A reader of this blog is right now doing the dangerous, punishing, vital work of fighting wildfires in one of the many blazing western states. Hats off to him, big time.
He sent me this:
It’s an oregano farm, so he swears. :-) And far from the only one they’ve come across. In fact, these grows turn out to be a mainstay of this particular area’s economy. And not with government approval.
Curious, I asked whether fire crews were being ordered to destroy the illegal “oregano,” report it, or let it be. He responded:
I knew I wasn’t going to monkey with anyone’s private property, and would have dodged the mission if that had been written in as part of it. We are here to protect it, otherwise nature would be allowed to run her course. She will eventually anyways, just not this season.
This whole region is a tinderbox waiting to erupt, and the drought has made things considerably worse. To my uneducated eyes things look the same as always in the timberline, but at their core and roots, the trees are suffering mightily. Or so I’ve been told by those in the know.
Once boots were on the ground and the nature of the local economy became apparent, I too was curious about how things would be handled, so I asked our handler/trainer/liaison (who is a REAL wilderness firefighter with 20 years of experience). His response was along the lines of, “If we were [in an area whose economy wasn’t so dependent on the crop], yeah, I’d probably report them. Or if it was a meth lab or something. But this? Here? Nah.”
The backwoods property owners have mixed emotions about our presence and are shadowing our movements (sometimes openly armed). The “townspeople” (all four hundred of them) are happy. That said, there are at least three fed LEO agencies here with us, but none of them are in enough force to logistically do anything. I suspect they were sent by their higher ups primarily to be seen by each other. Organizational phallic displays and measuring.
Despite the feds and their wars on everything, a ray of goodness penetrates this dark, smoky, perilous summer.
And if this poll means anything, there’s more sanity in the country and more hope for harmony between the races than sometimes seems.
I forgot until Jim Bovard reminded me: Yesterday was the 23rd anniversary of the feds beginning their killings at Ruby Ridge. Yesterday, Sammy. Today Vicki. There’s no statute of limitations on murder …
The Dow (and darned near everything else) goes dowwwwwwwwwwwwn in a way last seen in infamous 2008. And this time, what tricks do global governments have left to pull out of their hats?
Starting one year as a nomad. While this is hardly the spontaneous adventure it seems (how many other nomads have multiple sponsors?), it’s still interesting. (Brought to you by BioLite, the folks who make the ingenious camp stoves and related off-grid goodies.)
What we do for love. And desperation. Your awwwww story for the day — if awwwww can include alligators.
Oh yeah, let’s “fix” I-594 by making exceptions for only ones. ‘Cause you know, only us peasants (e.g. we who don’t work for the state or its cronies) ever commit crimes.
The day long feared has arrived. Samsung warns customers to be careful what they say in the vicinity of their “smart” TVs. And we’re just supposed to lie back and enjoy it now that the loss of privacy is “inevitable.”
The SunSaluter. Interestingly simple concept from one of Peter Thiel’s young Fellows. A solar tracker/water filter. Looks like it would be most effective only in the tropics where the sun always arcs high in the sky. Any comment from you physics guys?
Speaking of physics guys … you may recall my impressively failed experiments with flower pot candle heaters. Engineers predicted the failures ’cause (to put it in kindergarden terms) you can’t get more energy out of a candle than is in the candle in the first place. What you can get out of it, though, is a bunch of money. Provided you give your version of it an “eco” name. (Via S., who notes, “Unless paraffin tea candles have energy density approaching that of highly enriched uranium, it is flat-out impossible to do any meaningful heating with an ounce or three of wax.”)
I suspect that the first thing that’ll happen when you register with NoFlyZone.org to declare your home a no-go for drones … is that various governments will wonder what you have to hide and will target you for drone flights bearing various cams and eventually weapons.
Lyrics NSFW and hip-hop might not be to everybody’s taste. But Freedom Feen Neema Vedadi (with Mason Moore) has a way of putting freedom right in the face of a new generation: “See My Chains.” (Tip o’ hat to MD)
If you’ve never been to the Buffalo Bill Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming, you might want to make a detour next time you visit Yellowstone. Unless you’re Ian McCollum, it’ll show you more than you ever wanted to know about guns and their history. I’m noting this here because the firearms museum now has its first female curator — and from her qualifications it’s clear she’s no affirmative action hire.
Claim: cold fusion may have been verified by third-party researchers. I’ll believe it when I see it. Just posting as an item of interest for now. But oh my, if this ever turns out to be for real, it changes everything — and not just in tech or power generation.
(H/Ts: MJR and MtK)
ADDED: Sigh. It’s possible both of these might turn out to be scams. Per Sam in Oregon, here’s the latest on the Anonabox.
Already got a reality check on the cold-fusion device below.
ADDED: A comment by a friend who works in the power-generation field:
I downloaded and read the paper on the cold fusion device, called E-Cat.
