Thursday, November 15, 2012

Re revenue enhancements

Dear Mr. President,

RE: Revenue increases.

You can, if you simply do nothing to stop it, see an additional $60-400 billion dollars in new revenues flood into the treasury, each and every year, WITHOUT raising taxes on anyone.

Sounds impossible, right? Some sort of trickle-down voodoo trick, right?


According to a recent IEA report, the US can be energy independent within a decade and become a net exporter of oil a decade or two after that, thanks largely to new fracking technology (not Solyndra or GE Windmill giveaways). This single change in our trade balance with other countries can add between $60 billion and $400 billion in new tax revenues to the treasury, each and every year without raising anyone's taxes. All that is required of you, Mr. President, is to have the wisdom to stand aside and just let it happen on Federal lands too.

Allowing exports of natural gas (and oil a few decades out) would allow the US to start exercising the same international 'soft power' that Iran now enjoys with China's veto their oil has bought. This is the same soft power that Russia's natural gas giant flexes over Europe every cold winter.

Drilling until we export oil may well keep us out of the next "war for oil" in the Middle East, something worthy of that Nobel Prize, and selling to our friends in China, India, and Japan would go a long way to easing tensions in that simmering ring of nuclear-armed fire. The dispute over the ownership of worthless islands only took on 'Cuban missile crisis' status after oil was discovered in those same waters. But neither China nor Japan would think of going to war if their friends in Washington had an endless supply of millions of barrels a day, ready to sell them at reasonable prices. War is expensive, often measured in trillions of dollars, and victory is never guaranteed. All three of those ancient civilizations respect that pearl of wisdom our young nation tends to forget.

But it looks like the first act of our newly reelected Peace Prize President will be to continue his class warfare with a poisonous, partisan assault against the overwhelmingly reelected House Republicans. This will surely destroy any chance of bipartisan cooperation for the next four years, and free up his entire calendar for another 400 rounds of golf.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Republican should take a page from Obama and give out amnesty light.

Amnesty for the crime, (won't kick them out if they come forward) but not citizenship. Give everyone that turns themselves in, and passes a criminal check by being fingerprinted and DNA swabbed, a 20yr green card (revoked if they commit crimes) and, if they pay a $10,000 fine and follow the same rules everyone else must follow to become a citizen.

Back of the line, but in it IF they want to put in the same effort and time that everyone that comes from China and India has to invest to become a citizen here.

As a 20yr green card instead of citizenship, it should prevent them from collecting all the safety net perks that are bleeding budgets dry.

And it could be called amnesty because it does absolve them of the crime, but doesn't turn them into 20million Democrat voters overnight.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Space X Y Z

Space X, Y, Z

The space elevator gets a lot of play, nowadays. But it'll never really work. It has too many problems and relies a lot on technology that doesn't yet exist.

But the goal of inexpensive space is achievable.

How about this.

Think of electric subway tracks, or those electric toy cars and trains that use the same technology that get bought for good boys around this time every year.

Put the track down, as straight as possible for 50 to 100 miles in the least populated area, closest to the equator. The tracks aren't anything fancy like with maglev, and they don't even have to be as high-quality as those used for subways. They can actually be very cheap and flimsy as they will barely have to support the weight of a car.

The 'spaceship' will of course have to have wings, but none of its weight will ever rest on the tracks, so the miles and miles of tracks will be insanely cheap to build. Much closer to the toys than subways.

Now, imagine those toy racecar tracks again. Tie one end of a string to one of those cars and the other end to a paper airplane. With enough practice, you could get the plane to fly too.

That's close to what I propose, but not quite. There's still some rather obvious math problems if we stopped right here. The tracks that way would be incredibly expensive again, the car would have to be more powerful than a hundred trains, and the math goes off the rails soon after that.

No, what you do instead is flip the script. Instead of the car pulling the plane, the plane pulls the car along the tracks this time. This way, the 'car' only has to be big enough to stay on the tracks and conduct all that electrical power up the tether to the massive electric engines on the plane.

The length of the tether will allow the plane to fly straight while the 'car' zigzags along the terrain below until both reach escape velocity. At that point, the plane breaks the tether then goes into a climb. Its own momentum carries it most, or all of the way out of the atmosphere. Like the space shuttle, it would retain a small tank for maneuvering and to carry it into higher orbits, but all of the bulk of the solid rocket boosters and external tank is now gone. Replaced by an electric engine and a dozen powerplants connected through the grid.

You could even go 'SpaceX' style by leaving the atmospheric engines behind in a mother ship at the edge of space as a tiny rocket takes over from there.

