Monthly Archives: September 2016

Whalenado of Energy Savings from Biomimicry

This Winds-day’s Amazon product is a whale costume, Rasta Imposta Killer Whale, Black/White, One Size.

Perhaps you think this is nostalgia for Songs Of The Humpbacked Whale.

From Wikipedia: Songs of the Humpback Whale (album)

Songs of the Humpback Whale is a 1970 album produced by bio-acoustician Roger Payne. It publicly demonstrated for the first time the elaborate whale vocalizations of Humpbacks, and became the bestselling environmental album in history, selling over 100,000 copies. By raising awareness of the intelligence and culture of whales the album helped spawn a worldwide ”Save The Whales” movement, leading to the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment 10-year global moratorium on commercial whaling (observed by all but a few nations).

Holy Harpoon, Batman!

More importantly, the top selling album led to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

And maybe it led to the recent publication of this Think Like A Tree video, What Can a Humpback Whale Teach a Wind Turbine?, also embedded below. Word of the day: “Tubercles.”

The story may still be around, but the whalepower website is in disarray, with no sign of activity on the windpower generation front. What happened to that? [Update: Seems there is some activity from licensee TEG this year, The Energy Generators – Products.]

Other applications, such as fans using the design, have found a big market with Whale-Power mentioned but under the Whalenado name, Whalenado Product Features.

One of the earliest news articles (2007), from The Toronto Star, local to the Whalepower inventor, has a detailed description of the technology’s benefits and a good answer to why the concept hasn’t taken off for generating power, A Whale of a Tale.

But even if WhalePower can prove beyond a doubt that its blade design is better, it doesn’t necessarily ensure success. Wind-turbine manufacturers can’t keep up with demand for current product, so there’s little incentive to dramatically alter the design of their blades – at least not yet. There’s also no incentive for banks to lend money to wind-farm projects taking a risk on a new blade design.

… [comparison to semiconductor business] …

WhalePower’s hope of retrofitting existing turbine blades – an estimated $50 billion worth around the world – could also prove a tough sell. Adler says retrofitting a blade with tubercles would void the warranty. “Who’s going to take that chance?”

Think about the timing, McFly. 2007 is when Whalepower begins making the eco circuit as a windpower breakthrough. The next year, the global money system fell into chaos. It’s reasonable to assume that money for speculative enterprises blew away in the non-gentle financial breeze.

[Update: Again, seems like there is some recent commercial activity, based on this news item, TEG News about Whalepower license.]

Dear Occupant or President

This Two’s-day is about the relationship between um, our wonderful government here in the United States of America and the citizens who are represented in this great Republic.

Now, there are some anarchists out there who might say it’s really a parasitic gang of thieves and murderers protecting aggressors and thwarting justice, but let’s not “should” our rulers to death. (“Should” term stolen from The Simpsons‘ Brad Goodman self-help guru character, but not used in the following clip, Adjusting Your Self-O-Stat (The Simpsons)).

These malcontents would probably agree with the late, great George Carlin about elections, George Carlin – Why I Don’t Vote.

Dilbert creator Scott Adams’ latest book is How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.

Dilbert creator Scott Adams on Bill Maher's show.

Anywho, Scott Adams was on Bill Maher’s show explaining Donald J. Trump’s success in the primary and Adams’ prediction of Trump’s victory in the general election, Real Time with Bill Maher: Dilbert Creator Scott Adams (HBO), also embedded below. Since that show, Adams has switched his endorsement from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, and explains it in this blog post, Why I Switched My Endorsement from Clinton to Trump.

For supporters of Secretary Clinton or other candidates who are thrilled that The Donald did not seem as detailed and logical as Hillary, this too shall pass. Believe me. This is Huge. Not the details, reason, and logic part– but probably the winning part. Oh well.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Michael Moore, Michael Moore melts down on Twitter after debate: ‘It’s over’.

Radioactive Pottery from the Future Past

This Mound-day takes us beyond some stars, to another world with a volcano and savage primitives. And some bad travelers from Earth. But first, some literary and scientific history.

Classic Jules Verne stories, From the Earth to the Moon & Around the Moon (Wordsworth Classics)

Quotes by Tsiolkovsky

“The Earth is the cradle of mankind, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.”

“I do not remember how it got into my head to make the first calculations related to rocket. It seems to me the first seeds were planted by famous fantaseour, J. Verne.”

