topics.  Economics doesn't really mention morality.  However, at least some mention should be made in terms of the soundness of its money.

Sound money men are often associated with gold bugs.  I'm willing to assert that sound money doesn't require gold, but should be based upon some objective measurement.  Imagine trying to sell any good when the unit of measurement is subject to change.  Such is the case with money today.  It's not sound money, but sound money went into disrepute because of its linkage to gold.

Keeping with that thought, I wondered if you could set a price for goods in relation to each other in the same way currencies are priced against each other.  In other words a dual sliding scale with pairs of commodities priced against each other.  For instance, gold could be paired with silver.  Their relative values would shift daily according to whatever forces are acting upon them.  The same thing could repeated with several different commodities so as to mimic the way the national currencies are traded.  An index could defined that would set a price according to what it was on a certain date.  The index could be a basket of commodities that are priced in terms of the reserve currency, which is the US Dollar.  Let's set the date as of Dec 31st of this year.  Let's say the price of gold was $1000 and the price of silver was $20.  That would mean that 50 ounces of silver could buy one ounce of gold, and vice versa.  In a year's time, that ratio could change according to market forces.  In order to determine how any currency held up, just compare that index number to whatever the current prices are in US dollars.

You might say that they do this already.  But this system only works if you do the transactions in the commodities themselves as if they were currencies.  As far as I know, this isn't being done now.

In other words, you wouldn't have to convert between dollars and gold--- you could just transact in gold by itself.  The same could be true for any commodity.

I am wondering if that would make currencies more sound and more honest.  For I don't believe that currencies are honest and neither are the markets, but that is a different subject.

Keynes v. Austrian Economics: Two sides to the same coin

The Illustrated Guide To Keynesian Vs Austrian Economics

An argument against big government

In it he argued that Europe should be “cantonized” back into the sort of small, political regions that had existed in the past and that still persisted in democratic hold-outs like Switzerland.

On The Breakdown Of Nations

Monday, September 22, 2014

Were people fooled into going to the cities?

As late as the Great Depression, an era in which my mother grew up, many people, including herself, lived on a farm.  She said on several occasions, that they didn't even know that there was a depression going on.  That's because the farm provided all their needs.  They didn't need money, or that much money, on which to live.

But then there was war, and people dispersed from the farms to the cities.  Now, the question is this:  why did people leave their farms, which was a source of security; for the cities, which have proven not to be?

My grandparents left their farm and moved to the big city.  It is impossible to ask now, since they are gone, but I suspect that they left because they were too old to work the farm by themselves.  The children all left for the cities.  So, they followed their kids into the big cities, and that's where they are buried today---right here in Houston.

What was in the cities that wasn't in the countryside?  Probably the lure of money and what money will buy.  It may have seemed to be a good move at the time.  The post war economy produced plenty of good paying jobs.  You could make a good life in the city.  But things started to change in the sixties.  The crime rate soared.  The economy began to stagnate.  Now, after all of that, those who were born and raised on the farm were now out of luck.  Or perhaps their children were, or their grandchildren.

Now, I kinda wish that my grandparents had stayed put.  If they had, perhaps a respect for the life in the country could have made it on down to me a bit sooner.  All these years I spent pursuing that dream of making a bundle at something.  It was never necessary.  If only I'd have seen this as an option a lot sooner.

My father wanted to live off the land.  How many times did he say it before he died?  If given the opportunity to work a farm, I'm sure he would have taken it, and the family along with it.

The decision to come to the cities was a mistake.  How often did that mistake get made?  Can you generalize this to the public as a whole?  One thing is certain, a large number of people left the farms from the time of the Depression until recent times.  They could have been fooled by the false promises of money.  Now, they have no land, and may have to depend upon others for their sustenance.

When politicians talk about the economy, can they really point to a development like this and call it a success?  For that is what the New Deal did.  It failed to solve a problem, which was the money-centered economy, and created a bigger one in its place.  They took a small number of people who couldn't find jobs and now have created a bigger number that cannot find jobs.  What do the people do when the money's no good anymore?  That's what happens when politicians interfere in something they don't understand.  Big government is a failure.

Money, money, money

Boy, I've just paid some bills for this past month.  The money is going away fast.

Ironic that I've preached against the money power, yet here I am, worrying about money.

You just can't get away from the stuff.

Well, I've just got to cut back a bit, or I will run out.  That's not supposed to happen.  Irony of ironies.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thinking of giving up on water filtration

This looks too time consuming and unreliable to work.

The last straw might have occurred today as the water started draining much too slowly again.  I'm not bothering to fix it again.  The good thing about it is that I didn't spend much money on it.  The bad thing about it is that one idea for generating water seems to have gone by the wayside.

One possible thing to try next is sand without any impurities in it.  Anything that gums up like clay will make this thing way too inefficient.


How much water does one person need?  According to the off-the-grid Ebook author, it was 25 gallons per week:
I had installed a 25 gallon water tank under my sink and set it up so I could fill it from outside through a spout similar to an rv setup. I just dumped the barrels into my tank.
This 25 gallons was enough to wash dishes, cook, clean, and shower for one person for a week. If you have more people you will need to size your tank accordingly.---
Lamar Alexander
I was figuring on 10 gallons per day.  This dude made it on less than half that.  There are devices that will pull the water right out of the air that cost a couple hundred bucks.  You may be able to get that much from each device.

Update ( 9/22/14):

Overnight, the thing only produced about an ounce of water.  Very slow.  The good news is that the water is fairly clear, not yellow.  Still, it smells.  Some other experiments indicated that the smell can be reduced, but it may be smelly due to the sand having had some bad stuff go through it already.  Nevertheless, it smells.

I think I will try a few more experiments before quitting on this.

Water filtration pics overnight results

As you can see, mostly clear water.  However, it is definitely not clean, judging by the smell.  ( ick)

The water's speed through the filter has been noted.  This started at 3PM yesterday, and this much had filtered out since then until 4AM this morning.  That is, a little over 4 ounces of water in 13 hours.  Very slow.

I can get clear water this way, and by using charcoal, which I am not using here.  However, the charcoal left a yellowish tint to the water, which leaves the question of whether or not this current set up will remove that tint.  That's what I could be trying next.

Mostly top view

Over the top

Side view

The change to using charcoal once again has not produced the results hoped for.  The water still smells, and although it is early, it looks as if it might turn yellow again too.  I added another layer of sand directly after the charcoal before it hits the rocks and the sand below on the next level.  Perhaps this will help.  I will run the water through several times to establish the results.  I'm not too confident at this point.

Recap of last weeks posts 9/14 to 9/20/14

The highlight of the week?  Nothing that made the "Best of" list.  The most clicked on post was

What is wealth?

As for any others that made the "Best of" lists, there are many, but I didn't make a note of them.  There are many posts that could, but that would take an exhaustive search.  Normally, I just go back a few hundred posts, and that's it.  These others could go back months, or even years.  I run up on them from time-to-time by accident while searching for something else.  I'll just have to remember to make a note of them and be ready the next time to report on these.

A search consisting of the last 500 posts yields the following new members of the "Best of" class:

Generally, the week was about going off-the-grid and why I think it is necessary.