Saturday, September 18, 2010

Low Tech is the Best Tech

Have you ever wondered how you can run your car on wood?

Do you want to know if a small wind turbine makes sense for powering your home?

Are you looking for understandable explanations of eco-friendly technologies and if they make economic sense?

Are you interested in the history of technology?

Then take a look at the new addition to my links, Low Tech Magazine. A story about real world testing of small wind turbines caught my attention. From there I found an article about the wood gas powered automobile so prevalent during WW II. From then on I was hooked. The articles are relevant and understandable to the non engineer - and some of them shoot holes in some popular "green" theories.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Am New Orleans

Tail Count and Righteous Fur

The latest statistics are in for the 2009-2010 nutria hunting season. The state pays trappers a $5 bounty per nutria tail as a means of controlling their population (the nutria, not the trappers) and to protect wetlands from their voracious appetites. A total of 445,963 nutria tails were turned in for a net payout of $2.2 million. This season, there were 306 registered trappers, which was up from 262 for the previous season. The poor economy seems to be driving the increased interest in nutria trapping as resourceful Cajuns look for alternative ways earn a living from the land. Over 40% of those trappers turned in 800 or more tails. That makes a nice little side income.

I have blogged about this invasive species before and have provided recipes for cooking them. There is now a site where you can buy clothing made from their fur - and you can do it guilt free because you will be helping the wetlands and employing a trapper.

There's an opportunity here. Most of the nutria carcasses are left in the swamp. If someone could generate a market for their meat and fur, nutria processing could become a growth business. Of course, if they became too popular, folks might want to start breeding them and that's how this whole problem got started.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eid and 9/11

In an ironic planetary confluence between the Islamic and Gregorian Calendars, the feast celebrating the end of Ramadan, Eid al Fitr, occurs on September 10.

Eid Mubarak y'all, but boisterous celebrations will be seen as desecrating the memory of those lost on 9/11/01.

I suggest everyone go read Col. Jeff Cooper's guide to self defense and plan to be at Yellow alert status, and ready to go to Orange, through the weekend. You also might want to avoid flying, being in tall buildings, visiting national monuments and riding subway trains this weekend. And oh yeah - carry 'em if you got 'em.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Finnish War Movies


Release Date: January 1999
Director: Olli Saarela

This movie takes place during the Continuation War between Russia and Finland. A young officer is taking his unit behind the lines on a recon mission. Just before he leaves, he has a chance encounter with his fiance who is a Lotta providing aid to the Finnish soldiers. He later finds out that her convoy was ambushed and she is missing. As you can guess, this has an effect on his behavior while on the patrol.

The stars are the husband and wife team of Peter Franzen and Irina Bjorklund. They usually appear in movies together and recently are spending more time in Hollywood making films for the US market. Ambush won a total of 11 awards in the northern Europe film festival circuit, including Best Film plus six other "bests" from Jussi, the Finnish equivalent of the Academy Awards.

The movie is based on a true story. There is one scene where a soldier everyone thought was killed later turns up alive. It is used to symbolize the indominatable spirit of the Finnish people. Like most Finnish war movies, this film has some excellent battle scenes.

This movie is available in the US in DVD format.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Head Count

The KSA did not behead anybody last month! The count to date stands at 17.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

VJ Day Plus 65

I attended a lunch time lecture at the WW II Museum today about the surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri and I learned the following facts and trivia:

The USS Missouri was chosen out of respect for President Truman as Missouri was his home state and his daughter christened the ship.

The ceremony was decreed by MacArthur to start promptly at 9:00 AM, Sept. 2. The uniform of the day was khakis and not dress whites. (MacArthur said we fought them in khakis, they could surrender to us in khakis) There was a little confusion over proper protocol for having two 5 stars (MacArthur and Nimitz) on board at the same time. It was decided that their flags would fly at equal heights and be broken out as each one boarded the Missouri.

The ceremony lasted less than 30 minutes.

Everything about the ceremony was designed to intimidate the Japanese. For example, the OD wore a side arm. He chose 8 side boys that were all over 6 feet tall.

The flag on the bulkhead behind the group was the same flag that flew on Commodore Matthew Perry's ship in 1854 when he sailed into Tokyo Bay and "opened" Japan to foreign trade. (The other flags flown that day were brand new and had probably just been picked up in Guam by attendees in transit. Nope, not flown on the Arizona on Pearl Harbor Day.)

The pens used by Foreign Minister Shigemitsu and Chief of Staff Gen Umezu were given to Jonathan Wainwright and Arthur Percival who had surrendered the Philippines and Singapore, respectively, and had just been released from POW camp.

One pen went to MacArthur's wife.

The parchment the agreement was printed on came from Manila.

The first table that was set up to hold the book of surrender documents was too small. At the last minute, they had to bring a table down from the galley and throw a table cloth over it. The table cloth had coffee stains on it but were hidden when the documents were placed on the table.

The ship's antiaircraft guns were loaded and ready for action. There was still a level of distrust about the Japanese.

After the ceremony there was a 450 plan flyover.

The Missouri's crew made up cards that were given as "certificates of attendance" to the ceremony. They were only given to those on board at the time.