Monday, December 16, 2013

Will my cotton get confused :)

Whhh... Thought my 15yr old hand-me-down washing machine just died. Turned out just the 'cotton's setting died.

Im going to live on the edge and do all my cotton on the permanent press setting from here on (hope my cotton socks and Ts don't get too confused :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Word macro auto chapter renumbered

Chapter Renumberer Word Macro

About how the Macro works

I wrote this for me and how I write, and I identify my chapters by
Manual page break
[Chapter #]

If you don't (nobody but me does) don't panic, you can still use this to automatically renumber your chapters just fine.

All you do is record a macro, have word find your manual page breaks, arrow over, and insert the [ before the word Chapter and ] after the number. Easy. Last thing I do just before publishing is delete all the [], or leave them (no big).


Sub ChaptersRenumberer()
' [Chapter]
' This renumbers chapters and makes them uniform
' Bold, underlined, centered
bLd = InputBox("Chapters are anything inside []" + Chr(13) + Chr(13) + _
"B for Bold" + Chr(13) + _
"U for Underline" + Chr(13) + _
"R to renumber Chapters" + Chr(13) + _
"C to Center Chapters" + Chr(13) + _
"S to Center STARS" + Chr(13) + _
" or X to exit this", "Bold/Underline Chapters", "BC")
If Len(bLd) = 0 Or Len(bLd) > 5 Then Exit Sub
If bLd = "x" Or bLd = "X" Then Exit Sub
RenumberThem = False
BoldThem = False
UnderlineThem = False
CenterThem = False
StarsCenter = False
For e = 1 To Len(bLd)
s = Mid(bLd, e, 1)
If s = "C" Or s = "c" Then CenterThem = True
If s = "R" Or s = "r" Then RenumberThem = True
If s = "U" Or s = "u" Then UnderlineThem = True
If s = "S" Or s = "s" Then StarsCenter = True
If s = "B" Or s = "b" Then BoldThem = True
Next e
aa = Selection.End
Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory
oldText = Selection.Find.Text
'Ch = 2
Ch = InputBox("First Chapter number", , 2)
With Selection.Find '===========================
.Text = "[" 'Here is what you'd want to modify
.Forward = True 'To help it identify your Chapters
.Execute 'mine start with [
End With
s = Selection.End
With Selection.Find
.Text = "]" 'and end with ]
.Forward = True
End With '=============================
If Selection.Find.Found = False Then GoTo 30
e = Selection.End
If Abs(ek - e) < 900 Then
Ch = Val(Left(Right(ActiveDocument.Range(s, e), 3), 2))
Ch = InputBox("An error has been called" + Chr(13) + _
"X to abort" + Chr(13) + _
"Enter a number and it'll renumber starting there", , Ch)
If Ch = "x" Or Ch = "X" Then GoTo 30
End If
'GoTo 30
ActiveDocument.Range(s - 1, e).Select
If RenumberThem Then
If Left(Selection.Text, 2) = "[C" _
Or Left(Selection.Text, 2) = "[c" Then _
Selection.Text = "[Chapter" + Str(Ch) + "]"
End If
If UnderlineThem Then
Selection.Font.Underline = wdUnderlineSingle
Selection.Font.Underline = wdUnderlineNone
End If
If BoldThem Then
Selection.Font.Bold = True
Selection.Font.Bold = False
End If
If CenterThem Then Selection.ParagraphFormat.Alignment = wdAlignParagraphCenter
Ch = Ch + 1
If Ch > 200 Then GoTo 30
GoTo 10
If StarsCenter = True Then Call CenterStars
Selection.End = aa
Selection.Start = aa
Selection.Find.Text = oldText
End Sub

Monday, October 28, 2013

Winter blues cure

Time to switch to winter lights. These halogen bulbs (just one in the room) are full spectrum and alleviate my "winter blues" . It's not on the label, just a home remedy that seems to work for me. Just has to have halogen on the label.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

KDP tips for slimming down your download fees

Found my old notes on how to reduce the size of Kindle Files by manually editing the HTML, they might be useful to you and it's not all that hard to do, even though manually editing HTML sounds very intimidating. It should be noted that my version of Word is as old as my 2003 Laptop (Win XP, Word 2k?), so newer versions might act a little different.

Step 1> Save your DOC as a WEB page (.HTM). File/SaveAsWeb
Close Word. Make sure it isn't XML, this only applies to files ending in HTM.

Check where you saved the Web file. It should be Name.HTM AND, if you have images in the word file, you should also get a folder with a bunch of JPG and PNG image files in it. PNG files are HUGE while JPGs are TINY. We want to lose the PNG and keep the JPG and this will save your big download fees. Look at each image file, you should see the same image, once as a JPG and again as a PNG. If you do, this is good, it means you can reduce the file/download size by roughly the size of all the PNGs. Take note of what the numbers are with the PNGs and JPGs. PNGs are usually (but not always) odds and JPGs are usually evens.