“First, inevitably, the idea, the fantasy, the fairy tale. Then, scientific calculation. Ultimately, fulfillment crowns the dream.”

From, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky: Russian Father of Rocketry.
Konstantin Tsiolkosky O'Neil Cylinder

I was listening to a 1950 episode of a science fiction radio show, Dimension X, on Sirius XM during my commute, and thought a plot point using uranium based color on pottery to defuse an atom bomb standoff was ridiculous. Much as I enjoy Spider-Man, it sounded crazy, like getting superpowers from a radioactive spider bite.

Since my listening to the show was interrupted by refueling, I searched for the episode online when I got home, found it on YouTube as audio over a still frame in a video format… The video was taken down, but the audio for Episode 17 is on the following list and can be played from there, I also found something surprising during that search.

Radioactive material was indeed used to make bright colored pottery! How Radioactive Is Fiesta Ware? Would You Eat Off It?

Also, now we’re getting closer to warp drive. The theoretical basis has changed from being completely impractical due to excessive power requirements to something plausible. The first modest experiments are being done now. At an estimated 10 times the speed of light, some stars could eventually be only a few weeks away. Can we finally break the speed of light? Nasa breakthrough suggests Star Trek’s ‘warp drives’ may not only be possible – but practical.

One aspect of classic radio is how non-politically-correct it gets sometimes. In this case, alien natives are referred to as “gooks” by a stern boss from Earth. I bet you’re wondering if that insensitive fellow gets his comeuppance.

Episode 17 – The Potters Of Firsk.

First broadcast 28 July, 1950.

Stars Karl Weber, Wendell Holmes and Raymond Edward Johnson.

Dimension X was an NBC radio program broadcast from April 8, 1950 to September 29, 1951. The first 13 episodes were broadcast live, and the remainder were pre-recorded.

Dimension X was not the first adult science fiction series on radio, but the acquisition of previously published stories immediately gave it a strong standing with the science fiction community, as did the choice of well established, respected writers in the field such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Fredric Brown, Robert A. Heinlein, Murray Leinster, H. Beam Piper, Frank M. Robinson, Clifford D. Simak, William Tenn, Jack Vance, Kurt Vonnegut, Jack Williamson and Donald A. Wollheim.

Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts adapted most of the stories and also provided original scripts.

In this episode, ‘The Potters of Firsk’, written by Jack Vance and adapted by Ernest Kinoy, a liaison officer from Earth is caught between a steely planetary administrator and a fanatical alien cult who kidnap and murder people to use as raw materials for their sacred pottery.

Visit – the sci-fi blog covering audio, literature, TV & film.

The video was taken down, but the audio for Episode 17 is on the following list and can be played from there,

Commercial Solar Oven Focus on Solavore

This Sun-day’s Amazon product is also demonstrated cooking chicken and apple crisp dessert and holding them at temperature until dinnertime in a video by LDSPrepper, embedded at the bottom of this post.

. Sold by etailz and Fulfilled by Amazon in easy-to-open packaging. Gift-wrap available.
. #1 customer rated Solar Oven on Amazon – easy to use, portable, and durable
. 100% Solar: point the solar oven at the sun and you’re ready to go
. Made in USA: from design to manufacture
. Easy to use – cook, slow cook, and bake year round with included all-season solar reflectors
. The perfect solar oven, whether you’re baking cookies in your backyard or slow cooking a batch of our Solavore Chili while camping

Solavore probably gets its name from a play on locavore, eater of local food instead of stuff with lots of travel miles, which is already a play on the traditional carnivore, herbivore and omnivore terms.

On a day with frost on the ground in the morning and wind, the “pre-heated” Solavore is already at 225F without the reflectors, which he only uses when it’s below freezing temp outside.

Pre-heated Solavore about to receive chicken and dessert pots for cooking
Solavore Sport Solar Oven – Portable Solar Cooking Package Complete with All Season Solar Reflectors, 2 Granite Ware Pots, Oven Thermometer, and Water Pasteurization Tool

Other popular solar ovens include the All American and GoSun designs at similar price points. They have their advocates and we’ll look at them in future posts. But for now, LDSPrepper puts the Solavore to good use in the video, EASY Shredded Chicken Solar Oven Recipe, and demonstrates some indispensable extra items available for the oven in another video, The Two Hottest Items Since Solar Ovens.

