Saturday, October 27, 2012

Regarding books...

I love books. Even books I dont like. A book is a symbol of technique that changed the world, a sea change from a time when knowledge could be lost forever to an untimely death, to a world of a long sustained wealth of knowledge, unlocked only by a basic knowledge and a hunger to learn. Keep your ebooks and iPads. My library needs only to remain dry to pass the wisdom of eons to generations...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Open Carry Redux

So Im listening to the Squirrel Report (you ARE following, right?) and they are talking about Open Carry. I LOVE talking about Open Carry. I love Open Carrying. That being said, I have always lived in an OC friendly state. Montana growing up, Arizona after that, now Oregon. I LOVE IT. And I've gotten nearly zero negative comments, a couple seriously positive responses, and only one (1!) slightly negative response. I get a little weary of of PSH references, because its really a non-issue. As in NOT AN ISSUE. So, go forth and OC. Its good for you, and all of us. Plus, its got vitamins!


I wish I had time on Thursdays for this...
And they're not on this week, so I'm listening to backlogs. I keep listening, and want to talk, I want to call in, I want to DEBATE! But here on the far coast, it all goes down at dinnertime. Right now Im working around the house, and find myself talking to my earbuds, frustrated by their inability to hear me. Go- listen, follow, enjoy. Call in, if you can. These people are awesome.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fix Bayonet!

I just had an awesome thought- build a 'workhorse' ar. You know the type; tuned for reliability, solid fixed sights, nothing too fancy or heavy. Paint it all colors of the rainbow. Fix bayonet! Your workhorse ar has now been magically transformed into a tactical rainbow unicorn!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

An Ironic Tone

Inspired by new member K-

This post has no nutritional value; if life like a Talking Heads song, we have this line-

'You start a conversation you cant even finish... You're talking a lot, but you're not SAYING anything... When I've got nothing to say, my lips are sealed... Say something once, why say it again?'

However, it still beats the hell out of Life During Wartime...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New faces!

I see I have picked up two new members! Thanks for visiting, K and Trucker Mom! Please, explore the sidebars and the old posts, and leave some comments, if you feel like!

Woo Hoo, I'm up to 4 members!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wind and Water...

I find many people to be woefully underinformed regarding wind power. The thing- THE thing, really- about wind power, is that from an engineering standpoint, the power generation factor of wind is... zero. I'm not saying that it can't help, I'm not saying that it can't work; what I'm saying here is that because of its reliability, it CAN NOT replace a single other source of electrical generation. It has to do with the way our power grid is set up- there is no electrical storage capacity in our grid system. This isn't (really) a knock on the engineers, because there is not really any great NEED for storage capacity. Our generation abilities have almost always been sufficient to the task at hand.

One of the properties of the electrical grid is that electricity tolerates incredible little variation. The direct relationship between volts, amps, and watts means that any variation in the supply system can drastically alter the supply of energy, and cause catastrophic problems if it does not remain in balance. I'll try not to bore you with the formulas, especially since I am not an electrical engineer, and will probably get some of this wrong. The long and short is, Watts (or VA) are equal to Volts multiplied by Amperes. The equation is simple- W=VA (which is why watts are sometimes referred to as VA). Wattage is a measure of how much energy is being used or provided. A 100 watt bulb uses 100 watts of energy. Most household appliances, with the exception of high load items, use 120VAC power (sometimes called 110, 115, 120V, which is due to the tolerance for very SLIGHT variation) the AC portion means Alternating Current, which is extraneous to our discussion at this time. Therefore, by our equation, a 100 watt bulb, at 120 Volts equals .83 amps. If available energy exceeds this, that's all well and good. However, if available current does not meet this number, things begin to shift. As load exceeds supply, voltage begins to drop. As voltage drops, amperage begins to rise. Another way to look at it is when amperage (or wattage) rises, voltage begins to drop. A bulb designed around 100W/120V (iow, .83A), will not be able to withstand the amperage of operating at 100W/80V (1.25A). Other systems are even more sensitive. Any variation in supply will put household appliances (an especially anything with a computer board) outside of their design parameters. Things designed around 120 V power, when supplied with 80V, have a tendency to run poorly or not at all, and can cause breakers to trip, fuses to blow, and wiring to melt (sometimes light on fire!). Variations outside the standard are NOT good for an electrical system.

How does this relate to wind power? Easy- wind power is variable. HIGHLY variable. In fact, generation from a single plant can vary anywhere from its maximum rated output to zero. If the wind dies down, generation drops to zero. Without a viable method of storage, this means its average electrical output, the number used for calculating reliability, is also zero. Wind power, without storage capability, can never be used as a sole source of electricity. In order to supply a full power grid, there will always need to be a secondary power source.

Well, then, Mr. Smartass, do we just abandon green energy and keep burning fossil fuels until we run out? No. I said at the very beginning that I was not contraindicating its usefulness. The difference is twofold. The first, as touched on already, is storage. There aren't enough batteries in the world to operate the United States, at full consumption, for a single hour (probably more like a single second). However, if enough people were to install some sort of consumer scale wind power AND A STORAGE SYSTEM, the average draw of each house on the grid would decrease, and lead to a direct reduction in the amount of electrical generation required. This would allow the power generation to be reduced (or, more accurately, would reduce the need to expand). Its ironic, but the best way to influence power consumption on a national scale is actually to diffuse the generation. As more and more gadgets enter our lives, and we continue to build and expand upon the power grid, an influx in solar and wind generation can reduce the need to build new or larger generation plants. However, without the ability to store energy, all this will be for nought. The gigantic wind farms one sees in many places here in the west represent the lease efficient implementation of wind power that I can think of. They are vanity constructions, federally subsidized generation plants with an average output of zero. Only be decentralizing the grid, and producing power locally, can real energy efficiency be realized, and truly 'green' energy be produced.