Step 2> RIGHT CLICK on Name.HTM and OPEN WITH NotePad or WordPad but NOT WORD.

Step 3> use the Find function and search for image00
It should find something like this:
<v:imagedata src="./Personal%20space%20w%20cover_files/image001.png" o:title=""/>

Now, you have to do some manual editing, but it's easier than you think.
<v:imagedata src="./Personal%20space%20w%20cover_files/image001.png" o:title=""/>

Select everything from the left of the I in image to the quote, in this case ./Personal%20space%20w%20cover_files/ This part needs to be deleted. In this example, the Folder created was named Personal space cover_files. This tells the browser to look for images in that folder. We're changing that. % generally is a stand in for a blank space. You need to keep the " but lose everything up to the I in image.

It should now look something like this. (Yours will be a little different)
<v:imagedata src="image001.png" o:title=""/>

But you're still not done. We want JPGs because they're smaller. IF the image you've found ends in JPG, then you're done and you can move on and find the next image00 but this one needs a little more editing. Since there is no image001.jpg just changing the jpg isn't going to do. You also have to change the image number. Usually you can just at one to the image number and change it to a JPG, but check before you do.

In my case, it gets changed to this:

<v:imagedata src="image002.jpg" o:title=""/>

Now, go through the rest of the file until you reach the end. Remember, even if you screw this up, it's no big deal, you haven't changed the original DOC it came from, so worry not.

When you get to the end, simply save it and close NotePad or WordPad (whichever you used).

Now make a new folder (something like TEST) and copy the HTM file and all the JPGs (and only the JPGs) into it. Go into it and open the HTM with your browser of choice (NOT WORD!). Scroll through it and see if everything looks right. Pay special attention to the picture files. If something went wrong, you can generally tell because it'll have an empty picture frame where a picture should be. Generally this is caused by forgetting to change the image00 number, or changing a PNG to a JPG, or leaving a period after the first quote.

If it looks good and seems to work fine, great.

Check the sizes of the JPGs. If any of them are over 1 meg in size, consider opening them in an image editor and resaving them in at a lower resolution (changing dimensions sometimes causes problems, so don't resize them unless it can't be helped) check it again and if it looks good on your 16" computer screen, it'll look fine on a 7" Kindle. Remember, you're editing the JPGs in the TEST folder, you still have the originals to fall back on if you screw something up.

Last step> Select everything in your TEST folder (HTM and all of the JPG, that should be all there is in this folder) then RIGHT CLICK, Select SEND TO, and COMPRESSED FOLDER, then answer yes if something gets asked. After a few moments you should see a new file in that folder, ending in .ZIP. This is the file you upload to KDP instead of the normal DOC file.

Last word.

Things happen. You should ALWAYS look at every page in the Kindle Viewer, AND download the HTML file they offer (usually as a ZIP, so unzip it on your computer after downloading), open it in WORD, and use compare to compare it to the original DOC. I have caught GLITCHES before, so ALWAYS do something like this to check your book before going LIVE.

Good luck!

PS, cover image MB size plays big here too

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bobblehead and straw tidal generators

Been thinking about tidal power lately. It keeps coming up in my random readings, so I'm guessing the Gods are telling me to revisit it.

In "Wandering Island Factory" I briefly talk about tidal power, so I guess I should be more specific now.

There is no shortage of designs, so I'll just focus on the two I thought were the most viable and the least expensive to implement.

I'll call the first one the straw design.
If you look at a cup of straws and imagine a wave of water in the cup, you'll realize that the air inside each straw is forced up and down as the wave goes through, no matter how small the wave is. Much like with windmills, most wave generators SUCK at harnessing small waves and breezes. But the VAST Majority of all waves are tiny.
This straw approach solves that.
A simple one-way flap valves on the tops of the straws tie the tiny puffs of thousands of straws together into enough of a constant breeze to do something with. Remember, each time the wave recedes it draws a vacuum, each time it advances it increases the pressure.

Now, lets talk about scale, because obviously straws are too tiny to be useful on an ocean. The bundles of 'straws' should be about the size of the typical wave (1-4 feet in diameter) and the height of the straws should also match the typical waves at high and low tides. They can be made to look like massive piers or even those temporary boat bridges or other useful structures or platforms.

Downsides: 'things' will get into them and start attaching to the insides of the straws. This shouldn't impede function for a long time, but it will eventually and cleaning out the straws promises to be a nightmare. Two flap valves per straw could also cause problems with troubleshooting (though flap valves are fairly foolproof).
Big storms and high waves could flood it with water, and that could pose a problem eventually too. Placing a flexible membrane between the waves and the top of the straw to make it a 'closed system' could solve a lot of this, but starts adding expense.



Think of a thousand bobble heads turned upside down, their feet glued to a board and you have an idea where this is going.

Basically it's a 55gallon barrel with a piston attaching it like a bobblehead to a superstructure. That main piston acts as a pump every time it bobs up and down. Four other pistons, like spokes on a wheel, act like pumps as the bobble head bobs in the water with the sides of the waves. A simple plastic cover keeps the barrel from filling with water when it rains or storms. The hydraulics from the pumps obviously is where we tap the power.