AMAZING FLAVOR, CHEAP & EASY! This is the way to make a delicious dinner. Put three ingredients in a pot, set it outside in the Solavore solar oven and go about your day with no worries. Because dinner is being cooked while you take care of business. But don’t forget dessert! I also made my favorite Apple Crisp recipe. Our dinner guest loved the food and we had plenty of leftovers for a week.

– $40 Discount Code: Code: Prepared
– Mom’s Apple Crisp Recipe:

The video is also embedded below.

Using Satellites When HF (Shortwave) Is Down

This Sat-ellite-urday product ships from and is sold by From the description ((with notes)).

Baofeng at eBay

High / Low Power Settings (4W/1W) Programmable Amateur Radio

Frequency Range: 65-108 MHz (Only commercial FM radio reception) VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx)
((You can listen to FM while waiting for communications))

Customize Channel Names, the Boot Display and More by Using the PC03 FTDI Programming Cable

1500mAh Battery; Broadband (Wide) 25khz / Narrowband (Narrow) 12.5khz Selectable

AUTO Keypad Lock, Dual Band, Dual Display and Dual Standby

The radio works great on direct simplex, on local repeater systems, some of which may have Echolink and similar internet voice connections, and you can work satellites. All this on such a cheap device without a phone bill. Welcome to amateur (ham) radio.

Baofeng radio vhf/uhf transceiver
BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio (Black)

Last Sat-ellite-urday, we covered using HF (shortwave) when satellites were unavailable, and presumably phones and internet, too. This week, let’s say phones and internet are off, maybe simply because the power is down, but the “atmospherics” on the shortwave bands are also not favorable. This was a problem before satellites, mentioned in movies about Pearl Harbor, for example.

Even in an EMP scenario, if you wrapped protected gear in cardboard and aluminum foil (seriously!), satellites might have been safe on the other side of the globe and are just now passing overhead for you to use.

Description of the video, First contact via amateur radio satellite, also embedded below, from Christian Jacobs‘ YouTube channel:

“In this video I make my first amateur radio satellite contact via SO-50 (145.850 MHz uplink, 436.795 MHz downlink +/- Doppler shift,”

“The new Yagi antenna was made from aluminium rods (6 mm in diameter). Measurements were calculated using John Drew (VK5DJ)’s Yagi Calculator program (, which runs fine under Wine in Linux. The radio is a Baofeng UV-5R, connected to the antenna by some RG-58 50 Ohm coax and a PL-259 plug.”

“The Gpredict program ( was used to predict the satellite pass time.”
Interesting note: This is one of the few YouTube videos to select the Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed).

3D Printed Guns Not Protected Sez Court

The Amazon product this Free-day isn’t free as in beer, but frees you to put your phone in the one place in your dwelling that gets a good cell signal and lets you talk anywhere on the device acting as a portable speakerphone. Also, listen to music.

Our smallest portable speaker with a convenient silicon handle for hanging
Connects to any Bluetooth-enabled device from up to 30 feet (10 meters) away
Works with Bluetooth-enabled devices including Android and iPhone, iPad, tablets, smartphones, iPods, and MP3/MP4 players
Up to 6 hours of playback on a single charge; full charge takes 2 hours; Splash-resistant design
Built-in mic for making phone calls; power and volume-control buttons; USB charging cable included

AmazonBasics Nano Bluetooth Speaker – Blue. Or spend more money on a cell signal booster.

The speaker also comes in black or yellow optional colors, but since it’s bluetooth, here it’s blue.

Come and Take It by Cody Wilson
Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free

Ars Technica reported that a U.S. court ruled that Defense Distributed’s 3D printed gun designs were not protected by the first amendment, Court: With 3D printer gun files, national security interest trumps free speech.

Other people are testing 3D printed pistols, including for example, “Guy in a garage”, Songbird 3D Printed Pistol – .357 Magnum REPAIRED!, also embedded below.

Using LFTR to Clean Water, Cure Cancer, & Produce Energy

The Amazon product for this Thor’s-day, the 22nd (pulled the trigger early), which is usually Thirst-day around here, is a book that caused a stir in the environmentalist movement when it appeared, Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, RestoredWildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary.

This talk at the Long Now Foundation, Re-Thinking Green (MP3) describes some of the controversial positions advocated by the author and Whole Earth creator, Stewart Brand.

In English, Thursday actually originates with Thor’s Day.

