Kyle Neath

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since May 07, 2016
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Somewhere in between a software developer and agroforester. Once upon a time I built a lot of software in a very fancy city, but now I can usually be found running around in the mountains.
Leaping Daisy is my main gig. It's an old high country ranch in the Sierra Nevadas. In the summers, I spend my time fixing 100 year old log cabins, improving the forest, and building out infrastructure to host small events. In the winters, I strap on my snowshoes and play in the snow.
In between that, I'm still trying to figure this whole life thing out. I spend a bit of time writing software to pay the bills, a chunk of it caring for my parents, and the rest playing around the mountains near Tahoe.
Sierra Nevadas, CA 6400'
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Recent posts by Kyle Neath

I've just started getting into fermentation, but I've got a small selection going right now. Some carrots, two different types of beets, and some cucumber pickles. I'm hoping to try out some ginger beer here soon since I wasn't able to harvest any elderberries for wine this year (just never got warm enough to form berries).
1 hour ago

Some seem to only want to hear "oh, I'm awesome!" and get disappointed with me if I tell them "not great" or that things aren't improving much, and some seem to want entertainment from the trainwreck of "I feel terrible", and pressure me to say how "I really feel" when I say it's been good lately.

I feel you here. For seven years now my father has been diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease. Degenerative meaning it gets worse over time. Despite explaining this to many people (including much of my close family) people get upset at me when they ask me “how’s your dad doing?” and hear it isn’t getting better and there’s no fix on the horizon. Most people’s brains aren’t wired to understand an illness that doesn’t have a curable path and their brains melt down when they hear that sometimes things just don’t get better. So like others have said already, I just lie to them and say he’s doing fine.

As to alternatives to how are you feeling? I think the best way is to re-focus the subject of what you’re saying back on to yourself. What are you prepared to do? Asking someone how they’re feeling puts all the onus on them. Something like I’m here to listen if you need to talk switches the subject around. Another thing I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is that vague, negative-leaning questions like “how are you feeling?” end up in boring conversations that neither person really enjoys. Questions like What are you most excited about right now? offer far better conversation paths.
1 day ago
I'm interested in sponsoring the sauna. Especially if it utilizes some kind of rocket heating mechanism. I can't put up any physical materials, but I can put up money to purchase said materials. If someone put some time into creating a list of materials, pricing them out, and committing to do the project, I think it would be pretty likely the funds might show up.

Do you have a source to share for the lack of chaps protwction with electric saws?

My understanding was that material in the chaps was meant to jam the chain, and that ratings are based on stopping chain moving at a given speed.. irrespective of what was causing it to move. I can see how the massive torque of some of the electric saws could be a new issue though...

You can usually find the information directly on the product pages since the UL has yet to rate any chaps for electric saws. These STIHL chaps are a good example:

...material designed to reduce the risk or severity of injury to the body parts covered by the pads in the event of contact with the rotating saw chain of a gasoline-powered chainsaw.

Like you mentioned, the problem is the constant torque. Chaps are designed to halt a chain once and tangle it up. For gas powered saws this works great since the torque is extremely low at low speeds. But electric chainsaws maintain the same torque and can continue to cut through the chap threads even after the chain has been stopped.

That being said still wear chaps! It’s obviously much safer than not wearing chaps. It’s just an element of safety I consider with electric vs gas saws.
5 days ago
I have three saws: Stihl MS461 (big saw, 32” bar), Stihl MS161 (small saw, 16”? bar), and a E-GO battery saw (14” bar). The MS161 and E-GO are comparable in weight and bar length, but it’s hard for me to say one is better than the other. I’ll give you three different comparisons:

1. Safety: Electric chainsaws are much more dangerous than gas saws. The biggest reason is that chaps do not protect against electric saws. They are designed to tangle up saws that work in pulses (like a 2-stroke engine) and an electric chainsaw will just chew right through them. The other reason is that the lack of engine noise makes people think it’s safe, even though you can tap the button and get that chain ripping in an instant. A growling gas saw is a warning in and of itself.

2. Power: There is no comparison at all. The MS161 is at least 10 times more powerful than the E-GO and it won’t shut down from the battery overheating under load (a scary thing when you’re taking down a tree). That being said, the E-GO can get the job done with enough patience.

3. Maintenance: Again, no question — the E-GO wins hands down here. Gas saws take some care, especially if you cannot acquire ethanol free fuel. You’ve got to understand how to start a cold saw, a warm saw, adjust for elevation, clear a flooded chamber, and keep extra spark plugs on hand, and manage the age of your gas cans. With the E-GO you just put bar oil in and you’re good to go.

If you are cutting wood for heat, I wouldn’t even question it — get a gas saw. If you just need to cut down some windfall now and then, a battery saw will probably do you fine.
5 days ago
Are these burned areas inside the lab? I knew the fires a couple years ago were close, but didn't realize they were that close!
If you haven't read the book this is from (1491), I'd definitely suggest it. It really opened my eyes as to just how colonial-centric my schooling was. The book is more or less a bunch of theories about what the native landscape was pre-columbus. The theories all center around a central theme: The Americas were heavily populated (perhaps more so than Europe), extremely advanced (especially in terms of food production, the most important technology of the time), and cultivated the "wild" landscapes we talk about today.

And at least for my end, I found his theories far more compelling than "traditional" history of the Americas I was taught in school. It seems extremely likely that early peoples were using the Amazon as a food forest given the other innovations in food cultivation we know came from America (potatoes, tomatoes, corn, peppers). Once I was able to rearrange my perspective from Americans were technologically behind Europeans to Americans were innovating in food while Europeans were innovating in war, it really helped a lot of things click into place in my head.
2 weeks ago
I am definitely a member of "the 1%." I think the 1% are terribly destructive force. I don't think I'm a destructive force. And I don't think any of those statements are contradictory.

I think the idea of power constructs (the 1% represent the power of capital) can be divorced from the individuals within those power constructs. I can benefit from the power of capital while also abhorring the idea of capital having power. Oddly enough, the most powerful tool I have in this fight is capital itself. So at least personally, I'll continue to campaign against the power of capital (the 1%) while also living a life benefiting from it.
2 weeks ago

C. Letellier wrote:I am left wondering what the fuss is.  The french system using molten salts melted down the steel containment vessel 20 years ago when they had a problem.  Was this not something they could do reliably?

I believe the fuss is centered around a  ~2x increase in heat compared to previous solar array systems. Molten salt systems generally operate ~500˚C, but this new system can achieve temperatures of around 1000˚C, making it suitable for cement, steel, glass, etc. The other side of it is this new system is designed to produce heat as it's primary output, whereas molten salt systems tend to produce electricity as their primary output. A lot of industry relies on fossil fuels for heat production, not so much energy.

If any of you ever have a chance to see one of these big mirror setups, it's really a mind-bending piece of infrastructure to behold. I'm definitely curious to see where this goes. Replacing fossil-fuel powered heat is a big hurdle in moving toward carbon-neutral manufacturing, and one electricity sucks at.
3 weeks ago
I would recommend looking into a spring box system. The general idea is to build an underground dam, back fill with gravel, and bury a perforated PVC pipe in the gravel. The water will filter down through the gravel, travel into the PVC pipe which then fills a spring box with water. After that, hook up some 3/4" black poly tubing (potable-grade, direct-bury rated) down to where you need the water. I would try to site the spring box as far uphill as you can, as it will keep the source cleaner and gain you more pressure in the line.
3 weeks ago