- Love it! Trekkies (and fed-up fliers) tell the TSA who’s boss. (H/T S.)
- For this couple, energy-efficiency has jumped the shark. At least they now understand and are willing to say what a pair of idiots they were to build such a house.
- Wow. That was some impressive pistol shot!
- 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.
- Distracted and diverted from the police state. This one’s a couple of months old, but quite apropos.
- And this one’s right up to date: Christmas. Is it the most menacing time of years? Troy Senik says it is if you really listen to those song lyrics! ;-)
Archive for the ‘Off-Grid’ Category
Tiny, portable box adds TOR to every Ethernet connection. And everything you do online.
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
Very Joel-ish. Without the curmudgeonliness.
- What? Eric Holder a hypocrite? Nooooo.
- Why, that would be as unthinkable as saying cops are lying thugs or that they get away with things that would send the rest of us to prison.
- Why, that would even be like saying that feds and local cops are conspiring to keep information out of the hands of judges. Couldn’t happen. This is Murrica!
- Isn’t that cute? The NSA has its own search engine just for sharing information about us.
- Sigh. Another hopeful libertarian project collapses into a rubble heap of fraud and scandal.
- Oh well. Here’s something useful (and maybe even fun) to do while waiting for Truth, Justice, and the Murrican Way to triumph: make your own knife without power tools. (link fixed!)
- ADDED: Per jed in comments on today’s other post: pit bull saves kid from swarm of bees. (Needed a little more good news here.)
- The more powerful people are, the more time they perceive they have. Interesting. And an insight into why some of us always feel as if we’re scrambling just to keep up!
- And here’s the schedule those successful people follow.
- 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.*
- Jury frees man who shot at cops who were too stupid and lazy to bother checking an address.
- 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.
- The government has finally gone too far! (Says Jim Bovard, a man who’s fond of a good cheap cigar.)
- Why time seems to speed up as we get older and some creative ways to slow it down.
- 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.
- Off-grid goes upscale. Especially offshore.
- The naked self-interest of the managerial state. No surprises, but telling, nevertheless.
- 50 photos from the past that’ll get you thinking.
- Eighty-four square feet, 305 possessions. I’m glad my own tiny-house phase is over, but I’m also glad I had it. I’m really glad it never went down to 84 square feet.
- Join the IRS. Cheat on your taxes. Misbehave. Win awards. Where do I sign up!
- Not just renegade ranchers, but the Texas attorney general, is ready to say, “Come and take it! (H/T LarryA in comments.)
- Rebels, rebels everywhere. And some intriguing background on who really “owns” all that Nevada land. (H/T Pat and naturegirl in comments.)
- Fellow plane passengers perform one, tiny non-violent act of resistance to save a fellow passenger from an unjust and potentially deadly deportation. Wow.
- 23andMe: “The Google of Spit.”
- One more thing that’s wrong with NICS. (As if everything weren’t already wrong with it.)
- 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.
Lovely subject line, isn’t it?
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:
As soon as I post this, I’m going to make Thursday’s “bad” post public again. If clever people and hobby-horse riders want to make the comment section All About Them, that’s on their heads, not mine.
Your encouragement, good cheer, and wisdom delivered via email and via comments on yesterday’s apology post helped me get over myself.
(The irony was not lost on me that I squealed like a little girl over comments on a post titled “Live Boldly.” It was amazingly nice of y’all not to mention that. :-) )
I’m still going to take a week off. I need it. Whether I’ll resume with “Live Boldly, Part II” or not, I can’t say. Slidemansailor was astute when he noted that sometimes the moment for something just passes. However, I’d like to take up that topic again if I can find the proper footing to begin.
Meanwhile, here are some links for you, along with my thanks:
- Roscoe Bartlett. He’s much more interesting as an off-grid hermit than he ever was as a congressthing.
- We’re finally reaching the long-dreaded day when the fedgov plays a dominant role in who “wins” and who loses in U.S. economic life. The trend’s been going on since the (not-so) Great Society. When it reaches fruition … there will be only losers outside the political nomenklatura.
- It didn’t require aliens. Just (it appears) a mind as brilliant as Archimedes’ to give us the mystery of the Antikythera mechanism. And more billiant minds, aided by computers, to solve that mystery. Awesome story.
- Another amazing (though terribly sad) story made possible by brilliant minds, computers, and caring people. (And one worthless thug; may he never have another moment’s peace.) (H/T PT)
- Can hardly believe this came from a big-city police chief. Those guys are usually mega-control freaks. And from Detroit, yet!