Says Wikipedia, “The name is derived from Old English Þūnresdæg and Middle English Thuresday (with loss of -n-, first in northern dialects, from influence of Old Norse Þorsdagr) meaning “Thor’s Day”.It was named after the Norse god of Thunder.”

This Thor’s-day we’re looking at Thorium as the solution to several problems.

Might Thorium Humor Poster

Rusty Towell, if that is his real name, gave a sobering talk at TEDxACU about the conditions of life for impoverished third world people you’d expect from a Christian missionary man, except he also makes a compelling case for the safe use of Thorium nuclear energy to make power, clean water, and cure cancer.

See Why making energy from dirt might save the world | Rusty Towell | TEDxACU, also embedded below.

Trolls & Tribulations for Missouri Wind & Solar

There seems to be a lower price on the Thames & Kosmos Wind Power 2.0 Amazon product this Winds-day. From the description:

“Gift-wrap available.”
“Electricity generating turbines”
“Build wind powered generators to energize your electric vehicles and charge your rechargeable batteries (permakent: in theory)”
“Kit includes two styles of wind turbine blades and a gearbox with three different gear ratios for experimenting.”
“Explore this amazing free source of renewable energy”
“Kit comes with everything you need”

I bet Jeff Harmon at Missouri Wind and Solar, who has a popular YouTube channel for the topic, wishes it had a troll repeller. Some folks had been tormenting him on the Internet, perhaps because of foreign trade issues? See Jeff talk about it last December,

Click for related page at Atari Mania

Also see Jeff visit one of his suppliers, Missouri Wind and Solar visits Helios America Solar Panel Factory, a manufacturer in the United States.

For home windpower newbies, Jeff explains the basics, Wind turbines for the beginner How to part one by Missouri Wind and Solar (also embedded below):

Drama In Social Media Video Land (Demonetization)

The Two’s-day (relationships, as opposed to travel To’s-day) Amazon product is a pre-order of the Kindle edition of Lilly Singh’s new book, How To Be A Bawse.

Her YouTube channel is approaching 10 million subscribers, so she might be able to learn you somethin’.

Before we get back to Lilly Singh’s advice for starting a YouTube channel, let’s look at the latest kerfuffle between YouTube and some creators, for example on Computing Forever’s channel, YouTube Demonetization: Why I Disagree with Armoured Skeptic (explicit language), in which the pretext of “advertiser friendliness” is claimed to cover up an agenda of outrageous bias, censorship and arbitrary disabling of monetized ads on disfavored channels. One remedy suggested is using Patreon is get fan subscribers to monetize videos.

I know some very high traffic YouTube gun channels, such as hickok45, have established a new presence on a gun friendly video platform,

Many YouTube creators have advice videos. For example, another creator, Alisha Marie, How to Start a Successful Youtube Channel!! recommends cameras, editing software, and content tips.

Because of her great success, Lilly “The Bawse” was asked by film star Dwayne Johnson for advice on starting a YouTube channel, How To Be a YouTube Star (ft. The Rock). The actor provides a different type of drama from the recent YouTube controversy.

Farmscrapers Stack Agriculture to the Sky

This Mound-day’s Amazon link is to a book by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and professor of microbiology and public health in environmental health sciences at Columbia University, where he was a multiple Best Teacher award winner, Dr. Dickson Despommier.

It’s a Library Journal Best Book of 2010, with diverse endorsements ranging from The Huffington Post to Businessworld, even including Sting, who raved, “A world-changing innovation whose time has come. This visionary book provides a blueprint for securing the world’s food supply and at the same time solving one of the greatest environmental crises facing us today.”

The book is The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century

Popular “vlog bro,” Hank Green, posted an article at Eco Geek in 2009 about plans for a Manhattan high rise vertical farm, New Skyscraper Farm Mimics Nature.

Dystopian Farm vertical growth.
Inhabitat: Spiraling Skyscraper Farms for a Future Manhattan.

More recently, plans for a green skyfarm are being made in China, according to this video from Vidello Productions, Shenzen Farmscrapers Tower Concept Design, also embedded below.

Solar Crock Pot and Mirror Progress Report

Last Sun-day’s post, Cheap Concave Makeup Mirror Fire Starter, promised a video of the Amazon product on order.

It arrived, and the first test, still attached to the package, was successful. A water bottle I brought outside as a fire extinguisher with the makeup mirror became the target of a brief, but devastating attack of concentrated sunlight.