We already have a lot of electrostatic engines that work well in the dense lower atmosphere. I think Dyson has built a fan based on this principle, and I know the Ionic Breeze is built around it. Using electricity to do all the heavy lifting will reduce the size and weight of the spacecraft considerably. It should use around a tenth the energy this way, per pound of delivered payload. That's a considerable savings.

The long track will allow for lower Gs and passengers instead of just satellites to be launched.

Of course, flying a hypersonic spacecraft this close to the ground for nearly a hundred miles has its own problems. Wind shears could be disastrous, the sound would be deafening for tens of miles in every direction, and it couldn't be piloted by human reaction times. Computers would have to control it all. But Google will probably have an app for that long before any of the track gets built : )

Sunday, November 4, 2012

EZ-Bake home heating and organic farming

EZ-bake home heating / organic farming

Did I get you with the title?


Every winter strange thoughts wander into my mind. Some of them get used in books. No, strike that, most of them find a home in my fiction. But some would never make those pages, so they'll have to be content with my little blogs instead.

EZ-Bake home heating / organic farming

Strange phrasing, right? But it tells you everything you need to know, really.

But let me spell it out.

EZ-Bake ovens, pre-lightbulb Ban, used a lightbulb to cook real food in 'toy' ovens for children (under adult supervision!) But with the banning of the Edison lightbulb, these toys had to get with the times and include real heating elements.

When I worked construction, we always had an EZ-Bake oven on the job. Just toss two lightbulbs into a metal toolbox, add in a few dozen cans or jars of soup, and by lunch it was always piping hot. Works great, no need for an expensive microwave that could only reheat one meal every 3 minutes (we never got more than 30min for lunch, so, that was at best 5 people per microwave)

Every winter, people spend hundreds or thousands on heating homes, a lot of them using electricity.

Stay with me: )

Now, think of radiant floor heating. They generally use loops of circulating hot water on the underside of wooden floors. Heat the floor, and you heat the room. Some use electric strips.

But you could EZ-Bake heat a floor too. But why would you, right? Why use lightbulbs to heat?

Well, legally speaking I wouldn't, mostly because they've been banned. But I just saw some Christmas LED lights going up today, and that got me thinking. Keep with me, I know I wander off the path at times, but I eventually get where I'm going. White is the most expensive LED, but reds, yellows, blues, and greens, the cheapest of the LEDs, grow plants better than whites anyway. And they all put out heat in addition to light. In fact, one of the problems with white LEDs that are bright enough to replace a 100watt Edison is keeping the plastic LEDs from melting. That's the big holdup. That's why they're $60-100 still. It isn't only the price of the LEDs, it's the price of cooling them too.

But what if that cooling problem had an easy solution? What if you didn't need to pack a hundred watts of lights into a tiny bulb, but could spread it out across a floor?

What if that overheating disadvantage was actually a goal?

LED radiant floor heating. Stick with me, sharp turn ahead.

In general, when LEDs (whatever the color) use 100watts of electricity, they put out around 100watts of heat (just like Edisons). As with the EZ-Bake example, that's cooking-level heat and not really good for plastic LEDs. Edisons and LEDs put out the same amount of heat per watt used, the difference is the LEDs put out 10 times as much light.

But to heat a house with LEDs would produce a lighthouse worth of light. That's the kind of bright that could be seen twenty miles through the fog. That's no good, right? That's just trading one problem for another, isn't it?

Hold on. Check your seat belt. Watch for signs.

Recap. We've turned the weakness of LEDs (waste heat) into an advantage for radiant floor home heating, but now we have thousands of watts worth of wasted light. We've turned the problem on its head again! This is worse that where we started... or is it.

Just wait. Let me think.

Let me think.

Got it!

Radiant floor heating is mostly a late fall/winter/early spring thing. That's about the time when summer vegetables become pricy again because you have to ship them halfway across the world.

Let's turn this wasted light problem into an advantage again.

We've got a lot of light from our EZ-Bake LED radiant heating system, it's time to put it to use. Shelves in the basement would be the most efficient use of space for growing vegetables, butterflies could do the pollinating (if needed). No pesticides. Totally organic, the crop could be sold to offset the price of electricity, or eaten to reduce food bills.

But you need not have a basement to use such a system.

Lighting shelves, like bookshelves of plants, could grow vegetables and heat individual rooms simultaneously, like how millions use space heaters today. Blackout shades would even let you put them in bedrooms, and still get some shuteye.

