Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ipod Nano

I usually don't buy things new. I wait for the bugs to get worked out and the price to come down. But, a few products are of high enough quality that I splurge. The Ipod Nano is one of those. This thing is miniscule. Color display, and it is not meant for just songs, it also does photos, contacts, calendar, alarm, stop watch and games (ping pong, solitaire, and a few others). Even if I fill it with everything I won't be able to use up the 4 gigs yet. Amazing. Apple was a failing company, Ipod saved it.

I just downloaded our 287 songs and 11029 photos onto it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Emergency Preparedness

Hopefully some people have taken note and have assembled an emergency kit after seeing how helpless Katrina has left the gulf coast. After... half a dozen hurricanes we have a decent one but I still found a few more helpful tips:

Do not store plastic water containers on concrete. The concrete will leech chemicals into the water, contaminating it and also degrading the plastic bottle, causing failure. Stored water should be refreshed every 6 months. Keep the clear containers out of sunlit or in black garbage bags.

Use up all your potable water first:
Hot water heater. Every water heater has a drain valve near the bottom. Just be sure to let the water cool, turn off the supply line to prevent contaminated water from coming in and shut off its power.
Water Trapped in Home Piping: Water can sometimes be removed by locating and shutting off the main water valve. Open the valve at the highest point of your property, then when you open the valve at the lowest point, gravity will force the water from the pipes.
Toilet Water. Use the water from the storage tank - NOT the toilet bowl.

How to purify water:
Drain through a paper towel or coffe filter to remove sediment.
8-16 drops of chlorine per gallon (mix and let sit for 30 minutes). Water should smell/taste slightly of bleach, if not add more.
12-24 drops of iodine per gallon.
Boil the water vigorously for 5 minutes at sea level (+1 min/1000' above.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

the oil scare

Hawaii is the first to attempt to cap gas prices. It sounds like the local government needs some lessons on the basics of supply and demand. The Government can not effectively control markets. The legislature tried to use some common sense by saying they would account for market forces in the adjustable price cap. Their way of allowing themselves a loophole out of the disaster this intervention will cause. The real question is what will happen. Hawaii has only 2 refineries. Will one shutdown? Will they reduce their quality? Will they take shortcuts to save money? Will we run out of oil? It should go without saying that they will not be investing in any new equipment or improvements to their current operations when they can do it else where with far more profits. The worst scenario is if this seems to work for a few months, or even a few years and then the refineries break down due to neglect and lack of capital investment. Then it won't be a quick fix and we will have shortages.

But, I doubt that will happen. If people will just be patient supply and demand will balance out. A little known fact is that the largest known fossil fuel deposits in the world are in the US (that is 1,000,000,000,000 barrels). With an estimated cost of production of 30$ per barrel.

A little common sense would make people realize we have only explored a small fraction of the Earth for oil. There is no foreseeable shortage and emerging technologies are allowing us to tap into oil in once unheard of places. The Alberta oil sands in Canada is the 2nd largest reserve in the World. Combined with the oil shale in Coloroda this has dropped the OPEC cartel to a measly 10% of World production. This is important to allow market forces to drive oil cost, not Saudi Princes. Canada may be in trouble due to its signing of the Kyoto treaty and may be limited to how much it can produce, luckily the US didn't fall for that bit of hyperbole.

As long as market forces are allowed to act freely and more drilling is allowed on government land supply and demand will balance out and prices should stabilize. The bad news is that this will take years since we have only recently started tapping into our own resources.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pakistan Navy acquires eight Orions

Islamabad, Aug 31, 2005

Pakistan Navy has acquired eight P-3C Orion aircraft from United States, Pakistan Navy (PN) said on Wednesday.

"The title of these aircraft has been shifted to PN with signing of the transfer documents by the representatives of U.S. and Pakistan Navies, making the aircraft a property of the government of Pakistan," a Navy statement said.

P-3C Orion is a long-range maritime patrol aircraft with an endurance of about 18 hours and can carry Harppon missiles.

These aircraft would be fitted with modern avionics and mission system by M/s Lockheed Martin, the manufacture of P-3C Orion, according to the statement.

"The aircraft are being provided free of cost by the U.S. Navy and the expenses for modification of aircraft avionics systems will be met mostly from the U.S. military aid."

With the induction of eight P-3Cs, the existing fleet of PN P-3Cs will grow up to 10 aircraft.

Two P-3Cs already with PN are presently undergoing overhaul in Pakistan with U.S. assistance and are expected to be operational by the end of this year.

Pakistan Naval Chief Admiral Shahid Karimullah has termed acquiring of the aircraft a significant achievement, the statement said.

"Provision of these aircraft is indicative of strong Pak-U.S. relations and hoped that the defence cooperation between the navies to two countries would further increase in times to come," he added.

Marco P.J. Borst
P-3 Orion Research Group - The Netherlands

Armstrong Troubled By French Finds

A nice forward from bro #2:

The Associated Press

PARIS, France --

Lance Armstrong's record setting seventh Tour de France victory, along with his entire Tour de France legacy, may be tarnished by what could turn out to be one of the greatest sports scandals of all time.

Armstrong is being quizzed by French police after three banned substances were found in his South France hotel room while on vacation after winning the 2005 Tour de France. The three substances found were toothpaste, deodorant, and soap which have been banned by French authorities for over 75 years.

Armstrong's girlfriend and American rocker Sheryl Crowe is quoted as saying "we use them every day in America, so we naturally thought they'd be ok throughout Europe."

Along with these three banned substances, French authorities also found several other interesting items that they have never seen before, including a backbone and testicles.