Monday, March 31, 2008

Gas Prices Climbing

So here we are, gas prices are going up, and the cost of everything is climbing due to higher gas prices. Everyone is decrying politicians fault, but no one is listening. The problem is not a lack of oil. There is 25% more supply than demand, and that will remain for quite some time. The problem is not politicians fault. I don’t see them drilling or selling oil. The market is scared, not of high oil, but of what might, maybe happen in 20 years if a billion Indians all get cars, and 1.5 billion Chinese all get cars. Then we would see more demand than supply, and the price today is rising because that might, maybe happen some time in the future if nothing changes.

Here are my solutions :

1) Big rig trucks. Little has changed to engines, and almost nothing to air efficiency in 30 years. You can make trucks FAR more aerodynamic and save 20-40% of the fuel costs without even touching the engine. Not just with Hybrid, but with new designs for engines, you can increase efficiency even more. It is not impossible to have a big rig getting 3x the current miles on a tank. There are Hybrids out there, but very few, and truckers have not even considered them in mass.

2) Nothing. The market will correct itself. As gas goes up, more people will look at getting a car rather than the super duty 3500 to haul groceries and pickup the kids. Every time I see a soccer mom in a dually I laugh a little. Even a minivan gets 25mpg, that super duty is about 12mpg on a good day. (I know someone with a F250 and his onboard computer shows 11mpg all the time.)

3) Research. E85 and Hybrids are only stopgap measures. Fuel cell or Electric direct are solutions. Until solutions hit the market working, and workable long term, we will still use oil.

What about beyond oil? Well we could use Methane ice from the ocean floor. There is around 50x as much of it as the world has oil and coal combined.

Or we can follow the lead of the new movie 11th hour and simply allow the UN to systematically eliminate all but 1 billion people, remove all industrial equipment, including concrete, and all exotic metals, and everyone go back to 1400’s technology. The movie asserts the most people earth can support is 1 billion pre industrial, and that is all we should ever have.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brazilian Children (The next generation)

On Orkut, a friend was asked by another friend about child poverty in Brazil. Now, I have friends in Brazil who know far better than me, and I don't pretend to know more than them, but I do have some ideas, and knowledge after being down there a couple times.

First thing to think about is parents. Child poverty is not a question of children, but families. If parents are impoverished, then the children will grow up in a impoverished home. One thing leads to another. With northern Brazil having such high unemployment rates, there is little chance for people get out of the poverty they find themselves in. To solve child poverty, you must spur business development, and create jobs.

Brazils own internal laws, taxes, are preventing this to some degree. By having such high import taxes, other countries return in kind taxes on goods exported. Brazil needs to be pressured to adopt a new type of tax revenue source and restructure their current import/export laws. This is dangerous for the government, and not overly popular, so would be unexpected. It would seriously help. There is no reason with all the political infighting with China, that Brazil could not pickup much of the business for manufacturing that is currently going to China. China is further form the US and Europe than Brazil, meaning it would cost less to transport it. Brazil has a more stable government. This could be a big win for Brazil if they found a way to make this work.

Second, one generations poverty propagates itself on a second and third generation by restricting, and limited education to the next generations. One problem Brazil has is a population explosion which has forced them to limit school to only 4 hours a day, and some teachers having to teach multiple classes at once. If the UN, or US, or other agency could augment the Brazilian Educational budget, and diplomatically get Brazil to change some of the curriculum in such a way that it more greatly emphasizes technology, they could come out in one to two generations with where India and other countries are today with a new generation of tech savy business people.

In the end it all comes down to money. to implement either of these, Brazil would need large sums of money and they have never had an over abundance of it. At the same time as all of this, since Columbia has been doing a good job fighting drug dealers, and Venezuela is becoming harder to export out of since the US and Europe are not treated as nice by the current government as previous governments, Drug Czars and their influence is moving across into far northern Brazil. If anything, the US/UN/EU needs to make sure the Brazilian government is strong so we don't end up with what we had in Columbia in the 80s again.

How the UN could do anything about this, I’m not sure. Takes the UN 20 years to agree that snow exists, and 50 years to agree that a coat is good to wear in snow. Christmas is slow in coming every year. Congress takes years to do anything. The UN takes decades.

Just some ideas I have. Maybe I’m nuts. Ask Erika, she may agree that I’m nuts!

Missing Hiker

About twice a year someone is ‘lost’ on Mount Rainier. I have hiked up mountains in Colorado before, and it is pretty similar to Washington State. Unless it’s a busy trail mountain (Flat Top in Rockey Mountain National Park has well over 500 people a day climb it) then you do need to take certain precautions. Problem is no one ever does.

Now someone else is missing, on Mount Rainier, and guess what he was wearing yesterday. Pants, Shirt, and baseball cap. Missing for 24 hours now. I pray for his safe recovery, but weather there has turned bad, and he was not prepared for overnight stay.

Here are some things to take with you in a backpack.

