Cheering for the Underdog

This video is about an amazing robot. A technician deliberately tries to defeat the bot by giving him unexpected new situations to deal with. I found myself cheering for the bot, and hoping he would kick the technicians ass, instead the bot does an amazingly smart thing. You will not be sorry you watched this video. You are looking at your future job replacement. The upside is the world will need millions of bot mechanics to keep them going.

I Love Learning New Words

An increase in energy level from E 1 to E 2 re...

An increase in energy level from E 1 to E 2 resulting from absorption of a photon represented by the red squiggly arrow, and whose energy = h (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Low energy is one of the symptoms of low-T. My T must be very low because my energy level is near zero. Sometimes, when I get this way I take a walk to get the blood moving. Three miles is what I stepped off this afternoon, but it drained me further. I’ll rehydrate to see if that works. Even typing drains me. I came across a new word in an e-mail from a friend. It says it all.

Word of the Day

Fisker Electric Invades 1850’s Frankfort

I received a rude awakening this evening and I lost a bet too. After supper, I mounted my trusty Gold Rush recumbent bicycle and gave my legs some punishment. Since I haven’t ridden seriously in several years I am limiting my rides to five or ten miles. This evening I rode to the library and from there into town. The total distance logged was 4.5 miles. I would have ridden further except for an unusual sighting. As I passed the Grainery building on the Old Plank Trail I spied an unusually beautiful sports car. I passed by a few feet when the old “what’s wrong with this picture” mechanism went off in my head. I stopped to go back and take pictures. What was wrong? The car was plugged in to an outlet. The Village of Frankfort decided to be the first village with a public charging space for all-electric cars. That’s how I lost the bet. When I first learned of the Village decision to install the charging station, I bet a friend that it would never be used, and our tax dollars wasted.

I parked the bike and started snapping pictures with my smart phone. Then I heard someone call  my name. I looked up to see an old Folks on Spokes friend whom I haven’t seen in eight years. We stood admiring the car. Bernie is a Science teacher and is very pro green movement. He lectured me on how this car is the future of our country. I lectured back to him that it will be at least another hundred years before the electric car is practical enough to want one. He argued back about the new product curve. Yes, new products follow a cost vs volume curve that is very flat when a product is introduced, but as sales continue, the volume curve begins to slope up, the price begins coming down and the curve gets steeper. Eventually, we all have  one of the products and they are so cheap no one can afford to make them except in third world countries where labor goes for eighteen cents an hour. As we argued the merits pro and con for the electrics a man walked up and unplugged the car.

“Are you the owner,” I asked him.

“Yes I am,” he announced proudly.

“You can thank me now,” I replied.

“Why.”

“Because my tax dollars went toward building your Finnish car.”

“Oh, they didn’t go toward this one, they are going into a new model that hasn’t been built yet.”

The discussion went on for another fifteen minutes. I learned the car can get this guy all the way to the Sears Tower in Chicago (35 miles) where he works, but he needs a charge to get home(the total all-electric range is fifty miles) . If he runs out of juice a small gas-powered engine turns on and runs a generator to charge the batteries.

“How much does it weigh?” I asked.

“Fifty-five hundred pounds. It really rides nice and solid.”

Just before he got in to pull away he offered that I am getting hit twice, because Frankfort uses an honor system to collect for the electricity he used to charge.

The charging station has pictures of all the major credit cards on it, but no collection slot to swipe the card.

“I have an APP for that,”

He just made me want to run right out and buy one of these suckers. My friend Bernie will probably do it.

“There is probably an MP3 player feeding a V8 rumble noise to bystanders,I said.

“Naw,” said Bernie, “they make a whirring sound.”

The Fisker whirred out of the lot and into the night. I wonder if he will make it home now that he has to use headlights?

Finnish Electric Car

Fisker

Electric Car Charging Station in 1850’s Frankfort

Muslims Committing Acts of Love

A peace loving group of muslims who should be dipped into a vat of liquid nitrogen along with their books, and then bashed with a sledge hammer.

view?i=f03_1330829653&p=1

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f03_1330829653&p=1

view?i=f03_1330829653&p=1

Wind is the Future, Gas is the Past

Let’s hang our hats on millions of propellers screaming in the breeze to push kilowatts of power into the electrical grid. In the mean time, how about if we hang a flame under President Obama’s ass to light the gas-flame of optimism he exudes for the wonderful new energy scheme into which he is investing our tax money. I hope he invests his personal 401K into wind power too, but my bet is that he owns Exxon.

