Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Coming Collapse of Oil Prices

Some economists are predicting higher oil prices.  I'm reading conflicting predictions about lower oil prices.  I hope they are correct.  Dom Armentano is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and I hope he's right about this.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pre-Ignition Catalyitic Converter

A few days ago, I learned about another emerging technology to improve gas miileage in most vehicles.  It's called a Pre-Ignition Catalytic Converter (PICC).  They moved the catalytic converter from the exhaust system to the fuel line.  The thought is that you should fully break down (vaporize) the gas molecules before they enter the engine, so all of it burns, instead of breaking down the unburnt fuel that the engine has already wasted.  When you combine this with a hydroxy booster on the air intake, carbon monoxide is almost completely eliminated from the exhaust.  Some smaller cars get over 100 miles per gallon with this installed.

I found a link to another car mod which allows it to run on pure tap water.  Until I see it, I'm very skeptical.  This conversion was done on a beater Camaro with a stock 350.  It's pretty intriguing how instead of using a pulse width modulator (PWM) to regulate the electrolysis, he just uses 60Hz from an off-the shelf 110v AC inverter and opens and closes relays using the spark plug wires.  I believe that since he's not using any hydrocarbons, the real fuel is the nitrogen in the air.  The hydroxy created by cracking the water only catalyzes the reaction.  The NOx emissions must be enormous, but since he's feeding the exhaust back through his water reservoir as sort of a bubbler, I presume that a lot of the NO2 and NO3 is dissolved back into the water.  Then, in the electrolysis process, is it breaking the N2 and O2 apart, so it can be burned again?  Since it uses a second battery, wouldn't it be smart to add a second alternator?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tina Turner Ticket Prices

I heard that Tina Turner is playing the Sprint Center, and I think that would be a pretty great show.  Then, I looked at ticket prices.  Wow!  Over $500 for Row B.  $59 + "convenience charge" for a nosebleed seat.  This show isn't until October, folks.  How much will these tickets be selling for as the date approaches? I'll be watching out of curiosity.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Poca, West Virginia

I got to travel to Poca, West Virginia today to keep a project on track.  I literally only had to do a few minutes of work.  It's a beautiful May afternoon here and this is really gorgeous country.  Poca is not far from Charleston, and it has a nice regional airport.  The hills here are kind of breathtaking.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I work for a very international company.  The question about whether Mother's Day is celebrated in India came up.  Apparently, it's everywhere now.  It started in West Virginia exactly 100 years ago and we've exported this holiday to the entire world.  It is universally accepted that mothers are great.  Especially mine.  :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gas saving tricks.

High gas prices have people doing lots of interesting things to improve their fuel economy.  This takes the cake.

On the other hand, I have read more about hydroxy boosters, and the innovation never stops.  There is a lot of experimentation with cell sizes, shapes, and configurations.  Sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide concentrations are another experimental variable.  I wish there was an exhaustive wiki on the topic, because the knowledge being passed around in the email lists is not being recorded in a compendium anywhere.  Competing designs are being tested in bake-off style road rallies with the results posted on YouTube by a guy known as Smack (aka Electrik).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Group Vacation

A group of my coworkers have decided to pool our resources for a Memorial Day weekend getaway.  The number is up to six.  Someone is providing a plane.  Someone is providing a house in the Florida Keys.  Someone is providing a fishing boat.  We're all chipping in for some Jet A fuel and fishing supplies.  This could get very interesting.  I may have said before that I work with some really crazy multifaceted people.  I predict that somebody will end up in jail or the hospital. My wish is to be a witness and not a victim as the mayhem ensues.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the opera.  Adam D. has a major role, so I want to see the product of his labor, because I've been tending the garden by myself while he's been in daily rehearsals.  I have to know by tomorrow morning how many people are going.  So far it seems like only two.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fake pennies.

Tomorrow the House will vote on HR 5512 for making pennies out of steel with copper coloring instead of zinc-copper alloy.  While this reflects their new reduced value, I think it’s a sad and terrible thing.  They’ve completely unhinged the value of money from the value of precious metals.  This is up for a vote in the House tomorrow.  If they can make pennies the way they can print bills, our currency has lost all traction in its slide to zero value.  The bankers win.  The only thing holding the dollar up is perception.  Any account you have that is valued in dollars (IRA, 401k, stocks, bonds) would be better off if you transferred it to an account in some other currency or used it to purchase material goods, precious metals, real estate, or offshore hedge funds. 

The appearance of this bill is evidence of the wrong direction we’ve gone for a third time in our nation’s history with regard to fractional reserve banking.  For now, the only thing propping the dollar up is its tie to the value of oil, and you see how that’s slipping, too.  As soon as oil is purchased by some other currency, the dollar may crash harder than it did in 1907.  The only thing keeping that from happening is our military might.  You can see the proportion of our Federal budget which we’re spending on that is putting a strain on every taxpayer and the fabric of our economy.