These are the heavily engineered versions of the straw design and the most similar to the tidal generator used in The Wandering Island Factory. It, by the way, simply used an array of floating blocks connected to each other by a piston/pump on each corner.

I'm partial to the straw design because of its simplicity.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Homemade wheat sprouts

Big fan of Red Wheat Sprouts.

They're cheap, sweet, and easy to make.
You can go very expensive at a few dollars for a 4once bag "For Sprouting", or you can do it like I do and just use whole wheat for making flour, Walmart delivers it in 5 gallon buckets for about $24.

First, find a good plastic container. It should be rectangular and come with a tight lid. The dollar tree sells plenty of them. A regular silverware spoon full of seeds is all I use per container. It looks tiny, but the seeds triple in size after the soaking, and they explode with the sprouting shortly after that. The dry seeds should cover no more than a tenth the area (IF that!).

I sprout, soak, and pretty much all the time keep the lid on this thing, tight. And always keep them in a warm, dark place (not HOT, just 55-70 degrees). Most places tell you to use something fancy and talk about making sure it can breath and crap, but you don't need to do any of that crap. As long as you soak it every day and the container is a few inches tall, they get plenty of air. Those things made especially for spouting tend to grow mold. Just be sure to WASH (not rinse, but WASH) the container after each use and you shouldn't get any molds. Mold generally has a 'cheese' smell before you can see it, and will look like fine spider webs around a clump, this is different than the web-like roots that are everywhere. When in doubt, throw it all out!

Soak the dry seeds overnight. That morning, check and see that the vast majority have a little white dot at one end that they didn't have the night before. That's when you know they've soaked long enough. If only a few have it, then change the water and let them soak longer, but never more than two days.

BEFORE you drain the water, wash your hands with soap and water and look for broken pieces. The broken parts will be bright white and should be easy to find. Slosh it around some, then look for more. Out of a tablespoon of seeds, I generally find about a dozen broken pieces. This is normal, even in those labeled "For Sprouting". You end up throwing away what might seem like a lot, but since the sprouts five days away weigh ten times what those seeds weigh today, throwing way a few broken pieces now is meaningless. But these broken pieces are where most of the mold infections originate, so get out as many as you can. But don't spend all day with it, just a minute or so before each draining is enough. Also look for any pieces that have swollen abnormally big (they've cracked down the middle and need to go) and any pieces that have a dot on both ends (or a second white dot anywhere on them).

Drain it as best you can (I use the lid to hold back the seeds as I drain it over the sink). They don't have to be patted dry or anything, so don't worry. Take the back of a spoon and spread them out as evenly as you can. You just want to eliminate 'clumps'. Leave about an inch free on one side. Put the lid on tight and put it on a flat surface (like a counter) but in a dark place (or under a towel or aluminum foil). Now, wedge something under one end, a spoon, clothespin, sock, pretty much anything that is about a half inch. This will let what water you didn't drain out over the sink drain into that inch that you left free of seeds.

You're done for the day. Forget about it.

The next day, leave them soaking in water for 10-30 minutes, give a quick glance for bad seeds, drain, spoon, lid, done.

In a few days, the roots will start to weave together into a matt. When this happens, instead of draining after the soak, gently shake each 'clump' with your fingers in the water. This lets the runts fall out of the clump. Then move the clump to the lid. Repeat this until you have just runts left in the water. Discard the runts, they'll ruin the flavor and a few of them that haven't sprouted at all will contaminate the rest. I know it seems wasteful, but do it anyway. Put the good spouts back into the container and drain as normal.

When the average stalk (pre-soak, the roots have fine 'hairs' on them) is between 3/4 and an inch long, its ready to eat. If you like them refrigerated, soak them one last time before putting them away. You can let them grow longer, but when the stalk tips start to show any color, it starts having a 'grassy' taste. They only keep fresh in the refrigerator for a day or two before they start losing flavor.


I keep the lids on because it reduces the chances of airborne and insect contamination, but mold still happens on occasion.

Mold often is accompanied by a cheesy smell, so get used to the smell of your sprouts.

The mold often resembles the normal root structures, so it can be difficult to identify (I wanted to include mold in my pictures, but it's been such a long time since I've been infected : ( But mold is most easily identified by the way it's structured. The 'hairs' on roots always follow a precise symmetry, mold looks more spider-web-like and often has a slightly different color. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT.

Washing your hands before touching them will help greatly, as will washing the container out after each sprouting (every 5 days or so), picking out the defects, and tossing the runts.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Just when I was getting paranoid about the omniscient NSAgoogleFacebook DATAbase, I start getting hammered with Ashley Madison ads and spam everywhere.

Its the cheating site for married people to get dates with strangers without getting caught.

Three problems. 1) I've never been married. 2) I haven't dated in decades. 3) that SO ISN'T ME or anything I believe in.