While Obama counts money from his investments, let us ask the EPA to bury the corpses of dead birds before the Audubon Society wakes up.

In a link below the article brags about how the country of Denmark gets almost half its electrical needs from wind power. What they fail to tell us is that the population of Denmark is 5.5 million which makes Denmark smaller than Chicago, a relatively mid-size town in America. The USA can do that too, let’s be like Denmark, yeah!

Here are some photos to ponder. Have you seen any of these in the news?

Thanks for these great pics Rich.

Where Does it Leave Us?

It's Always More Fun to Gamble With Someone Else's Money

The US Energy Policy is so easily solved it is a wonder why the genius liberal think tank in the White House cannot figure it out. With all the PhD intellectual types in positions of csardom they do not have enough practical thinking to fill the brain cavity of an ant. Before I propose my plan I want to review the wonderful new ideas proposed by the PhD’s to direct the country toward clean renewable energy sources.

Wind Power

According to Wikipedia,

“The wind wheel of the Greek engineer Heron of Alexandria in the 1st century AD is the earliest known instance of using a wind-driven wheel to power a machine.”

That places this idea at over two thousand years old. Modern man is just beginning to realize the potential for using the wind to generate electricity. Is it practical? Yes, if you limit the idea to powering homes with electricity. Scaling up to power the entire need of a metropolitan city is another matter. The best that we can do today is to use wind power at peak periods to aid more conventional power generation. Environmentalists love the idea of using this “free” and clean commodity to solve our problems. They neglect to see the environmental disaster being created by the wind turbines batting birds from the sky by the thousands. How environmentally friendly is that Greenbats?

So why doesn’t the White House PhD army propose an incentive for homeowners to buy wind turbines for their homes?  It isn’t proposed for many reasons, cost is one, another is what to do with over-generation, another is the amount of noise pollution that will irritate the neighbors. If everybody had a wind turbine, the noise factor would be equalized right? Wrong, I believe Obama care would be overwhelmed by the cost of replacing hearing aid batteries for all the deaf people created by the turbine noise.

Electric cars

The first known invention of an electric car came in 1828 from Hungarian inventor Anyos Jedlik. The world went crazy for the idea and by the early 1900’s there were many electric cars running around. The range was about eighteen miles. The new Chevy Volt and others like it get about forty miles on a charge. To my way of thinking if batteries have doubled the range of an electric car in a mere one hundred and eighty-four years we will have viable electric cars in the year 2564. Perhaps the genius White House pool of PhD’s will pull a break through out of the hat and create a miracle.

Flywheels

James Watt (Watt as in 60 watt bulbs) the Scottish inventor developed steam-powered generation of electricity in 1781 and he gets credit for inventing the flywheel. Flywheels are great for keeping the mass of a piston engine rotating through a complete power cycle. More recently, the Obama administration invested in this idea, already two hundred and thirty-one years old, as a way to store energy. Excess electrical energy that is generated during off-peak hours would be used to spin a flywheel. The energy stored in the spinning wheel would then be used to support the steam turbines during peak hours. Again, I’m not a PhD but common sense tells me that a flywheel large enough to store the kind of energy needed to power a city is scary, especially when it is spinning fast. There are some applications using flywheels to store energy toward a useful end. One is powering city buses. Normal driving between stops stores surplus energy in the flywheel. When the bus accelerates from a stop, energy from the flywheel helps the engine overcome inertia.

Solar Power

A huge amount of energy flows to earth from the sun, and solar power makes sense. In Arizona I saw model homes with solar roofs offered as an option. The solar panels cut the cost of energy in a modest thousand square foot home by seventy-nine percent, that sounds good doesn’t it?  Climatologists use a measure called percent sunshine to compare available sunshine in cities. Flagstaff, AZ gets seventy-eight percent sunshine while Yuma, AZ measures ninety percent, in the Chicago area, where I live, it is fifty-four percent, and the lowest percent sunshine is in the north ( New Hampshire and Alaska) where the percent sunshine drops into the thirties.  What that means is the cost of electrifying homes is vastly different across the country.