- The 40 most awkward dogs of 2013. (H/T MLS)
Now that I’ve cleared those tabs, cleared my head, and given you my inadequate thanks … some time off.
- Commonsense about polygamy is finally appearing in the mainstream. (No, I don’t think government should be involved, but otherwise, this is good stuff.)
- If you want to live innovatively off-grid, maybe it’s best not to do it in a city. Or at least not to talk about it if you do. (H/T H.)
- That Texas “affluenza” brat who killed four people and turned one of his friends into a vegetable may not have to pay any consequences for his actions. But his parents might.
- The courts might never stop the NSA’s outrages (despite hopeful rulings to the contrary). Congress? They never, ever, ever will. But the collaborating companies like Google, Yahoo, IBM, Verizon, etc. might eventually have to stop the NSA or die an economic death. Now shareholders are upping the pressure.
- The author of The Anarchist Cookbook, having made all the money off it that he personally needs, now wants the book banned. I doubt it’s going to happen, but you might want to get your copy, just in case. You do know, though, that you’re more likely to hurt yourself with the recipes in that book than you are to hurt anybody else. (H/T B.)
- A former prosecutor “fights the law and lets it win.”
Ever since Pamela Jones shut down Groklaw and announced she was not only abandoning the site but quitting the Internet entirely in light of the Edward Snowden revelations, I’ve been thinking about this.
At the time, though I found her reasons poignant and pertinent, I thought she was overreacting. Now, I don’t know.
Personally, I’m not on the verge of quitting. A big part of my life is here. And all of my career (such as it is) is here. That’s been true since 1986 when a client bought me my first 300-baud modem and set it up so I could electronically submit stories to him. It was certainly true in 1993 when I met my Significant Sweetie (now ex, but still friend) on a FIDOnet gun-rights bulletin board. It’s definitely true now when I’d likely starve to death and blow away without the ‘Net.
Still, I think most of us (and most notably a lot of tech types hereabouts) feel the temptation.
We’ve always been independent sorts around here. We avoid being messed with by power trippers. If we can’t avoid, we “mess back.” But right now, there’s nothing we can do to counter the electronic offenses being committed against us and against freedom by the UberGoverment whose all-probing eye peers out from Mordor on the Potomac.
Oh, sure, we can play the old “keyword” game with our emails. (There’s even a new Firefox/Chrome browser add-on to let us do the same thing with URLs and HTTP headers now.) That’s fun. And it’s always true that irritating and misdirecting the bastards is worthwile, even (or perhaps especially) as tyranny grows. We can also use GPG, dump Windows for Linux, use TOR, etc. etc. etc. And eventually heroic tech wizards may save us — and the Internet — from NSAuron.
But now …? Now …? Now we seem to be faced with using dodges that may or may not help or simply shrugging and going on because, realistically, there’s not much else to do. So …
Would you quit the Internet? If so, what would you do instead? If not, how do you adapt to knowing that everything you do online (or on the phone) is probably recorded and analyzed, even if it then disappears into the maw of a datacenter’s godzillabyte storage capacity, never to be seen again?
Now, that said, I’m “quitting the Internet” for the next three days. I may pop in to post some cute dog pictures tomorrow, and I’ll check in to moderate comments at least once a day. Otherwise, I’m away for a bit from the Bad News Net.
Besides describing in good and useful detail how to build an ad hoc solar power system (Joel created his for just $350), it describes how not to do it (e.g. don’t do it like Joel did with the first system he scrounged together). It also shows larger, more professional systems created by five of his desert-rat neighbors.
As you may know, Joel and I were desert neighbors for a while. During that time, I helped redesign one badly built power system (with tons of help from people smarter and more experienced than I) and I accompanied Joel through the beginnings of his own first experiments in solar power.
So I know that this book is accurate and lucid in what it describes. If you have a weekend place, a retreat-on-a-budget location, an RV that you want to retrofit for solar — or anything else that might use a small, DIY solar power setup — Joel’s little book could help.
Joel is careful not to call himself any sort of expert. But he’s definitely been there and done that.
Better yet, the book is well-written, well-organized — and often very funny. If you like the pithy, irreverent way Joel writes on his blog, you’ll enjoy the book even if (like me now) you live in a place where people have to look “sun” up on Wikipedia to remind ourselves that it’s that big yellow blob that other lucky people have in their sky.