Energy

I realized I hadn’t actually defined what energy was. This is important if you are facing an energy crisis. Energy is the ability to do work.

Energy is conserved, meaning that:

Energy cannot be created or destroyed , only transformed from one form to another.

Energy is either potential (stored) or kinetic (in motion).

Most of the energy the earth receives is sunlight, which is converted by plants to chemically sorted energy such as sugars.

Animals get their energy from either eating plant or other animals.

Fossil fuels (oil, coal,and gas)  are remnants of plants that died a very long time ago and were modified by bacteria in the absence of oxygen.

Some of the energy that is extractable on earth is geothermal driven by the movement of molten and semi molten rock deep under the surface of the earth.

Energy is tidal motion is derived from the gravitational pull exerted by the moon.

Energy is wind and temperature differences is is generated by the sun.

In physics , engineering and other sciences energy is measured in Joules [ kg m² / s² ].

Power is the energy consumed or released in a given unit of  time.  Power is not conserved

Bike power: version 2 – field test

Bike power complete. Bike, bike stand, 3 phase rectifier, capacitor,  6 Amp solar battery charge controller, 12V bulb.

Bike power complete. Bike, bike stand, 3 phase rectifier, capacitor, 6 Amp solar battery charge controller, 12V bulb.

The bike ( on a bike stand ) were attached to the 3 phase rectifier and the 1 Farad capacitor to produce 12V DC.

The wheel is a  200 W 36V wheel so the bike could only be operated at a low ( comfortable) speed to prevent too much voltage and too much current.

A 12V 50W dichroic light bulb was added to show it was really working.

capacitor at 13.6 Volts and 50Watt 12 Volt dichroic light working.

capacitor at 13.6 Volts and 50Watt 12 Volt dichroic light working.

PV charge controller added using the bike as the power input instead of the solar panel and battery charger was used.

Probably best for charging a small device unless you want to pedal the bike for a long time.

Future additions:

36 to 12 volt step down for a higher current lower voltage system.

replace the back tire with a smooth tread tire.

Paint can rocketstove: field test

Rocket stove made from a paint can and 3 smaller 300 gram food cans. Small rocks used to create gap between pot and stove

Rocket stove made from a paint can and 3 smaller 300 gram food cans. Small rocks used to create gap between pot and stove

This rocket stove was was constructed out of a 5 Liter ( 1.32 US  gallons ) paint can and 3  x 300gram  ( 10 ounce) food cans. The grey paint was not fully removed from the can and some is still visible. I would recommend that if a paint can was used the paint is completely removed with an appropriate solvent, turpentine or water depending on the type of paint base. If a solvent is not available the can can be heated in an open fire to burn out the remaining paint.

Boil time for 1 liter of water approximately 10 minutes.

dry wood ash was used as insulation.

Some small rocks were use to create the pot stand.

The paint can handle was left on to create an easy way to move the stove.

Addition of the fuel shelf helped the stove produce better air flow an prevents over filling with wood fuel, the shelf was held securely in place with a small rock.

close up of paint can rocket stove fuel shelf. Small rock holding shelf in place, some holes in shelf for better air flow.

close up of paint can rocket stove fuel shelf. Small rock holding shelf in place, some holes in shelf for better air flow.

Complaining does not help

Complaining will not make a bad situation better.

I went for a hike recently.
The brief for the journey was that we were to go about 3 km on mostly dirt roads to a creek.
The environment was dry Australian forest, mostly eucalyptus trees.
Thinking that the creek would be full of fresh water I foolishly didn’t take any water.
The journey was mostly down hill on the way there. The weather turned from warm to hot and humid.
The creek turned out to be a largely stagnant trickle. I had no way to purify the little water that was there.
Fortunately my companions had brought some water with them, but on the way back to camp we quickly ran out.
I was beginning to suffer the effects of dehydration and heat exhaustion. I felt very tired and even a few minutes walking was exhausting.
We stopped many times on the way back to the camp for me to recover some strength.
My friend asked me on the way back during one of our many stops ” What’s the most important thing for survival?”

Immediately I said “Knowledge”

Had I known the water in the creek was not drinkable I would have taken water.

Had I known the weather would become so hot and humid I would not have carried a jacket in my bag.

Once we had arrived back at camp we all drank lots of water and rested.

My friend commended me on not complaining about my obviously exhausting return journey.

I said ” Complaining never helps, so there’s not point in doing it”

He nodded knowingly.

Hearing the complaints of other people simply converts their problem into your problem.
It multiplies their irritation and makes that person your irritation.
One person complaining a lot can really destroy the morale of a group,
and then people will start arguing and fighting rather than attempting to solve the real problems they are being faced with.

So in the forest (or other places away from civilization) there will be hardships,
how you deal with them physically and emotionally is your choice.

Occasionally the person suffering will be you, it’s easy to ask people to not complain when you are not the person suffering.
When the suffering person is you, remember to not complain, you won’t be respected for your weaknesses, but you will be respected for being laconic.

Luck, opportunity and preparation

Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet.

Seneca first century Roman philosopher

So to be lucky you must be prepared. An opportunity without the correct preparation is often lost.

I was lucky last night, a huge number of hits came in for this blog last night from the USA.  I helps me to feel that I’m making a difference. Of course the preparation was that the blog was already in existence and the hit counter was there ready to measure the event.

It was good to get the encouragement.

So for all the US readers who were we browsing while I was snoozing, “Y’all come back now y’hear, and bring your friends, there’s plenty of knowledge for everyone”

Scram Bag:The Needle

 

A needle, more useful and more difficult to make than you think.

 

Why is this so significant?

Yes it is a needle, it is used for sewing materials together.

The reason it is significant is because it is the oldest tool ever discovered that was not designed for killing or eating.

The first tool of construction. Men and women made clothes and other usefull items from this one giant leap in technology. It’s our first actual tool of construction. Everything before it was a tool for cutting, chopping, crushing or stabbing. Most previuos tools made things smaller, except this one which made things bigger. The first bone needles were found 6000BC older than recorded civilisation itself, You might assume it was a prerequisite for civilisation.

If you still think the needle is insignificant, try to make one that works well. you’ll find it’s very hard to do.

Using this knowledge imagine what would happen when civilsation as we know it collapses. The factories that currently produce needles would likely cease production at least for a time. Trade and transport networks will be disrupted perhaps permanently. The production of new clothes would likey halt. People would have worn and damaged clothes and be perhaps unable to replace them. New clothes may become rare and expensive to manufacture. Clothes are made of woven threads, theads will not be scarce. Needles possibly will be. Needles will likely become quite valuable. It’s possible may become a form of currency or at the very least a valuable item of barter. It’s clear that needles will be far more valuable than they are today.

Less obvious uses for a needle:

A needle can be bent and turned into a fishing hook.

Needles can be used as pins for sewing.

Needles can be used to clean out a wound or prick open a blister.

A magnetised needle floating on still water can be used as a compass.

Needle can be use to clear a small blockage in a metal filter or small gague pipes.

Stitching a wound closed.