The result wasn’t very dramatic. I didn’t notice any smoke, but the label on the Arrowhead bottle had no paper covering the plastic where the sun’s image was focused, however briefly. A silent killer.

The magnifying mirror still attached to its packaging fit into regular size pockets better than the magnifying lens, normally used for reading, because of its lens handle.

Swissco suction cup mirror. 20x magnification, 3 1/2” diameter Colors May Vary

I work weekends, so during my days off I’ll do the video I promised to make fire and smoke, and you can go to the Academy next year. Wait, what? Never mind.

I’ve tried solar cooking with found junk at the compound, such as a space blanket, black travel coffee mug, meat thermometer in the water and sometimes got OK temperatures near 160 F after sealing the mug from cooling wind inside a gallon double seal plastic bag thingie. Which of course soon fogged up and blocked the sunlight. I would not judge it to be the most convenient or effective solar cooking setup ever.

supergokue1 found a better way after some experimentation, still using found common items, Solar oven from dollar store items. (also embedded below).

HF Radio When The Satellites Are Unavailable

This Sat-urday, my selected Amazon product is one of several books about Arduino and ham radio. ARRL has some good recent entries into this subject, too.

This one includes automatic Morse code decoding that I’ve used in an earlier form, mutated, and built with an added keyboard to send signals as well.

The author of the program published in the book, Budd Churchward, has an elegant, easy to assemble kit available with all the parts, or you could order bare printed circuit boards from OSH Park, Smoke Testing the Morseduino 2.

I’m also looking at a Hackaday article by Al Williams published today, Wilderness Radio Build, which features a built from scratch 20 meter transceiver, with video of its operation accompanied by a cat seeking attention.

Newer designs are using Software Defined Radio to control sending and receiving, sometimes standalone from a computer, such as this homebrew QRP (Reduced Power – usually 5 watts or less) transceiver QSO AE2B – PD5DJ/QRP with MCHF SDR Transceiver (embedded below). Shortwave (a.k.a. “HF” high frequency) can get your signal out of the local area when satellites are inaccessible for any reason.

3D Printing Glass From Sand in Morocco

The Fry-day Amazon product is a low cost 3D printer that uses plant based bioplastic filament, PLA, to build objects by adding layers on top of layers.

The user interface to do this is simpler these days. It got a good review at Hackaday, Review: Monoprice MP Select Mini 3D Printer. The author was impressed that such a low priced 3D printer can use standard G-code and doesn’t require special filament.

It supports ABS and other materials as well.

From the description, “Ready to Print: Unlike most other low-cost 3D printers, this printer ships fully assembled and has already been calibrated at the factory. We even include sample PLA filament and a MicroSD card with preinstalled models, so you can start printing right out of the box!”

Back in 2011, a “Solar Sinter” was shown making 3D printed glass objects directly from sand in Egypt using a solar powered computer to focus sunlight as the process.

Here’s our blog post about it from that time,

An updated version of the Solar Sinter uses finer sand in Morocco and a new computer design to produce objects with more definition.

See the latest video, Solar Sinter – Image Studios, also embedded below.

When Outdoor Water Is Your Only Source

The Thirst-day product from Amazon is one of the Sawyer water filters described in the embedded video below about how to purify water while hiking.

Here’s a doomsday scenario that might motivate you to action. If the money went bad in your nation, a portable filter and outdoor source might be the only safe water when your stored supply is used up.

In that case, unpaid government workers will have something better to do with their time than trying to cater to your needs–they’ll be scavenging food and stuff for their own families. You might have an extended time trying to secure water, power, waste removal of all types, and groceries with your worthless currency. Clean air, shelter from excess heat or cold, and drinking water are your most urgent needs to survive.

Good luck if you live in a desert environment like much of Southern Nevada, USA. Maybe you’d have to drill a well by hand and manually pump from an underground aquifer. That takes some tools and skills beyond most people. Right now, you might want to investigate rainwater catchment and more storage capacity if you have room on your land, while you still have some purchasing power.

Perhaps the easy water for strapped desert dwellers without a functioning market would be squeezing fluid from wild plants. That’s something I’ll look into for a future post.

For now, I’m assuming you have a natural water source within a reasonable travel distance. Of course, fuel is another commodity that would get scarce and water is heavy. No money, more problems. “You won’t be on welfare and heck, there’s no health care.” Maybe getting safe water when there’s no doctor doesn’t seem like such a frivolous activity with the proper paranoia. Here’s a recent YouTube video from Outdoor Adventures titled, “Beginner Backpacking Part 6 – Water Treatment and Storage.”

