Posts Tagged ‘hippie blog’

Oil spill looked a little familiar…

Operation Sombrero

Here’s a video from the Rachel Maddow show. It’s about the same oil spill that happened over 30 years ago. The same thing happened in the Gulf of Mexico, but in shallower water. The problem is, is that the same techniques used in the 70s, are being used today. They didn’t work then either.

A giant cone was fashioned, in 1979, not unlike today’s “Top hat” scenario concocted today that failed. “Operation Sombrero” was  a failure the first time around, so BP gave it a more cultured nickname to fail by. The only thing that worked back then were relief wells and apparently, BP is weeks away from completing one of those.

Maddow make some pretty reasonable claims. Isn’t “crazy” defined as, “Doing the same thing again and expecting a different result”?

Tea Party VS Coffee Party

There’s is the Tea Party, a movement started in early 2009 as a backlash against the 2008 Bailouts and the President Obama’s stimulus package. They don’t like paying taxes, and really, who does?

The Coffee Party came later as an answer to the Tea Party (see what they did there?). Realizing the importance of social services and taxation, the Coffee Party is the direct opposition to the Tea Party.

Fiscal Conservative.

Named after the Boston Tea Party in 1773, where American colonist protested extra taxation of tea by the British Government.  Tea-baggers (real moniker, really) want less taxes so they are widely seen as fiscal conservatives.

Now, conversely, the Coffee Party push the positive side of taxes, their benefits and importance.

“A key difference is in our emphasis on the democratic process, on respectful and civil engagement with one another and with our elected officials. In the current climate, too many Americans are afraid to participate, and find the process itself too alienating, because it is dominated by people with extreme opinions and extreme tactics. It’s hard to speak up when others in the room are screaming. So in the end, we may want some of the same things, but we our hoping our journey getting there will be very different.” Says Annabel Park, originator of the movement,  when comparing the two movement.

The two party are nothing to gloss over either, there are factions for both parties all over the United States. And the number of supporters is growing.

I think the idea of the Tea Party is a good one, but like all movements there are going to be more than one bad egg that takes it a little too far. I’m afraid that the Tea Party will be littered with those people who see “No Taxes” picket signs and think, “Yeah, I hate paying taxes, let go with them.” Sure, not paying taxes is really what everybody wants, but taxes are as inevitable as death. They are a necessary evil, and make no mistake they are necessary.

Our Party Leader.

I say we make a L.E.T.S. Party. The Local Exchange Trading System Party emphasizes the needs vs. wants scale of consumerism. If people trade for goods, no money is exchanged and therefore no taxes can be implemented. Also, the money people make working can be used for things that really important like bills, food and taxes. This way you get what you need, while still paying taxes. I see this as a reasonable and fair option. Sure, there may be a problem with people not having big screen tvs, and Leon’s may go bankrupt, but what do you expect from an interest group called Lets Party?

How to Build your own Bike-generator

Sometime ago, I had come up with the idea of making a green gym. A place where all of the exercise equipment could be used to generate power for the gym itself. In order to do that, I’m going to start with a simple bike generator that can be made for fairly cheap if you shop around.

These are all the things you will need:
Bicycle
Training Stand
12V Generator or a Permanent Magnet DC Generator
a Deep Cycle Battery (PowerPack)
a Voltmeter (optional)
a DC-to-AC inverter
Some plywood
saw, screws

First you need a bike. Now, a bike with multiple gears is more preferable, but any rear-wheel powered bicycle will work. Stationary exercise bikes (front-wheel) would also work with some minor modifications. All that is important is that the pedals power a chain that powers a wheel. Brakes are irrelevant.

You can pick up an old clunker of a bike at any yard sale, or if you are more morally flexible, go to the police station and tell them your red bike was stolen. They have rooms full of bikes, odds are one of them is red.

Next, you’ll have to pick up a Training Stand. I found one on ebay for $70, but that seems a little steep. If you go to any of those used sporting goods stores, I’m sure you can find one.

Now there are two ways of mounting the 12V Generator (this is the thing that spins and creates energy, they usually sell for about $30). The first and less efficient way is to attached the generator to a drum, or small wheel and position it in such a way that the when you pedal the bike’s wheel make contact with the small drum/wheel, creating power. The problem with this set-up is that the two wheels can sometimes loose contact and this won’t create the optimum power-generating situation. The Second way is to take the rear tire off, but leave of the metal rim (the rubber tire is just extra weight now). The shaft of the generator should be able to fit into the void between the spokes and the bike’s frame. This will eliminate the risk slipping. Once you find where the best place the mount the generator, construct a plywood stand for it and attach the stand securely to the training stand.

Now, all you have to do is connect the dc-to-ac inverter and the voltmeter (this is actually optional). Some basic wiring and splicing to give this bad boy a plug and you got your self a human-power generator.

Now, you can plug this in directly to appliances (blender, toaster) but for real efficient use, plug into a battery pack to store the electricity created. Then this battery pack (usually called PowerPacks at Home Depot) can be used when you are tired or lazy.

All things considered, this generator can be made for well under $200. It helps the environment and you might even get in shape.

Nestle’s Palm Oil Problem

Make sure your next impulse chocolate craving is the right one.

Today I got an email from Greenpeace urging me not to buy KitKat bars, and more over to not buy Nestle’s chocolate products. The problem is, is in the pursuit of palm oil (that is a key component in chocolate making) is creating a massive deforestation problem. And since there is no such thing as singularity among environmental dilemmas, the population of oran-gutans in Indonesia have suffered massive loses.

“We all deserve to have a break – but having one shouldn’t involve taking a bite out of Indonesia’s precious rain forests. We’re asking Nestlé to give rain forests and orang-utans a break and stop buying palm oil from destroyed forests.”

At the dedicated Greenpeace site is a video explaining the problem. WARNING: the video is one produced for shock value.

UPDATE: While writing about this, Youtube has cut the video from the site citing, “due to a copyright claim by Societe des Produits Nestle S.A..” The campaign against them appears to be working.

The orag-utans’ homes are clear-cut in order to produce Palm Oil Plantations after the bogs under the forests are drained. If you Wikipedia Nestle, you’ll find that this isn’t the first time the company has come under controversy, nor is it the first time Greenpeace has called them on it.

If you would like to email Nestle and tell them what you think of them killing orag-utans, you can do that here