Extra shirt

Waterproof overpants


Water Proof Jacket

Small/medium LED waterproof flashlight

Extra pair of socks

A rapid charge battery for your cell phone.


Separate leatherman tool

2 small ½ liter bottles of water

2 power bars or granola bars

1 apple/banana/etc

The biggest problem you need to worry about isn’t weather changing, it is you breaking a leg, or falling and twisting your ankle, or something where you can not make it back down. That is when these things come in handy. If you are missing, a flashlight at night would be a beacon to any helicopter or rescue worker. LED Flashlights last for thousands of hours of use. You could keep it on and pointed somewhere all night for several nights.

Even if you have no cell phone service leaving it on could help rescue workers find you, but only if it has power. I personally never had a problem, but it would happen the one time my battery was low or something.

Why waterproof if it gets cold? Well Snow and Ice melts. For 24 hours your body heat with 2 shirts, sweater, and waterproof jacket is more than fine.

Obviously this is in addition to what you plan on eating and drinking on the hike. So if you are stuck. Save this till day 2. Have 1 bottle of water and 1 bar a day. This will give you quite a few days of life. Between the flashlight, cell phone, and as long as you are ON a trail, then this should be more than good enough to allow a ranger to find you.

AND PLEASE PLEASE ALWAYS CHECK WEATHER BEFORE YOU GO UP! Mountains are not like valleys. I have been in Colorado when it snowed in June or July, so check the weather. They have peak warnings, mountain advisories, etc if something is happening. PLEASE CHECK !!

UPDATE --- The hiker was found dead, I am VERY sorry to hear this. My prayers go out to the family. I wish there was better news.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Let me go over this again. There still seems to be enough people clamoring for blood over Man Made Global Warming. I do not argue there is no warming, I ague that man-kind is not the blame.

I do not reject CO2 as a greenhouse gas, it is one, a minor one, but one. So is water vapor and about half a dozen other elements in the atmosphere. Humans are not the only source for CO2 however. Livestock, and animals produce quite a healthy amount, and the oceans extrude ginormous amounts of CO2. Other things like Volcano’s, and dieing vegetation also give off CO2. Last year CO2 in the atmosphere went up by 0.52%, what percentage was manmade and what was the other items? Oceans are by far the largest contributor, but even if man was half, say 0.26%. Has our output gone up 100% in the last few years? Because just a few years ago it was 0.42% increase yearly. If the others remain the same at 0.26, then man in 5 years has gone from 0.16 to 0.26. Problem is the others have not stayed the same. Oceans are producing more, and 2007 was a very active volcano year globally.

In the last few months the global temperature has dropped significantly. More so than any time in 150 years, does that mean coming iceage? No.

I also like it when talking heads on TV say a 5 degree change (equal to 5 centuries like the 20th) will melt the poles. Do these people understand the temperature there? Highs were -27C and -41C the other day. COME ON !!! 5 degrees means -22C and -36C as a high. I think water is still frozen at those temperatures.

Personally I think a global cooling is far worse for us than warming. Warming means more crops later in the season, and more farmland opening up. Cooler means the opposite. Warming means we can feed 8-12 billion people, cooling means we can feed 5, so the rest just die.

Also, I live in a wood frame house. I am typing on a wood table. My bed frame is made mostly of wood (it has some large screws and corner pieces that are metal). All of this is taking carbon OUT of the atmosphere. America has the same forest area today we had in the 1800’s because we manage it properly. Dallas Texas was all sand and dust 100 years ago, and today it has 5 lakes (manmade) and lots of trees. If anything, man has helped the environment around here.

How many years of driving a V6 does it take to equate the carbon removed by building a house and furniture our of wood and wood products? (not counting all the wood in offices, banks, etc.)

Sometime I’ll tell you about something that happened in Arkansas 20 years back with Greenpeace and ‘saving’ trees.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hacking the Pentagon

Every hacker worth 2 cents has claimed (legit or not) to have gained access to the CIA, FBI, Pentagon, or Whitehouse at some point. 99.9% of these have been hacking the public web site, or BBS in the early days. In neither case was anything remotely sensitive at risk unless someone from the inside made it so. The remaining 0.1% about 99% of them were people hacking an outlying network, or server, again not associated with isolated, internal communications. There have been a couple of complete legitimate hacks, but from what I heard, neither were prosecuted. In fact, both resulted in jobs.

Now some Chinese guys who spend all day in WoW say they got into the Pentagon. I say, ‘whatever’. If they did, it sure wasn’t the internal network. Most people on the outside have no idea how they isolate the network. Lets just say you can’t get there from here. The only way in, is through a computer on the inside.

It grabs headlines, and make more of a political statement, but the real fear isn’t some hacker on the Internet accessing a network with no ties to the Internet. The big fear is someone getting a job at the Pentagon, or at a subcontractor who has direct access to the DARPA network directly. Some times I just wish the media would hire someone who knows SOMETHING about computers, and networks before they run with a story about them.

Maybe I’m asking too much.