So much for those fancy hummingbird algorithm upgrades :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Comedy Gold

Some things change, others stay the same.

Last week while nothing was on I found myself watching Barney Miller reruns where they were trying to be topical and current and injected the show with politics... of the late 70s. As was the rage of the day, they were talking about Global COOLING and the seemingly unstoppable return of the world back into another Ice Age. Detrick went on with one of his monologs about the relentless advances made by icecaps every year.

It seems laughable today, in a world with Al Gore, but back in the 70s they took this seriously. Billions were spent trying desperately to fend off the coming Global COOLING apocalypse. Thirty or forty years from now, An Inconvenient Truth will likely be remembered as a comedy, not a documentary.

Today's episode of Barney Miller was about hyperinflation, bailing out the banks, the worthlessness of paper money, and hording gold.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Department of E-ducation

The President wants to lower the cost of higher education, and I want to help.

Currently, if you count student loans in with the Department of Education budget, it adds up to a figure second only to the Department of Defense. We're talking a lot of money.

For a budget of about a billion or two, I can give everyone in the US a 'free' college education, open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

Anybody interested in the how?

It's really very simple.

Every year, thousands of teachers go on spring break and sit at home with nothing to do. I suggest we open a competition. Let them write their own schoolbooks, based on how they have had to explain things to classrooms that just didn't get how it was explained in the book. The top five in each subject win a million dollars, get their work sent to a ghost writer to convert it to a digital format (Kindle, Nook, Apple, etc) and post it as a free download next year.

A billion dollars every year, spent like this, would make hundreds of great, but under appreciated, teachers millionaires, while giving the public access to their brilliance on every course imaginable. About 500 to 1,000 new text books every year would flood the market.

Now, just reading junk off the internet doesn't mean you're smart, and it wouldn't look as good as Harvard on a resume.

Back to all those empty schools every summer and the thousands of teachers with nothing to do (the less than brilliant ones that aren't making millions writing books). They can administer tests to validate someone's 'e-learned credentials' at, say $100 a test to prove they know what they know.

This would put higher education into the hands of anyone that could afford an E-reader of any kind, had a laptop and an internet connection, or a cell-phone with a free app.

But, unfortunately, that's not what this President is talking about.

Colleges give large donations to politicians. Politicians pass laws that make it easier for people to take out house-sized loans (they aren't qualified for) for a 4yr education. This is your basic money laundering operation, and it is the main reason why tuition has doubled over the years.

It's big money. Big business. And the only way to break the cycle is to go the Kahn university way.

I would cut the budget of The Department of Education down to two billion a year and reward a lot of great, under-appreciated teachers by turning them into millionaires.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good luck, bad luck, and hummingbirds.

Good luck, bad luck, and hummingbirds.

I've written all of my Hummingbird series on an NEC Daylite that I bought in 2003. It tried to set the bed on fire in 2005, one month before its warrantee ran out. They 'fixed' it and sent it back a week after the warrantee ran out and I typed away with confidence again. Since, around the same time, Sony had a recall of all their lithium ion batteries (recalled because they had a tendency to set things on fire) and NEC uses the same suppliers, I pulled the batteries just to be safe.

It smoked the motherboard (yes, actual smoke that didn't stop until it was unplugged) again on 10-2-6, 12-14-6, 1-15-7, 12-26-7, 7-6-10, 2011, and about a year ago in 2012.

Each time, for a few weeks before it smoked, it would boot up with a strange 'whistle' that sounded like crinkling paper, to, you know, just kinda let me know it was thinking about being more flammable than usual.

Well, I'm about 60,000 words into Quantum of Souls that picks up from where Waffen leaves off and it's making that familiar sound again. It usually takes a few days for me to find the faulty capacitor (wearing my coke-bottle reading glasses) and replace it with parts from an old printer.

So, why would I keep such a fire hazard? I mean, I have to unplug it every time I turn it off. Why keep it, right? It's windows XP and the Ctrl key doesn't even work any more, time to kick it to the curb! Right?

Well, all true.

It's literally held together with tape.

But I feel like something in it wants to see this last book through to the end. Even if it's just an inanimate object, every word of every book has passed through its keys, that has to count for something, right?

And maybe I'm a little afraid that a new laptop just won't have the same magic. What if it's the source of the stories and I'm just the instrument?

I bought it just for writing, and I chose the ever so obscure Daylite because it was the only non-backlit laptop on the market. Non-backlit (transreflective is the technical nerd speak) makes a huge difference if you have even slightly light sensitive eyes and spend hours a day in front of a computer. Most people don't notice the difference, but some like me do, and they're typically the millions of people who 'foolishly' prefer the black and white Kindle to the iPad for reading books. And to them I say that this Daylite laptop made writing books as easy on my eyes as those B&W Kindles made reading them.

