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Mark Brunnr

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since Oct 04, 2012
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Recent posts by Mark Brunnr

Is there already a seam where it looks like there is some gasket cord around the barrel, or was that pushed down between the metal and the cob earlier? Cutting the barrel could leave a not-perfect edge, which when you try to seal it might expand/contract differently, or warp and make it really tough to properly seal it again. My pile of bricks on the back porch has 2 barrels next to it, one that will be cut to fit over the burn tunnel snugly, and provide a nice lip for the second barrel to sit on, so it's easier to remove it and use a combo of the gasket rope and a clamp.
I think searching online for "which format is best" is like walking down the road past car dealerships asking "which car brand is best", in that many answers will be biased from one site to the next. Properly named mp3 files should be universally accessible and have been in use for 20 years now.  Please name them with leading zeros and then the chapter title, and I'd include ID3 Metadata which would include author names and book title, even can be included in there. There are lots of free apps that are very simple to use, it's a 5 minute process done once and you're set. Then when a person plays the MP3 if their player includes a display that shows those tags then your name, book title, year published, etc will scroll by. It also helps with sorting in the player.

I don't think zip format of a collection of MP3 files will help bandwidth, but if a recipient has the bandwidth for a single large download that would be simplest. Otherwise a link for each chapter allows a smaller/faster download for those on a slower connection which might drop part way through, so less time/data is lost.
I would also consider the nitrogen fixers and soil-improvers early on, with a higher percentage in initial years to help build soil and support the other plants, and as your soil improves you switch from say 75% support plants to 25-50%. I'll be driving up to my place in a few weeks to plant the black locusts I grew from seeds, plus plant a whole bunch more seeds directly. These are mainly for a firewood lot that I hope to coppice, but I'll probably plant some additional clumps in other areas of the property as the soil is pretty poor, and hopefully these guys can help improve things over the next several years. Then I can evaluate where to add food-bearing plants and others that need additional support plants.
1 week ago
One option for dealing with people on opposite sides of a bridge spanning some chasm, whether it's religious or political, is to realize there's no need to cross the bridge to interact in positive ways with each other. I don't care if the other person voted for Trump, Hillary, someone else, or nobody at all. I hope it won't influence how I treat them as a person because we can still love and care for others even when we disagree with things they say or choices they make.

As far as religion, I like a comment I recently saw about following the teachings of the Holy Trinity:

The Father: Mr. Fred Rogers: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world."

The Son: Steve Irwin: "We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife." "All you have to do in life is be passionate and enthusiastic and you will have a wonderful life."

and The Holy Spirit: Bob Ross: "We don't make mistakes; we just have happy accidents." "I guess I’m a little weird. I like to talk to trees and animals. That’s okay though; I have more fun than most people." "Be kind to yourself."
2 weeks ago
Would a brick mass under the pipes cause a "thermal flywheel", where the bricks are cool and take time and energy to heat up, robbing the water of that heat, and then in the evening the bricks are warmed up but might not be hot enough to also heat the water once the sun sets? So perhaps it creates a longer window of warm water, but it might not be hot enough for you. I haven't tried this so all that is just assumptions.
2 weeks ago
Yeah I picked up the 4 used 6v FLA as I have a couple years left till I move and as this is my first solar setup if I ruin $296.40 (total for all 4 batteries) in batteries it won’t be too troubling. My window AC runs at 1060w so I thought I’d try that too as I’ll have 1200w in panels and AC use during the day would coincide with clear sunny weather. So I’ll use wanted solar radiation to combat unwanted solar radiation!

Unless newer tech drops in price, Rolls offers I think the 27p 6v model that has 5000 cycles at 50% and over 7000 cycles at 20% DoD for something like 700-900ah. So 4 of those beasts for $4k would last me a full 20 years.
4 weeks ago
I've been purchasing parts for my own system, which is "fancy" compared to Helen's system but very spartan compared to the norm around my area, here's the totals so far:

4-300w PV panels (1200w total), mounts and MC4 extension: $750 total
2000w 24v inverter: $345 (seems overkill, but that Instant Pot uses 1000w)
Outback charge controller and temp sensor: $457
Lightning surge protection device, grounding rod and wiring: $135
Circuit breakers, 4AWG wire by the foot and lugs for hooking up the components: $75~
4-225AH 6v FLA used batteries with 1 year of use: $300 total
2AWG battery interconnects and 2/0 battery to power panel (overkill): $100
Maintenance gear for batteries: $30

Total: $2192 plus tax;
After possible federal rebate: $1534~

The batteries total 5.4kwh, 2.7kwh @50% DoD, and while it seems small my estimated daily power use is almost exactly 1kwh per day. So it depends on how many of those cloudy winter days there are in a row as to when I'll get near 50% DoD. For the area's estimated cloudy winter days and estimated use, 600w of panels should be enough with a larger battery bank (like 10kwh total), but I doubled the panels and went with smaller used batteries (in case I mess up and cook them) and will see how this works. The charge controller is MPPT, so I'm hoping that the extra panels will produce more power earlier and later in the day so that the batteries are topped off more often.

One of my coworkers is totally off grid and his system seems massive, I think he said he has like 80kwh of storage, and "only" has to run his generator once or twice a week because that's not enough despite our sunny location. His system is probably more along the lines of $50,000+, which was still far cheaper than having the utility run power on to his rural property. To each their own, it works for him and I'm hoping mine will work for me! Fortunately if I find my calculations were incorrect, I can expand the system later. If battery technology continues evolving I'll be ready for new ones in several years-maybe a used Tesla battery! I read those are 24v so it would be compatible, definitely lighter than FLA and if I hook it up properly and set the charge controller properly, it shouldn't even explode!  XD
1 month ago
I see that manufacturer also makes a model that includes a humidity sensor. I wonder if you used 3 of them, with one sitting inside the living space, one outside, and another with the probe inserted into the earth berm, might provide some interesting comparison points. Perhaps a piece of rebar could be pushed into the earth under the umbrella through an existing gap in the wofati wall (or one is made and then patched back up) and then the probe is fed as deep as it will reach into the mass and the hole is patched up to prevent any air flow from the opening.

If it was put in at say 5-6 feet from the interior floor level, it should have several feet of earth above, so it will be sort of in the middle of it all. Then you can see how quickly the mass drops in temperature relative to outside extremes during winter. If the interior space gets too cold and the RMH is fired more often than for cooking, you'll also see how the mass responds over time. You might need to tape something protective over the wire itself (not the probe) to protect it from the soil, as I doubt it's designed for ground contact.
1 month ago
I have found that a little baking soda sprinkled on a damp hand cloth, like maybe a "pinch" worth, and wiped on my arm pits eliminates any odor there and doesn't add the strong perfumes most "normal" deodorants contain. I also notice the perspiration change compared to the antiperspirants, I actually sweat there now which I expect is a good thing! While I don't use shampoo, I do apply hand soap to my backside during showers. The rest of me is good with just water, but those extra surfactants seem like a good deal in that one spot.
1 month ago
As the mulch breaks down into soil, you can add more on top to limit weed growth. No need to replace in the sense of pullig out the existing material to replace it with new material.
1 month ago