Crawlspaces could be put to work too. Imagine this. Paint the undersides of the floors bright white. String up the LEDs like you were hanging Christmas lights between the studs. Lay a 'floor' on the dirt below it, and put 6'x4' planters beneath it on rollers. Remember those jigsaw-like puzzles where they slide past each other as you shuffle them around to assemble the picture? Well, imagine that kind of shuffling going on under a house to rotate the stock. Of course you could simply 'plant' your crop in the crawlspace itself, but harvests would involve a ton of crawling around on your hands and knees. Ideally, you want enclosed systems (like basements and such) to control the bugs, pests, and rodents. Boxes on wheels and a hard floor seem fine for that.

The economics, if my math is right, are very compelling.

The price of heating should remain the same. It could increase 10%, but that's doubtful. In either case, the organic winter crop is FREE and hippie certified for maximum profitability: ) 24/7 lighting could really pound out some organics in a short period of time.

Final thought.

A lot of northern homes heat with oil or natural gas, so going EZ-Bake wouldn't work so well for them.

But lets not leave them out in the cold.

Did you know that a gallon of oil produces the same amount of heat, whether it's burned in a furnace or in a diesel generator... you know, those evil combustion engines.

That's right. Same goes for natural gas.

My simple idea is to do all the burning of these heating fuels in combustion engines instead. The electricity is pure profit, either sell it back to the grid, use it locally, or simply use it to power electric heating elements to heat the home faster and use up to 60% less fuel. The generators could be made for under $1,000 (Non grid compliant) and would likely pay for themselves in the first two years.

More strange thoughts to come.

What was in that brownie anyway : )

Friday, November 2, 2012

Experiments in rice

Step 1. Forget you were making rice in the crock pot and overcook the bagebas outo it.

Step 2. Be too poor to throw it out.

Step 3. Put a little oil in the bottom of Pyrex, smear a half inch of "rice jello" in, add a pinch of salt, garlic, cyan. Nuke till crispy.

Its a little like hot rice cakes meets cookie meets fried rice. :)

Failures in Brussels sprouts :(

My sad little Brussels sprouts ain't hitting on much this year :(

But the good news is it's Entirely edible!! And those big leaves are delicious when cooked like cabbage!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Could this spell the end of Amazon's Kindle?

Is Kindle charging US ebook buyers two different prices for the same book, depending on what state you live in?

This is a copy of my KDP 6-weeks Page with all the irrelevant items taken out.
gr ref net % list mb off del $$
09/22/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 45 0 45 70% 2.99 0.79 0.00 0.12 0.00
09/22/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 2 0 2 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 0.00
09/22/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 1 0 1 70% 2.99 0.69 2.99 0.10 2.02
09/29/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 4 0 4 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 0.00
09/29/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 28 0 28 70% 2.99 0.79 0.00 0.12 0.00
09/29/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 1 0 1 70% 2.99 0.69 0.99 0.10 0.62
09/29/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 1 0 1 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 1.05
10/06/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 8 0 8 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 0.00
10/06/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 63 0 63 70% 2.99 0.75 0.00 0.11 0.00
10/06/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 6 0 6 70% 2.99 0.69 0.99 0.10 3.72
10/06/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 1 0 1 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 1.05
10/13/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 40 0 40 70% 2.99 0.75 0.00 0.11 0.00
10/13/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 1 0 1 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 1.05
10/13/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 3 0 3 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 0.00
10/13/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 2 0 2 70% 2.99 0.69 0.99 0.10 1.24
10/20/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 1 0 1 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 1.05
10/20/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 37 0 37 70% 2.99 0.75 0.00 0.11 0.00
10/20/2012 The Art of... B007O0FNQA 3 0 3 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 0.00
10/20/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 4 0 4 70% 2.99 0.69 1.49 0.10 3.88
10/27/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 6 0 6 70% 2.99 0.69 0.99 0.10 3.72
10/27/2012 Patent Mine B001F7AJHQ 1 0 1 35% 2.99 N/A N/A N/A 1.05

Notice that 'Patent Mine' AND 'The Art of...' are reported twice each week.

It's very odd and curious to me. Isn't it for you?

Look closer at Both and you'll find that Amazon.USA seems to be selling the same book at DIFFERENT prices depending on which server farm it's being purchased through.

On the week of 10/27, 6 copies of Patent Mine were sold at .99 each, but someone, somehow, on Amazon was charged 2.99 that same week (Amazon owes him $2)!

But the flaw isn't limited to Patent Mine, it's also happening with my FREE book, The Art of...

Take a look at its numbers for 10/20 and you'll see 37 were @70% and 3 were @35%. I'd bet I'm not alone in this.

I looked back through my monthly KDP xls sheets and found that it seems to start around June of 2012 and seems to affect about 10% of all the books sold. Obviously, as you see from above, I'm not a big seller, so this is chump change, but be warned that the flaw is out there, Kindle users!