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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Part 1 of the daily Grindstone: The Commute

Many of us have jobs, or school, or some other daily function of society that we travel to, and at the end of the day, we travel home from.  National Statistical Averages reports an average one-way commute time of 26 minutes (over an average distance of 16 miles). But the variance is huge: On the best days, the average commute is 19 minutes; on the worst days, 46 minutes. That means traffic, at its worst, can double the average commute time, adding 27 minutes each way.  That means that on average, we Americans spend roughly an hour to an hour and a half every day in a car, travelling 30 to 35 miles.  If your the standard person you do this 5 times a week, 49 weeks a year.
Doing the math, that means in a year, you put 7350 to 8575 miles on your car just idling in traffic to get to work in your gas guzzler, putting in about 429 gallons of fuel. At the current national average, this means you spend 1,287 dollars a year, just on the gas you spend while driving to work and home.  That's not counting trips to the store, vacations, dinners out, and everywhere else you travel in your car.  The Average Family in america puts roughly 20,000 to 25,000 miles on their car every year, and trade in their car every 4-6 years.

Let that soak in for a few moments....

Ask yourself what you would do to spend less money on fuel in this country.  As yourself if an Alternative fuel vehicle would work for you. Ask yourself if you can afford a new vehicle. Now ask yourself if you could afford it if it paid you back...

Take into consideration the money you'd save on Gasoline. Take into consideration the tax write-off of $3,500 every year for 5 years ($17,500 total) just for owning an alternative fuel vehicle that produces less emissions then a standard fuel vehicle.  Now take into consideration the social global impact... The oil spill in the gulf, the war in Iraq (which we all know is over the oil) the rising taxes, the damaged economy, the pollution, all are factors of our dependence of gasoline to get to and from work.

I present to you the alternative... I present to you the future.
MDI CitiAirFlow
MDI (Motor Development International) has spent years developing a modern take on an old technology.  This is an Air powered car, thats right AIR.  It utilized a modernized version of a steam powered piston system, only instead of using water and heat to make pressurized air on board, it uses previously compressed air stored in large tanks in its belly, to power the car to comparable highway speeds (85mph max) for a distance of approximately 1000 miles per fill of the tanks (which takes roughly 5-10 minutes using a gas or electric powered air compressor roughly 1 cubic foot in size.  Some models even come equipped with an air compressor powered by the engines pulley system so as to provide a partial fill while driving.
This model here, the CitiAirFlow, seats 6 comfortably, has all the modern amenities as a standard automobile, except it produces ZERO emissions.  Here's the best part, this baby is DOT and EPA rated for US Sales, and if you order one, will only set you back around $24,000.  Now I know what your thinking, but here me out.  While 24,000 is a lot of money, most finance a car for 5 years anyways.  Now do the math.

   24,000     Car purchase price (financed for 5 year)
- 17,500     Green Air Act Tax Rebate (over 5 years)
     6,500/5 (number of years) = 1,300 per year is your total expense (not including taxes and tags)

bare in mind you CURRENTLY spend 1,287 dollars a year on fuel just going back and forth to work... if you put 10,000 miles on your car every year (half the national average), you currently spend $30,000 on gas alone.  With the money you save on gas, you could pay this car off in less then a year!

Did I mention this isn't the economy version?  The OneFlowAir seats 3 to 5 (depending on configuration) and totes a price tag of LESS then $10,000 Dollars US and if applied to the above mathematical model, pays for itself with the tax credit alone, let alone the savings on fuel!
MDI OneAirFlow

With all of these factors, the only question really is, who can we as a society NOT afford vehicles like this? How can we continue to guzzle down fossil fuels like there's plenty of it to last until  the sun burns out, when the truth is, there's no need for it at all?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some changes...

many of you may have noticed the subtle changes happening on the site in regards to the ads.  I know you fine folks don't come here just for the advertisements, and many of you actually enjoy my blog, but I've tried to team with an ad company whose advertisements would be relevant to my blog posts, and as such, if you saw same thing you liked while reading it, I would figure that you, and an educated person, would click on them to research or buy more.  While tis logic is sound, it doesn't work if the ad's aren't relative to the intrests of the site or its viewers, so with that I shed my ways with Google Adsense (the native monetize for , and moved solely to Adbrite, a company with whom I was running parallel ads as Adsense.
After dropping the few Adsense ads I had (as opposed to the single Adbrite ad I had) I replaced them with Adbrite Ad's and everything seemed to be going according to plan, except somewhere in there, the bids for ads on my site apparently dropped to less then a penny per click (or thats all they were paying) and they dropped their referral program, and didn't notify anyone.
So now, I'd tired of their antics and backwards policies, and have switched yet again, this time to BidVertiser, which seems to be promising (we'll see how it goes).  As for you folks out there using your blogs to try and earn some pocket change, I can tell you that from what I've seen BidVertiser seems to be on equal footing ad Adsense, and pays out monthly (as opposed to Adbrite's 60 day hold policy) and payment is instant if you use PayPal.  So with this in mind, If you'd like to have a look-see, please visit the referral link in the upper right hand of my blog.  So while this ad didn't tell you how to build anything, it certainly tells you how to maintain a profit (or start making one) of something your already doing online... Blogging.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Low Cost Geo-Thermal

So you have a house, and you have a yard, and you want to know how to make them work in harmony, but you don't want to break your wallet, well leys look at exactly what your gonna need to do it.

1 - a shovel, Because just because its cheap, doesn't mean your not going to have to work for it.
2 - a hole saw
3 - a rope, string, twine, something long, at least 100 feet, that you can use to mark your path
4 - a phone
5 - 72 feet of 4 inch PVC piping, sold in 8 foot sections
6 - four 45 degree angles for 4" pvc pipe
7 - four 90 degree angles for 4 inch pvc pipe
8 - about  a dozen 4" to 4" pvc couplers.
9 - pvc glue
10 - two 4 inch computer exaust fans
11 - a good weekend of nice weather.

All in all the materials  should run you less then 100 dollars, which while it's still no chump change, isn't all that hard to save.

Now I'm going to be using my house as an example, but if you don't have a basement, you at least have a crawlspace, and this is going to require getting under your house.  You're going to want to choose a room that has two air vents, as your going to be using them, unless you want to cut 2 holes in your wall.
Your going to have to use the rope to mark out a distance straight away from the wall of the house about 35-40 feet, then turn 90 degrees, measure another 8 to 16 feet, and turn 90 degrees back to the house.  The trick to this is, the short side needs to be the same distance as the air vents are, because the pipe going away and the pipe coming back are going to connect up to those vents.   Once you have your string/rope/etc laid out, get your shovel.  Your going to need to dig the entire length of that rope, from the wall of the house to the bends, then back to the wall of the house.  This hole needs to be at least 30" deep, to clear the north american frost line.  Once you have it dug, take a break, that was a lot of work!
Next your going to connect the pipe together using the couplers, angles and glue, this part should be pretty self explanatory.  The difficult section is using the pipe next to the house, you'll need two 90degree angles to bring the pipe up, then a 45 degree angle to take it into the crawlspace or basement, through the wall.  Once inside connect the other 45 degree to level the pipe out with the floor above you, so you can extend it to the location of the vents.
Remove your vent covers, and insert a 90 degree bend into the vent, facing outward and down, this pipe will be hidden when you put the cover back on, but don't do that just yet. go back under the house and cut your 4 inch hole in the ductwork so you can use a length of pipe to connect the two angled together, Don't forget glue! Seal any gaps in the duct with tape for an airtight seal.
Go back up stairs, and place the fans over the pipes in the air vents, you want one blowing into the pie, and one blowing out.  Wire them both to a  plug close by, and replace our air vent covers.  Air will now circulate through the pipe, colling as the heat is leached into the ground around it, dropping to a nice comfy 65-70 degrees before blowing back into the house.  After several days, it should have lowered the ambient temperature in your house significantly,  decreasing the need for an energy consuming air conditioner.  The best part is, the fans will use less power then a light bulb to run!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The bike, part 1

Since I've had some people ask about it, I figured I'd go into detail a little about it, and maybe even get your advice on a few things.  Bare in mind that bike building, as a process, takes time, way longer then they perceive it to be on TV anyways, especially if your doing it right.  

I've long been in love with Board Track racers, those lords of speed and reckless behavior that risked life and limb on nothing more then over-glorified motorized bicycles, often achieving speeds close to 100 miles an hour, and I'm talking back in 1919 people! You'll notice in the example posted here, that theres even still pedals involved, because you had to pedal it to start, sort of like the mopeds in the 70's and 80's and even still today.  This is my goal, to build something that emulates the past, to show how far we've come, while keeping it simple, and proving that when it comes to style and speed, old school had it to.
Add To this love of board track racers, a love of Bobbers and choppers, (just like almost anyone who's ever lived here in the united states, and you'll see a timeline progression of advancement in bikes that never really veered far off course.  Bobbers, are merely stock bikes, with the minimalist amount of parts and ad on to make it run, While choppers are very similar, a chopper is usually stretched and the front end is kicked out to make it even longer.  Both are great and both are cool in their own right.  And thats where my bike fits in. 
Enter the basis of my bike.  What you see here to the left is none other then a Micargi Leopard. A steel stretched beach cruiser style bike, set in a bobber configuration  on a board track style frame. While this  awesome piece of artwork is formed out of steel, sweat, and attitude, you'll notice its missing some key elements to really make a board track bike, namely, a tank to hold fuel, any form of suspension, and most importantly, an engine.  Now the tank is simple enough, it'll be made of steel as well and designed to fit the the opening in the back bone.  The suspension will be in the way of a replacement front end, in old school springer style, similar to the one pictured above.  Now the engine, now thats a different matter all together.
I've spent the last year of my life thinking about the power plant I want to put into a bike, and I'm still unable to decide.  My three options are;
A) 2-Stroke, essentially making it a beefed up moped style motorbike, only including a transmission so its able to reach  good cruising speed of 50-60mph.
B) Electric, using a 36V electric motor, and beefing it with lithium batteries for maximum power and distance,
C) Steam, using compressed air cylinders to power a steam engine for something different and unique.

While all three appeal to me, and all three are green energy alternatives (thus fitting into my lifestyle nicely) Its that vary factor that is causing such an issue.  I've created a poll, and I'd like to hear your opinions.