Why is the cost of solar energy so expensive to install? It takes too many panels to do the job. Current state of the art solar panels are ten percent efficient. Current U.S. fossil fuel plant efficiencies range from forty-six percent to as high as fifty-eight percent, while Europe lags at thirty-six percent.  If solar panels could convert sun energy into electricity at fossil fuel plant efficiencies the argument would end, and solar would win.

There are records of solar power being used by Ancient Egyptians, but the credit for modern solar power goes to a Bell Lab team who discovered the use of silicon as a semi-conductor in nineteen fifty-four. The six percent efficiency of their discovery is not far from Solyndra’s high-tech eight percent efficient panels.

Even when the solar panel efficiency and cost effectiveness finally makes it practical, there are issues with storage of power in the home and the need for homeowners to know how to deal with them. Most home-owners have problems finding the shut-off valve under a sink much less be able to understand or support an array of electrical storage batteries.

My prediction is that it will take one hundred and seventy-four years (2186) at current development rates to match the efficiency of  fossil fuel power.

Where does that leave us?

When planet Earth faces complete depletion of all its fossil fuels the need will precipitate urgent emergency development programs to save the planet from extinction. Remember the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention?” Why is it that we will wait for crisis to occur before we act?  If we continue down the same paths we have been on we will continue to get the same results. I tire of listening to our élite Organizer President say one thing and then do the opposite. I also tire of hearing him say “don’t bring me the same tired old ideas that don’t work.” I tried to make a point above about the age of the ideas he has gambled on with  billions of tax payer dollars, and they do not work well enough to satisfy our needs.

My recommendation is the USA must:

1. Declare fossil fuels as a standard: Use coal, oil, natural gas, and oil shale to provide energy, with emphasis on reducing emissions by fifty percent within ten years.

2. Obtain all fossil fuels from the Americas to end the drain of resources to the Middle East. We must cut off the flow of  our money going to the Arabs who then bring the money back into subversive causes within the USA.  Let Europe and China take the Arab oil. They like diversity in their countries, let them depend on diversity one hundred percent.

3. Provide incentives for basic research in alternate fuels. We need break-through science and invention to cut the years it will take to gain fossil fuel independence. This does not mean investing in losers like Solyndra, it means putting money into basic research at creditable labs and educational institutions.

4. Establish a National Energy Innovation Prize of fifty million dollars. The award goes to the first private sector inventor who develops a forty-percent efficient solar energy system.

5. Re-direct NASA into the National Solar Agency with a goal to power the earth with clean efficient  solar energy in ten years. Do you remember when John F. Kennedy declared a goal to put our man on the moon within ten years? He did what leaders do, he led. The country got behind it and within ten years we put a man on the moon. The amount of benefit we derived from that effort is what made the USA a science and technology powerhouse. The list of products we use everyday that were the result of the race to the moon is endless.. The investment in technology paid back one hundred fold or more. Compare that to stupid investments in crony companies that are on the verge of failure.

So how hard was that to do? Better yet, why doesn’t the White House PhD Think Tank come up with these ideas? Why doesn’t the “pick and choose” tax payer gambling Organizer in Chief  come up with some new ideas that will work besides his tired old idea of tax and spend?

The Gremlin Strikes Again

Bill Gates, you made a ton of money selling your operating system to the world. Now please spend some of it to make the son of a bitch work.

Today, I experienced another terror attack by Microsoft update. Immediately afterward, Google Chrome began shutting down with something called a dep error, supposedly, to keep a sneaky culprit from infiltrating the innards of my pc. Currently, the only culprits residing in this PC are the ones put there by  Microsoft updates. They have rendered the machine useless.

All of Microsoft’s software are like Obama promises. They make you want to drink the Cool Aid. They sound so good, but when it comes to delivering the goods, we get Obama Care with a bow on it.

I am sooo frustrated. Technology is beautiful when it works, but when it fails life sucks.

I can hardly wait for the local Apple store to open its doors.

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