Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Virginian: Protection against hyper-inflation

The Virginian: Protection against hyper-inflation: "The most cautious, conservative people are hurt worst. People who keep their money in cash or in checking accounts can be wiped out as currency becomes worthless. Pensioners are next since most pensions are not tied to inflation. Bond holders are next as bond values evaporate.

Who is the beneficiary of hyper-inflation? People who are in debt have their debts essentially erased by hyper-inflation. Of course the biggest debtor in this country is the US government who can magically erase its debt through hyper-inflation.

But what about the ordinary middle class American who has a home, a 401k, a modest savings or investment account? Well “real” assets like natural resources (including gold) will keep up with inflation. So will real estate."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Toy Whimsy: You Can Move Things With the Power of Your Mind!

Toy Whimsy: You Can Move Things With the Power of Your Mind!: "I just love this! In a few more years we'll be able to...remember we had this kind of technology but don't have the money to buy it."

And that is the problem.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Project BLT @ One Hungry Chef

Project BLT @ One Hungry Chef

This is how you do it from scratch. He starts with seawater to make the salt. These are good skills to know.

But there are a lot of things he didn't have to make: the hardware. That is rather hard. There is a lot of hope still.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Howard Jacobson: It doesn't matter if there's a recession or not, because Armageddon is on its way - Howard Jacobson, Commentators - The I

Howard Jacobson: It doesn't matter if there's a recession or not, because Armageddon is on its way -
Howard Jacobson, Commentators - The Independent
: "More than a whiff of Armageddon in the air these last few days, what with Sydney Harbour turning blood red and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeating his Holocaust-was-a-lie libel at the United Nations, a denial carrying in its coat-tails the threat that it won't be a lie the next time."
I still don't think we are all going to end up eating each other in a Mad Max scenario, but perhaps a quick descent into Dark AGes 2.0. A major war, some global cooling and a deadly pandemic could do that quickly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Volokh Conspiracy - Should Laws Be Simple or Complicated? A Dialogue:

The Volokh Conspiracy - Should Laws Be Simple or Complicated? A Dialogue:: "The exchange below between Eric Posner and Jonathan Adler brings up the classic tension between simple laws and more complicated ones,"

Oh bother, I though laws should be clear and judges existed to do the interpreting not the lawyers or the lawmakers or even the laws themselves.

It looks like something is pushing the legal system off balance.

US Scientific Literacy doubles - rises to only pathetic

The literature of truth | Free Newsletter: "According to Dr. Jon D. Miller, Director of the Center for Biomedical Communications, the number of scientifically literate adults in the U.S. has doubled over the past 20 years.

The bad news? That only gets us up to 20 percent.

Only 48 percent of Americans know that humans didn’t live at the same time as dinosaurs. Less than half know that electrons are smaller than atoms. And few know what DNA is or can define a molecule."

How can that be? Public schools have been pushing science hard since Sputnik. Since then we've been to the Moon, and have built a few space stations.
I hardly expect your average person to MacGyver a radio out household junk but come on.

There is something deeply wrong with the public schools if this is the case. And you wonder why I am worried about another Dark Age.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics: "“You’re not making heat, you’re moving heat,” Colorado geothermal installer Jim Lynch says. Installations like Lynch’s tap into the earth below the frost line—which always stays around 50 degrees Fahrenheit—to reduce a home’s heating and cooling loads. All HVAC systems require energy-intensive heat movement, a task responsible for over half of the average house’s total energy demand. Geothermal works more efficiently because the system’s mild starting point creates an efficient shortcut to the target temperature. Imagine a 100-degree Florida day or a 0-degree Michigan night: Spot the system 50 degrees, and it doesn’t work so hard to get the house comfortable."

That 50 degrees makes a big difference. That's why lots of people use their basements as an air conditioned zone in the summer time.

We have an awful lot of things we can do to reduce and otherwise streamline out energy usage. We can really reduce the amount of energy we use by doing fairly simple things to our homes.

The oddest thing is the first question people ask is, "What's the payback?"
That is one of those totally insane questions that seems to exist only to stop you from doing something. Like "What about their socialization?" like the most important part of your child's education is their socialization, surrounded by other unsocialized children with just one enlightened teacher in the room, where they have to sit down and be quiet.

A solar power system for your home costs about as much as an SUV and no one ever asks about the payback on that. Hint: there isn't one.

There trouble is that they don;t have a good financing system for these alternative energy systems. It isn't that they can't do it. Look at Town & Country Foods, you can buy food and a freezer on a 6 month payment plan. You would think it would be possible to create a 36 month payment plan for an energy system that is worth incredible amounts when the utilities fail. Some politician may be needed to do this but it isn't very sexy or shovel-ready. Oh, well.