EMP Resistant Wind and Solar Power System

The Winds-day product from Amazon to the left is an educational wind power demonstrator that will let the little scientists in your life experiment with energy from thin air, if it’s moving a bit.

The Solar Ark company has systems of varying sizes to keep most of your appliances going, even after an otherwise devastating EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack. A high altitude nuclear detonation wouldn’t cause much damage to buildings and people, but could take out your nation’s electrical grid.

Don’t expect the Solar Ark system to handle your washer/dryer, but it supports some heating and air conditioning. (As Paul Wheaton pointed out in the 2013 video from yesterday’s post, just using an old style incandescent light bulb can heat you up while it gives off light.) A fan uses a tenth of the energy compared to a window air conditioner.

These days an EMP attack could be accomplished by any number of adversaries, such as Iran, North Korea, or even ISIS. Here’s a dramatic, well produced video series about the electrical grid vulnerability in the U.S. from NRA News, “The Fight For Light.” It’s narrated by Lt Col Oliver North, well known energy expert (just kidding), but credible military fellow: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This series has the most detail about the threats to the grid and attack aftermath scenario that I’ve seen. Physical attacks have taken place, multiple times at the same location, even after security was beefed up, leading analysts to assume that a disciplined group was at work, especially since they’ve never been caught.

In case you think a pro-gun-rights source is making it up, here’s a report from MSNBC and USA TODAY working together, advocates of gun restrictions, noting a similar threat, “The Threat Against America’s Power Grid.” They suggest getting prepped with information from FEMA.

Getting back to wind power, and on a big scale, the embedded video below, from The Daily Conversation, is described at YouTube, “Offshore wind farms can stop hurricanes, according to a recent study. We could also use them to power all of America.”

Paul Wheaton Preaches Permaculture (Explicit Language)

Paul Wheaton preaches it in this 2013 keynote talk to the S. California Permaculture Convergence (video also embedded below).

The Self Reliance Mastery book from Amazon here contains a contribution by Wheaton. He also has DVDs and books for sale at

The talk introduces dozens of permaculture related applications, presented to a good crowd in an actual church, where he nonetheless throws out expletives with abandon. (Some call him “The Bad Boy of Permaculture.”)

I’ve been a fan for years. He’s been a frequent guest on Jack Spirko’s The Survival Podcast. Paul’s own empire includes (information and forums) and (more media and products).

For libertarians, the talk includes how to build durable homes for hardly any money, which in itself avoids taxes, and avoiding “suck minimum wage jobs,” and if you don’t like Monsanto, frackers or other bad actors–he strongly suggests you don’t give them money!!! Forget idiotic protests. Wheaton gets a lot of hate comments for some of his controversial positions including his emphasis on permaculture techniques instead of the religious and political cult associated with it. He expresses the heretical hope permaculture farmers make more money than the ones that follow Monsanto.

Let Paul Wheaton’s sermon begin. Try not to laugh and amazingly, you might learn somethin’. Again, trigger warning! Explicit language and new ideas.

New Link Found for BBC’s “A Farm For The Future”

Organic gardening is often portrayed as an unproductive labor-intensive hobby for hippies. This Mound-day takes us to the UK.

A great BBC documentary with beautiful photography of wildlife and scenery, which I had linked to for years on my personal blog, had disappeared from YouTube. See it now on DailyMotion, or embedded below.

The documentary includes interesting methods of reducing labor while at the same time also reducing the need for petroleum, fertilizers, and pesticides.

A variety of grass species allows cattle to graze through the winter without baling hay, the most energy intensive part of ranching.

Most impressive and gratifying for me is the illustration of forest gardening with local examples and expert commentary by the likes of Patrick Whitefield on the subject, author of How to Make a Forest Garden

While the threat shown is “peak oil,” petroleum becoming scarce because of dwindling supplies (and a farming industry with many farmers past normal retirement age), my opinion is that we’re facing “peak money,” which would yield a similar result of shortages due to a busted economy. I also agree that someone will have to do the frickin’ farming! It better be a low labor activity if you expect a new generation to take up the slack.

A Farm For The Future. Hello, old friend!