But mostly, and I can't stress this enough, I just can't afford another major expense right now. So here's hoping that my good luck in finding the very screen I needed so I could get back into writing again, on the unluckiest laptop I've ever owned, will last long enough to finish one more book in the Hummingbird Series.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Recycled to death (and how we can save the world from CO2 and global warming)

One of the easiest ways to remove CO2 from the air and sequester it in a stable form for thousands and thousands of years is right under our noses and we're too blind to see it. And it's so cheap it's almost free to implement. No need to build any fancy particle accelerators or invent some new catalysts or materials, everything we need has been around for thousands of years.

Trees, as we all know, are the very symbol of the green movement because their role in the carbon cycle is so iconic. It's only fitting that trees will play a key roll here as well.

Recycling paper is often sited as the cornerstone of environmentally responsible practices, and it keeps millions of trees from being harvested every year, as well as millions of tons of paper from going into landfills where they would take hundreds or thousands of years to decompose.

Hundreds or thousands of years to decompose.

Hundreds or thousands of years to decompose.

If the USA stopped recycling paper (one of the most stable forms of SEQUESTERED CARBON, besides coal) and simply buried it deep under landfills, we would effectively be removing millions of tons of NET CO2 from the atmosphere (carbon cycle) and sequestering it underground in the most stable form ever conceived by man to date. The infrastructure already exists. The economics are already in place. All of the logistics scream go! Go! Go!

All we have to do, to save the planet from global warming, is to stop recycling paper (building more things out of wood wouldn't hurt either).

When a tree falls in the woods, whether it makes a sound or not is still up for debate, but unless it gets covered up by a landslide (nature's landfill) and turns to coal, it'll rot, get eaten by termites, and be returned to the atmosphere as CO2 and methane within a few decades. All that CO2 that tree spent its entire life removing, nature will put back in a fraction of the time, unless a logger, a paper mill, and a landfill gets to it first.

In the 70s the environmentalists teamed up with the communists to halt the construction of new (CO2 free) nuclear power plants in the USA, resulting in a doubling of new, CO2 spewing coal plants over the last three decades. Their hearts (the environmentalists, not the communists) were in the right place, but nonetheless they (and the coal plants) are largely responsible for today's increased global CO2 levels. I hope they learn this lesson on unintended consequences and repeal their insistence on the counter productive and purely symbolic paper-recycling scheme before it's too late.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dam methane

I'm always baffled by people's inability to see the glass half full."hot-spots"-emissions#

I read this article on 'the evils of dams' and how they're 'destroying the world' with their clean energy. The focus of the complaint was that dams create methane, which is a greenhouse gas that is far worse than CO2. This is, of course, ridiculous, as they don't 'create' methane but instead accumulate the methane creating organics already present in the water and concentrate them in one place (where it's no longer too diluted to notice).

Now, setting aside the nonsense that methane is a greenhouse gas (it's a thermal conductor which is often confused for a greenhouse gas) lets look at the problem again. The problem, as stated, is that the water pools behind the dam, like a P-trap under your sink, and it accumulates stuff that, if the dam wasn't there, would otherwise be flushed into the ocean, unnoticed and unseen. This accumulated organic matter 'rots' and puts off gas, one of which is methane.

Now, methane, when released into the air, is considered bad.

But Methane, delivered to your house in a pipe for cooking and heating, you can charge MONEY for.

Take a step back and look at the horrible horrible earth-ending problem that's "only solution must be the destruction of dams all around the world!" But this time, look at it as a glass half full instead.

It's rather simple to capture the methane and sell it when it's concentrated like this. And methane that is burned is turned into the much less dangerous CO2.

It's not economical to capture methane from a river or stream, but it is if you already have a billion dollar P-trap called a dam with complete control over how and where the water flows. Several models jump to mind, from dredging and a covered cesspool style (like farmers do with pig poop all the time), to an underwater or underground 'digester', to a passive system that pulls it from the water itself.

If the volume of methane is anywhere near the 'earth ending' levels they try to portray, then it's a goldmine, waiting to be tapped. And, as noted, it is 100% organic, would qualify as entirely carbon neutral (as the pig-poop example does), and could easily be a double green green win win... if politics wasn't always getting in the way.

Dams are highly political in that politicians get lots of money to pretend to hate them, and this methane complaint is just another twisted fact that as politicians aim and fire for their campaign donors, when in reality it is a goldmine waiting to be tapped.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Is it just me or did Walmart pull a fast one and cut 4/5ths the sugar out of their 2ltr Cola

It isn't labelled diet, and the 12ounce Cola cans are crammed with sugar, but their 2ltr bottles have 1/5th the sugar of a regular coke or Pepsi (and about half the price too)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I know I've said it before, but it's worth repeating.

There is only one reason why we, in the USA, are paying +$3.50/gallon for gasoline. It's because our energy policy was created by politicians (too stupid to ever hold a real job), for politicians (to fund their re-election campaigns).

Most people don't know that before we had the department of energy, we EXPORTED oil... now we import half of all we use.

Back during WWII, the Germans ran out of oil, so they made it out of coal with a rather simple process. Some parts of Africa still use this system today, but not us... not the country that has a 1,000 years of coal. We refuse to use it.

Ethanol is made from corn, and every year we destroy enough of our crops to end starvation on the entire planet, just to create enough ethanol to replace the oil that we could easily get from ANWAR or the Canadian pipeline. Our 'moral' politicians would literally rather see millions of poor starve to death every year than let the Indians in Alaska drill another well in the dirt.

To me, this isn't the moral decision.

But you see, corn is political. It has a powerful lobby behind it. The politicians give the farmers 'subsidies' then 'mandate' that we buy it (driving up the price/profits in the process), then the farmers give the politicians a nice kickback for their campaigns every few years.

You see, if a politician can't find the re-election money in it, they just won't do it. Period.

But what if engineers looked at the same problem?

Well, as a simple engineering problem, oil wells are easy to drill. We know where the oil is, how to get it, and about how much it will cost. If you take zoning and permits out of the equation (BUT still meet all the safety standards!) we could be energy independent within 5 years and an exporter in 10. Easily. There really is no question about it. And we would make enough to last for the next 100 years just with today's technology. Easily.

"But oil is bad!"

Well, take a step back and look at ethanol again and remember it's made out of a crop that could literally feed millions, each and every year.

Ethanol is very close to methanol, chemically as well as in spelling. But they come from profoundly different sources.

Ethanol is made by fermenting sugars. It turns calories, the food part of food, into fuel. It's an alcohol almost the same as moon shine and made in a similar way.

Methanol is also called 'wood grain' alcohol. Wood grain doesn't depend on bacteria to break down sugars, and, in fact, it doesn't need sugars at all. With a name like wood grain, you already know it can be made from wood, but it can really be made from nearly anything. Coal, natural gas, scrap wood, kindling, corn cobs/stalks, hay (even rotted or moldy), grass clippings, tree leaves/branches/debris, peanut shells, garbage, old paper... pretty much anything that will burn can be turned into methanol. It is simply the most versatile and easily obtained liquid fuel in the world.

Simply put, you can make literal tons of this green fuel from what's discarded and left behind on the fields AFTER you've fed millions of people... today, on an industrial scale, but ONLY if that fuel is methanol.

Have a bad crop, drought, fire? Doesn't matter. You can make up the shortfall with coal, natural gas, wood scraps, lawn clippings... the list is endless and it all make exactly the same grade of methanol.

Methanol is a vastly superior fuel for energy independence and is environmentally greener than ethanol. It was a win win with everything going for it as the green fuel of choice. As a simple engineering equation, it was elegantly simple, perfect, and ideal. In fact, there are a lot of cars on US highways today ALREADY ready to burn it. Mechanically, it's almost identical to a normal car engine, most would require little or no modification. WITHOUT subsidies, it currently goes for $1.30 a gallon, TODAY. It's got everything going for it as the fuel of the future. It can be made from the parts of the plant that nobody eats, paper that nobody wants, kindling and 'waste' wood that is the fuel that burns millions of acres of forests a year (wouldn't it be nice if there was an economical incentive for someone to clean that stuff out : ), garbage, or coal (as we faze out coal powerplants it would be nice to recycle that infrastructure, keep those jobs, and avoid the politics of a "WAR ON COAL"). It has everything going for it...

Except a lobby. And without that, ethanol wins every time.

And corn ethanol wins every time because out of hundreds of politicians, only a handful could tell you the difference between ethanol and methanol. But all of them could tell you they can't get the corn lobby kickbacks when methanol can be made from just about anything... and for a fraction of the price.


This has been a fantastic week for me, if these news trends continue. First, Popular Science did the article on planes being 3-D printed, like in Art and Patent Mine. Now, in the July edition of Science and Technology ( they have my two favorite subjects. Diamonds are now found to handle insane compression in unexpected ways, like I 'predicted' and used in Waffen... and it is closely followed by my next favorite and closely linked technology (in Waffen) and that's the Z-pinch.

Now, if I could just get them to join the two the same way I did : )

Hi, my name is TR Nowry and I am a Meth head

Hi, my name is TR Nowry, and I am a meth head.

For those few of you out there that have read my Hummingbird Series from Art all the way through Daughters of Immortality and into Waffen, you may have noticed my strange and politically incorrect choice of methanol over ethanol as their fuel of choice (and that of the HB series plane).

It wasn't an accident. Methanol is vastly superior as it can be made from plants, coal, and natural gas with much less fuss and on far larger scales than ethanol ever dreamed of doing. Imagine the economics of that kind of versatility. When coal is cheap, we get cheap coal methanol. When natural gas is cheap, we still get cheap methanol. And then there's always the bio-fuel version. That' would protect us from OPEC forever. And it's a mature science (the Germans did it on an industrial scale during WWII)

Now, 7 decades and two oil crisis's later, the House is finally figuring this out too.

Good for them. It's about time.