Disclosure: I would like for this to be true. It would improve the health and wellbeing of mankind at least as much as the mastery of fire.
Rossi has been making these claims for years. One of the common elements in all of his experiments is that he uses complex means to measure the energy.
This paper is no different. They have to estimate the energy losses for no fewer than 3 different physical effects. One of those, radiation, accounts for more than 100% of the observed “excess” heat.
That’s a red flag right there. A competent analysis would have predicted how the heat would manifest itself: so much to radiation, so much to convection, so much to conduction. Then they could have checked their results against this prediction.
But they didn’t do that. They didn’t even test their “control” at the same power and temperature levels. Another red flag.
Radiation is a very difficult way to measure energy production. The power goes as the temperature to the 4th power, so a 5% error in temperature gives a 22% error in power. Then the alumina they used has a big change in emissivity as a function of temperature, and the temperature of the tube is far from uniform.
Bottom line; the most likely explanation for the “excess heat” is a sum of small errors in the measurements.
There are also claims of isotopic shifts, but those are tough to measure with the equipment they used. The absence of any radiation means we would have to throw out most of what we know about nuclear physics.
I’m not at all against throwing out theories that don’t work. The problem is that nuclear physics works pretty darned well. Nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons, nuclear medicine, solar physics, cosmography, all of these things require detailed calculations of nuclear reactions and rates, and all of them get answers that are pretty much exactly right. There are always questions at the edges, such as solar neutrinos, but there isn’t any suggestion that the physics is wrong.
The process of throwing out older theories for better ones always follows the same path. The old theories work well enough for a while. Eventually we push the edges enough that the calculations start producing answers that don’t match what we see. A fair amount of data is collected showing that we have a problem. Then some smart person proposes a new theory that explains all of the old stuff AND all of the new stuff.
That isn’t happening here. There isn’t a collection of hints that we have a problem in nuclear physics. Quite the opposite. The further we push, the more confirmations we get.
So I don’t buy the claims of isotopic shifts.
Then there is the question of the complex experimental setup.
The excess power they claim is equivalent to nearly 2,000 watts of excess heat being produced. That’s a lot. If there really was that much heat, it would be easy to measure directly, without the trouble and errors of trying to calculate power from radiation.
Just one idea, to show how straightforward this could be.
Immerse the thing in wax, or lead, or salt. Make the container big enough that it is clearly impossible to melt the contents from the electrical input power alone. Then run it until the container is full of melted whatever. That’s proof. No fancy measurements required. A bit of engineering math in advance, build 2 or 3 to run controls before and after, and you have a bullet-proof demo.
This isn’t a bullet-proof demo. It’s not even a demo. I don’t know if Rossi is running an elaborate con game or if he believes this stuff. It doesn’t matter; I’m pretty sure there is nothing here. I’d be more than happy to be proved wrong.
I’ve linked recently to Ryochiji’s posts about his Serenity Valley cabin’s very, very — VERY — close call with a wildfire.
Lots of other worthwhile stuff at his site, Laptop and a Rifle. Back in the winter of 2011, when his property was less developed than it is now, he vowed to spend 31 days there under a strict set of rules. He called his experiment Project 31 & despite the rigor of his terms, it was a success. Here are all his posts about it
This came up at Joel’s place the other day. I think it was MJR who linked it. In any case, it’s cool in more ways than one — poor man’s air conditioning.
Hm. Jeffrey Snider also goes on (as I recently did) about how seventeenth century England made such a difference to Americans. Then he goes on. And on. About modern-day political thievery. Long but interesting.*
And things continue to look up! Woman wins big settlement after cop steals her money and arrests her on false charges. (H/T Say Uncle)
Everybody knows about Sherman committing war crimes as he pillaged and burned his way to the sea. But I never knew Sheridan did the same thing farther north — on orders from Grant and with the blessing and thanks of Lincoln.
* He screws up saying that Locke fled England under James I. It was James II. But that’s just being technical. Locke was a pretty amazing person and one to whom we also owe much.
I hope Tesla’s recent bold move of open-sourcing its patents pays off. History and a good guess says it’s likely to greatly benefit the electric vehicle industry as a whole, but not Tesla, specifically.
While the smartest and most dogged gun-rights writers are still going back and forth about whether this week’s “faster than a speeding cartridge” Bloomy ad was real or a hoax, we know this one’s just as stooo-pid and appears to be the genuinely ignorant item.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t describe where the political world stands (no surprise). But it does describe a cool new website and a beautifully laid-out and informative digital magazine.
Brink of Freedom is a great place. It combines a freedomista attitude, high energy, and useful self-sufficiency how-tos.
Michael W. Dean of Freedom Feens turned me on to the site and introduced me to its founder, Josiah Wallingford. (Don’t you love that name?)
Go check it out for yourself. It’s the kind of place you could spend hours. But while you’re here, here’s a little background Q&A with Josiah, as well as links to pdfs of BoF’s January and February editions: