Friday, November 30, 2007

Another Detroit Diesel generator

I just found this site by a guy who has the 20 kw version of my 2-71 Detroit Diesel railroad surplus genset. Mine is the 12.5 KW version.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New strain of Ebola

According to this news report, a new strain of Ebola has hit Uganda.
This is a disease that worries me far more than the diseases that are all over the national media nowadays. If you have ever seen the movie "Outbreak", you know what I am talking about. The movie was fairly factual but, unlike most such movies, the reality is worse.
In the linked story, mention is made of the Reston strain outbreak in a primate facility in a Washington, DC suburb. What the story doesn't mention is just how close that came to catastrophe. As it turned out, the Reston strain was not dangerous to humans. Had this not been the case, the outcome would have probably been very different; as the outbreak (which killed every primate in the facility) was not handled at all correctly. For one thing, it wasn't reported as promptly as it should have been, and for another, those who eventually responded did not use proper caution. As I recall, the facility was located in a busy shopping complex, and proper containment protocol was not followed. I'm working from memory here, but this book
has all the details.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Art of Travel

Here is a free ebook called "How to See the World". European and world backpacking on $25 a day or less. You can read it online.

Hunting season

My dad was never very much into hunting. He had guns that he enjoyed
collecting, and he did hunt on occasion, but it was largely because he
felt it was "expected" of him, and he kinda felt like he should be
enjoying it. My grandfather, uncles, etc. were all hunters.
My uncles and cousins were and are into hunting as a sport. My
grandfather, OTOH, hunted as part of a self-sufficient life. Of
course, he did enjoy it, but it was all about getting meat, not a nice
trophy. He also was a market trapper.
I spent a lot of time in my childhood with an older, homesteading
couple. They lived in a tiny old cinderblock house on a few acres with
cattle, a catfish pond, a woodlot, and a machine shed with tractors
and a repair shop. Albert cultivated other people's crops with his
tractors for pay, as well as a few other things; and his wife sewed at
home for income. They raised a large garden and ate and canned its
production, ate fish from the pond, butchered a steer every year, and
Albert hunted. He had a cheap 20 gauge single-shot shotgun and a cheap
.22 rifle, and that was it; but they ate rabbit, squirrel, venison,
etc. on a regular basis, and so did I when I was there.
So I learned hunting primarily from Albert and my grandfather, and
that is the kind of hunter I am still.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A different method of biodiesel production

I hadn't heard of this method. I may try it, but I think I would add a final wash to ensure all the salt is removed. Basically, this means spray water over the top of the fuel, let it settle for a couple of days, then siphon off the oil and heat it to 130F for an hour to remove any residual moisture.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Eveready Bunny generator

Comments found online about these generators:

"Does Detroit Diesel still make the 2-71 engine? I've found some nifty looking generators using this engine, and was wondering if it was a reliable engine? Is it noisy? Thanks."

"The old 2 popper is still running and they will outlast anything made today. The parts are available not the engine. Cylinder heads I have heard are available only via welding shops. They run at 1200 or 1800. Most I have worked on ran at 1200. All were trailer mounted, they just kept running and running. These make the bunny look sick."

"We had 2 2-71 20kw gen on a barge I worked on. Ran 24/7 for years that's right like 20 years. Needed injectors and such but very reliable, the 1200rpm ones are great, pretty quiet also. Just DO NOT over heat them, you need a head gasket after that."

"American Crystal Sugar in Morrhead, Mn has been running a 6-71
continuously since 1959 to run a pump in the rendering process for sugar beets.
It gets shut down once a month for service and is back online within
30 minutes."

Now THAT'S what I call longevity!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A little dirt never hurt anyone...

"That alarmist germophobic mind-set that insists on sanitized overcooked ultra-safe bleached-out everything then grows and mutates and extends well beyond the toilet and the kitchen and the backyard and the human gut, straight into human experience as a whole, resulting in one horrifically bland, edge-free, prefab life.

Tract homes. Cruise ships. Gated communities. Giant, vacuum-sealed malls. Swimming pools with no deep ends. Swimming pools built 50 yards from the warm, dangerous ocean in Hawaii. Theme restaurants. Theme hotels. Theme vacations. Theme nature. Second Life. Megachurches. Groupthink. Intellectual numbness. Spiritual stasis. Rubber gloves. Face masks. Body condoms. Processed foods. Bans on raw milk. Quadruple-washed lettuce. Spitting instead of swallowing. Entire islands and towns built and owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company."

Excerpt. Read more

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Freeculture Manifesto

The mission of the Free Culture movement is to build a bottom-up, participatory structure to society and culture, rather than a top-down, closed, proprietary structure. Through the democratizing power of digital technology and the Internet, we can place the tools of creation and distribution, communication and collaboration, teaching and learning into the hands of the common person — and with a truly active, connected, informed citizenry, injustice and oppression will slowly but surely vanish from the earth.
We believe that culture should be a two-way affair, about participation, not merely consumption. We will not be content to sit passively at the end of a one-way media tube. With the Internet and other advances, the technology exists for a new paradigm of creation, one where anyone can be an artist, and anyone can succeed, based not on their industry connections, but on their merit.
We refuse to accept a future of digital feudalism where we do not actually own the products we buy, but we are merely granted limited uses of them as long as we pay the rent. We must halt and reverse the recent radical expansion of intellectual property rights, which threaten to reach the point where they trump any and all other rights of the individual and society.
The freedom to build upon the past is necessary for creativity and innovation to thrive. We will use and promote our cultural heritage in the public domain. We will make, share, adapt, and promote open content. We will listen to free music, look at free art, watch free film, and read free books. All the while, we will contribute, discuss, annotate, critique, improve, improvise, remix, mutate, and add yet more ingredients into the free culture soup.
We will help everyone understand the value of our cultural wealth, promoting free software and the open-source model. We will resist repressive legislation which threatens our civil liberties and stifles innovation. We will oppose hardware-level monitoring devices that will prevent users from having control of their own machines and their own data.
We won’t allow the content industry to cling to obsolete modes of distribution through bad legislation. We will be active participants in a free culture of connectivity and production, made possible as it never was before by the Internet and digital technology, and we will fight to prevent this new potential from being locked down by corporate and legislative control. If we allow the bottom-up, participatory structure of the Internet to be twisted into a glorified cable TV service — if we allow the established paradigm of creation and distribution to reassert itself — then the window of opportunity opened by the Internet will have been closed, and we will have lost something beautiful, revolutionary, and irretrievable.
The future is in our hands; we must build a technological and cultural movement to defend the digital commons.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


In The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard argues that 100 percent self-ownership is the only principle compatible with a moral code that applies to every person - a "universal ethic" - and that it is a natural law by being what is naturally best for man. He says if every person is not entitled to full self-ownership, then there are only two alternatives: "(1) the 'communist' one of Universal and Equal Other-ownership, or (2) Partial Ownership of One Group by Another - a system of rule by one class over another." He says that it is not possible for alternative (2) to be a universal ethic but only a partial ethic which says that one class of people do not have the right of self-ownership but another class does. This, therefore, is incompatible with what is being sought - a moral code applicable to every person - instead of a code applicable to some and not to others, as if some individuals are humans and some are not. In the case of alternative (1), every individual would own equal parts of every other individual so that no one is self-owned. Rothbard acknowledges that this would be a universal ethic, but, he argues, it is "Utopian and impossible for everyone to keep continual tabs on everyone else, and thereby to exercise his equal share of partial ownership over every other man." He says the system would break down, resulting in a ruling class who specializes in keeping tabs over other individuals. Since this would grant a ruling class ownership rights over its subjects, it would again be logically incompatible with a universal ethic. Even if a collectivist Utopia of everyone having equal ownership of everyone else could be sustained, he argues, individuals would not be able to do anything without prior approval by everyone in society. Since this would be impossible in a large society, no one would be able to do anything and the human race would perish.

This is an excerpt taken from The Wikipedia article "Self-ownership". Click here to read more.
When I find an interesting Wiki article like this, I can spend hours following the links. In fact, I found this one through a link from another article. Travellers, in case you're interested.