My Google alerts picked out this gem for me and I thought I'd share it with you. It says it all pretty well. I hope you'll join me and proudly come out as a meth head too : )

Monday, June 17, 2013

10million trespassers

Remember when immigration was 'fixed' in the 80's, you know, the last time the wizards of DC bought votes by passing out amnesty to millions.

Obviously they didn't fix the boarder, because ten times as many illegals are here now than before it was 'fixed'.

But never fear, Rubio has a plan to legalize them, collect a fine this time, and use that to build the fence that should have been built in the 80s.

I have a better plan, one that might actually work.

If a legal citizen got caught on public property after hours, the judge would call that trespassing and can fine them hundreds or thousands of dollars, community service, or any number of other punishments. But if you are caught trespassing from another country, no fines, just catch and release.

In the mix is the fix.

First time you're caught, $200 fine or you stay in jail.

Second time you're caught, it goes up to $500, $1,000, $5,000, then $10,000 and more, but we still don't deport (so long as they can keep paying the fines :)

All that's needed from the politicians is to pass a law allowing local law enforcement to make arrests and charge illegals with the local crime of trespassing (which it is). The federal fence building project would get 1/2 the fine money, while the state coffers would get the rest. This would encourage local law enforcement by giving them a financial benefit from enforcement, much the way speed traps fund entire police departments by writing tickets almost exclusively to out-of-state drivers.

This puts pressure on the illegal communities to leave (or start the process of becoming legal) by taking the financial benefits of staying out of the equation, while also adding a financial incentive to local communities to enforce it.

It's self funding, self deporting, and just the kind of encouragement some who want to be citizens might need to start jumping through the hoops needed to stay.

Monday, May 13, 2013



Wish I had thought of this :)

What a good idea, wish I had thought of including it in a few of my books :) What a perfect way to create livestock feed without cutting into feed for people. If only they could find an 'insect' that loved to be kept cramped and in the dark, could be piled ontop of eachother, ate exclusively farm waste (or wood), and produced rich fertilizer and methanol too.

if only :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Death by 1,040 tax paper cuts.

I was so excited in December when it was clear that, after years of struggling since 2007, I was finally going to break out of the IRS definition of 'hobby' and into the realm of legitimacy that the tax code offers 'real' authors. . .

That's right, this year I go from an EZ to a 1040 long and get to attach a Schedule C, Schedule SE, form 6251, and form 1116. All because I earned $235 more than is allowed under 'Hobby'!

OMG, this shit isn't even written in English! It seems intentionally confusing and is a shining example of why big government IS THE PROBLEM, not the answer.

After a bottle of aspirin (and two of wine) I have decided that I'm not going to put myself through this nightmare again, if I can help it, especially not for just a few hundred dollars. This much teeth pulling and brain strain might have been worth it if I was making thousands (I'm not and probably never will), but certainly isn't justified for this paltry amount.

That said, there are only two solutions to this problem. Either I have to radically increase my deductible expenses, ie buy printers, new laptop, etc, or I have to move most of my books to the free side.

So starting today, I'm making the first three books in the series free, Art, Patent, and Hell. Hopefully that will get me get back down to Hobby again so I don't get punished next April with another avalanche of confounding forms.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

giant snails

When I first heard about the giant, 2lb African snails, I thought hmmm, I wonder how good they are you eat.

I mean I can't think of a creature that would be easier or better to farm. I mean, how hard is it to keep up with snails? We farm rabbits.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cool gadgets

I think it would work better as a ring... perhaps even plutonium powered :)

But a wristband that recognizes writing in the air is a nice first step

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wiki 3D guns

3D printed guns.

So far, the eggheads pioneering the open source 3D printed guns seemed focused on replicating an AR-15. But eventually they'll get over themselves and start picking at the low hanging fruit of that tree.

The gun in "In The Line of Fire" is a perfect example of what can easily be done with 3D printers today.

The gun from the movie was a plastic double barrel 9mm, most likely, and it walked past metal detectors with ease. Because 'Booth' only intended to fire two shots from the gun, it didn't need to be built to the high demands of an AR-15. And for self-defense purposes most people who would like to have a gun won't be firing hundreds of rounds through it. They want it for peace of mind, and want to have it around 'just in case'. Lots of gun owners would be fine with just such a disposable gun that could only be fired a few times before it destroyed itself.

And most fire fights happen within 16', even a sloppy, inaccurate gun like this would do the job just fine (if it had, say 25 rounds instead).

Enter 3D printing.

For a movie and a skilled model maker, two barrels would be difficult enough to get to work reliably.

But for a 3D printer, making 25 barrels and 25 firing pins would be simple. And because it lacks a removable clip, it would be exempt from the current gun bans as written. 25 rounds of 9mm would make a barrel 3"x3"x6" long. The trigger could be as simple as pulling a blocking strip from between the pin and the back of the bullet. As strips, it could be fired as fast as an automatic with a quarter a trigger pull being geared to firing a quarter of the bullets.

Of course, disposable guns that can be burned in a fire after use and only cost a few dollars in plastic and an hour or two of assembly would have criminal applications too.