A Farm For The Future – Documentary by ChannelHub

Cheap Concave Makeup Mirror Fire Starter

Today is the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attack, so airplanes in trouble are on my mind. It’s also “Sun-day” for this blog. Before I get to the practical fire starting benefits of a cheap makeup mirror, here’s a video answer to a common question to GREENPOWERSCIENCE about parabolic mirrors melting airplanes or blinding pilots, “GIANT parabolic SATELLITE solar dish cannot blind a pilot.”

(Spoiler alert: You’ll cause more problems with a flat signal mirror, and probably go to jail messing around with a laser pointer, although in putting together yesterday’s post about getting rescued with updated PLB radios, I discovered that special laser flares are legal.)

Now to the title subject of starting a fire with a cheap makeup mirror. A fire in the wilderness is useful to survival. It can keep you warm, purify water (if done properly, see Does Boiling Always Make Water Safe To Drink?), or cook your food. Here’s David West, an expert in primitive fire starting techniques who nonetheless realizes that some regular EDC (every day carry) items make it more possible for n00bs like me to get a fire started. In the following video, he accomplishes it using a makeup mirror he found at WalMart, Solar Ignition With a Concave Mirror aka Makeup Mirror (embedded below).

I ordered the Swissco product from Amazon shown above. The Sun-day after it arrives I’ll post my own video reporting its success or failure for fire starting.

Get Found if you Get Lost

I’ve previously posted about the virtues of using the aviation guard band rescue frequency of 121.5 MHz VHF, Non-Ham Radio Options for Being Rescued.

While I mentioned 406 MHz in passing, it turns out there have been important developments in recent years. The 121.5 channel is no longer monitored by satellite because of false alarms caused by inadvertent activations and interfering signals from a number of consumer appliances. So if you’re stranded somewhere without overhead air traffic and can’t move far, you can look forward to facing your final destiny.

The 406 MHz personal locator beacons are monitored these days, as described in this top viewed video (embedded below) while searching YouTube for the term “PLB.”

Signal mirrors during the day are great (the right ones are, if used properly), but they don’t work very well at night. Maybe during the full moon? Probably not. It seems that there are legal laser rescue flares that create a vertical line instead of a blinding dot for search and rescue pilots to see at night or even during the day.

All this information is demonstrated with excellent advice that reminds me of the first rule of gunfighting, “Have a gun.” In a safe or drawer somewhere isn’t going to help much if you’re suddenly confronted by an attacker. Similarly, in the context of a plane forced landing, the laser flare, mirror, and PLB won’t do you much good in an inaccessible or destroyed cargo hold. These are items to have on your person.

Promises and Threats from Young Blood

Steven P. Novella, MD, the editor and founder of Science Based Medicine, has published an article, Parabiosis – The Next Snakeoil, anticipating a rush of quacks chasing dollars from rich or desperate patients seeking the latest miracle cure. He probably also doubts the many benefits of snake cartilage.

My only criticism of these Skeptical Inquisitors (I like Robert Anton Wilson, so… DON’T sue me. Thanks.) is their lobbying for government regulation of medical treatments they view as illogical, dangerous, or ineffective. They attack your right to try ingesting used kitty litter to cure fatal illnesses! Fascists.

Good libertarian Peter Thiel was the subject of a snarky hit piece (as I read it), about his interest in parabiosis, Peter Thiel Is Very, Very Interested in Young People’s Blood. San Francisco “bureau chief” Jeff Bercovici was really going for the jugular in this first line, “More than anything, Peter Thiel, the billionaire technology investor and Donald Trump supporter, wants to find a way to escape death.” I watched reruns of that Quinn Martin show, The Immortal.

Finally, let me mention another libertarian comrade, Dr. Tarrin P. Lupo, D.C. (take that, MDs), who published a science fiction novel about disruption by newly rich youngsters when parabiosis turns out to be really for real.

Since this kind of research was in the news recently, Lupo spoke about it on YouTube, Did I Predict the Future? Will Young Blood be The Next Anti-Aging Secret?.

Aquaponics Startup in South Africa

Here’s a notable aquaponics story this Thirst-day. A 13-year-old girl from north of Pretoria, South Africa runs a promising aquaponics startup while still in school as shown in this inspiring video from October, 2015. On the Expresso Show.

Rikalize Reinecke employs assistants to care for the fish and check the system while she’s in class. Challenges include electricity, water quality testing, and temperature control.

From the YouTube video narration, “Not yet in high school, Rikalize is leading the way, showing that age is no barrier to success.”