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David Wieland

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since Jun 19, 2017
Manotick (Ottawa), Ontario
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Recent posts by David Wieland

Suzy Bean wrote:About this Movie
Vandana Shiva In this documentary, we follow environmental activist and nuclear physicist Vandana Shiva

How can Shiva claim to be a "nuclear physicist"? She's definitely an activist, but here's her post-secondary education as stated in the Wikipedia entry on her:

Shiva studied physics at Panjab University in Chandigarh, graduating as a Bachelor of Science in 1972.[11] After a brief stint at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, she moved to Canada to pursue a master's degree in the philosophy of science at the University of Guelph in 1977 where she wrote a thesis entitled "Changes in the concept of periodicity of light".[11][12] In 1978, she completed and received her PhD in philosophy at the University of Western Ontario,[13] focusing on philosophy of physics. Her dissertation was titled "Hidden variables and locality in quantum theory" in which she discussed the mathematical and philosophical implications of hidden variable theories that fall outside of the purview of Bell's theorem.

The "philosophical implications of hidden variables"? She can accurately be called a philosopher -- but not a physicist.

Thomas Vogel wrote:Has anyone considered using two adjustable elbows and a short piece of duct to make the interior mold of a castable burn chamber? There's gotta be something wrong with it. Seems too easy.

I decided to give that a try last winter, when it was too cold in the greenhouse (which is what the RMH is for) to cast anything. Using 6" round duct, I created an interior mold, and squeezed the straight section to try to make an approximation of the vertical port in the Peterberg designs. This is a 6" system, so I was able to make it in the basement -- compact and just light enough that my middle-aged son and I could get it up the basement stairs and outside.

It was only early this month that I was able to get enough time to actually complete the heater (and connection to the duct through the greenhouse bench) enough to start running it. I can report that it does work, but the feed tube/burn tunnel is frustratingly small for the amount of wood I need to burn to heat the bench. After less that two weeks' use, the metal is noticeably burning away as expected. I'm now trying to work out a way to convert to a batch box style. I already know that the perlite, castable furnace cement, and poor man's aircrete mixture of the casting can be cut with an old pruning saw, so it shouldn't be difficult to cut away the feed tube and open up the area. That should allow for a firebrick liner and better vertical port. I'll also be able to see how the back part and the insulated chimney section I used for the riser have fared.

With another cold night, I'd better go feed the fire again.
3 weeks ago
I'm puzzled by some of the skills supposedly relevant to operating a farm/homestead. For example, does anyone actually doing the operating have time for handmade cordage, for example? And is it likely to have the strength and longevity of factory made? If I had used homemade stuff for my granddaughter's rope swing, I'd be inviting an unexpected failure that would bum her out (or leave her injured). On the other hand, I can see utility in such skill for a survivalist preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
1 month ago

Upgeya Pew wrote:
Iron/salt flow batteries, like those of ESS (, use benign abundant cheap ingredients.  Materials are easily recyclable.
Flow batteries easily scale.  Want more capacity?  Add more tanks.
-- Upgeya

But did you notice what ESS calls long-term storage?:
By combining easy-to-scale technology with low-cost chemistry, ESS delivers the lowest cost across 4-12 hours of storage.

How can that work for shipping? This whole idea seems quite fanciful. My tool collection -- and my ability to accomplish things with them -- would be greatly reduced without modern shipping.
1 month ago
Interesting. But no consideration is given to the vast quantities of additional, hard-to-recyle material involved. Besides the expansion of mining, usually considered undesirable, there's the energy efficiency question to ponder. Batteries don't get lighter as they're drained, and the lifecycle energy consumption embodied in such massive projects makes it unrealistic for more than a demonstration. It's scary to contemplate what would happen when a battery catches fire, considering that putting out a flaming Tesla is a challenge.

We need to think about the big picture rather than only runtime CO2 emissions. Conventional ships have gotten more energy efficient and are highly recyclable.
1 month ago

Carla Burke wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:You won't believe how much heat a high efficiency wood stove insert will put out compared to your current setup. Make sure it has an outside vent for combustion air. Amazing!

Love the Irish Wolfhound BTW!

A stove insert might be the easiest, most economical way to go, too.

I can confirm that a fireplace insert is a huge improvement over an open fireplace. The aesthetic may be a bit different, but the warmth and much better efficiency made it truly beautiful to us when we were able to have one installed during the 10-day power outage caused by the Great Ice Storm in January 1998. We didn't have a special air intake, but the space between the masonry chimney liner and the corrugated flex chimney for the insert allowed some of the combustion air.
2 months ago

mud bailey wrote:...hefty price tag for 350lbs, which is what we need to fill our two queen size mattresses.

Wow, those would be some hefty -- as in heavy -- mattresses! For several years of our early marriage, my wife and I slept on a double bed I built that used a 4-5" (I can't recall now) slab of firm foam as the mattress, with a covering of unbleached fabric my wife sewed up. If it was toxic, it wasn't enough to keep us from reaching well into our 70s in good health. (We've used store bought foam mattresses following that original one.)
2 months ago
If your goal was to stimulate discussion, you definitely succeeded! As for your question, I'd say give it a try, and let us know what you learn. ☺
2 months ago