But ponder this, with 3D printing, guns like this can be made to look and feel like toys, even super soakers or ray guns, making them difficult to confiscate if homeland security starts going door to door to confiscate your 'real' guns. Why else has Homeland Security bought enough bullets to fight the Iraq war for 25 years, if not to disarm law biding citizens?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Emu love

I always loved the lowly emu, and it found its way into two of my books. But I never thought emu oil would be worth $10 an OUNCE :)­emu-oil-aids-the-survival-of-an-unusual-industryhtml?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Sent from my LG phone

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Using "inkjet" printers to "print" computer circuits.

I love seeing articles like this.

You won't believe the 'hate' I got for including a few scenes in my books about printing circuit boards and processors with semi-conducting inks in inkjet printers. I was laughed at and ridiculed, some can still be found in the bad reviews on B&N and Amazon.

But, in 2013, it's starting to become reality.

If you stop and think about it, this is really a 3D printer for circuits, and I love the possibilities this opens up when you combine it with the world 3D printers open up for amateur inventors and home users (something I also took a lot of hate mail for). Since most things mechanical have at least some electronics imbedded, it only makes sense these two inventions will inevitably be brought together at the home user level.

Need a new tablet, but it doesn't need to be as smart or powerful as an iPad?

Just print one out. The processors in the iPad and a typical laptop are tiny and as fast and nimble as a racecar. But if all you're going to do with it is check your email, read some books, play words with friends and suduko then you really only need something with the power and smarts of a scooter, well within range of these inky things.

The printed circuits will be 'bigger', as governed by their droplet size, but bigger has advantages too. Bigger is often cheaper, and it's always easier to make gallons of 'ink' than billions of clean-room silicon chips. And the use of these new inks will let designers optimize the electronics for specialized applications, like those from above.

I believe it'll start a new way of thinking, away from smaller and smaller and into form following function. The processor inside an iPad just has to be smaller than the iPad, it doesn't need to fit on a postage stamp like it does now. It can take up the entire back of the screen if it needs too, or be part of the plastic case. And these inks, inherently, will be layered atop one another into thicker and thicker sheets. Eventually, you'll have inks that make up the screen (already do with Einks on Kindles and Nooks) and the batteries (again, already here), these transistors, diodes, and capacitors are the last few ingredients in the soup.

I see a day when, instead of printing books out with your printer, you print out Ebook readers, preloaded with a library already in them, or the latest iPhone design is just downloaded from the iStore and printed out on your home 3D printer with electronic inks, no trips into town required.

I'm just glad to be around to watch it slowly happen, with a constant trickle of articles like these.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mom just ditched Verizon's $45/month landline...

Mom just ditched Verizon's $45/month landline... for Walmart's $15/month StraightTalk "home phone"... that uses Verizon's cellphone towers to make all its calls. Her reason, "Verizon charges too much" I love irony :)

We'll see how this works out, but with unlimited talk @ $15/m it'll have to be horrible for her to send it back.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Best way to spend a weekend ...

Best way to spend a weekend .... tea with my 2 favorite strippers... Cinnamon and Ginger :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The NRA is so MAD...

The NRA is so MAD... they'd rather see your kids die than let common sense legislation repeal the 2nd amendment.

Did that get your attention?

Good. It isn't far off the thinking in some circles. But what a lot of us common sense gun owners are really saying is why don't we just copy the highly successful Air Marshal program and adapt it for use in schools?

The air marshal program, as you know, puts an under cover, but armed, person on every flight, or random flights (nobody really knows for sure, they're under cover!). This way the bad guys are forced to assume that all hijackers will have at least one armed marshal to overcome. That ain't easy math, as the last few years have proved.

We can use this program for schools too. But, ironically, it can cost NOTHING, AND be 100% gun free!

Again, go back to the air marshal example. The marshal doesn't need to be visible. He doesn't need to advertise. He doesn't even need to be on the plane for the passengers to reap the benefits of the program.

The same holds true for schools. You don't have to arm teachers or janitors, you just have to SAY YOU DO, and as long as the next Prozac-snorting teen-age psycho THINKS at least a few teachers and staff are ARMED, then the rampage will happen someplace else (most likely on-line in a video game, where when people shoot back it isn't so fatal).

Unfortunately, it's easy to tell when a cop is stationed at a school and when he isn't, as VA tech proves. All the shooter had to do was wait quietly until the uniform cops in their obvious cars were gone. He didn't have to fear the students, teachers, janitors, or anyone without a badge and lights on the roof.

The power of the air marshals isn't in the guns that they pack. It's in the doubt it places in the criminal mind. Who's armed? Who isn't? spotting a cop in uniform is too easy and won't save any children from harm. But not knowing which teacher is packing will. And the beauty of it all is that NONE of the teachers has to actually be armed.

You could protect a school by just putting up a dozen certificates of completion for firearms training on the bulletin board. . . names left out, for obvious reasons, of course