Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Standards Magic: Hand drill as drive motor

January 13, 2012

Here are some electric bicycles that use a common hand drill as the drive motor (and also as the battery):

What else could a power drill drive that we just assume has to have its own drive motor?

The Power of Standards: Converting Playing Cards into Building Toys

January 12, 2012

Here’ s a little clippy-thingy that people can use to build things out of… playing cards.

So it’s a building toy, but doesn’t actually provide the building material at all, but rather just a plastic bag of thingies that conform to and leverage existing building pieces, each of standard size and stress/strain properties that can be found lying around anywhere in the world.

What next?!?!

Iain Sinclair and the power of standards

October 19, 2011

By “the power of standards” I mean there’s this running theme I keep seeing in product design where someone figures out how to make an X that fits into the place where a Y goes.  This just keeps on fascinating me, over and over.

For example, check out the Iain Sinclair design firm that makes and markets doohickeys (pocket knife, flashlight, and movie camera) that fit the form factor of a credit card, so they can go into your wallet.

(‘Wish I’d thought of it myself… and actually done it.)

Best lightweight shirts and pants for hot climates?

October 18, 2011

So get a load of this:

I’m going to the Peruvian Amazon in December for a week, the height of their humidity/rainy season.  There Will Be Mosquitoes.  I’ll be on malaria meds the whole time (thank you, western technology and income!), but some of you KNOW how miserable mosquitoes make me when I’m unprepared for them.


I know what DEET is, and I’ll bring, like, a paint bucket full of it.

That leaves clothing.  I’ll need some long-sleeve shirts and long pants to wear that won’t drive me crazy in the (canopy-sheltered) heat.

Can you give me some suggestions for brands and websites at which to shop for this loot?

Self expression vs. The Fear

September 16, 2011

Goddamn I really lost it last night.

I mean lookie: The world is chock full of exploitation, suffering, anger and dehumanization.

For example — and this doesn’t negate any one else’s suffering, experience or convictions in any way, got it? — Western men are being quietly bled to death in numerous draconian ways.  Quiet Desperation is back with a vengeance (as if it ever left, really).  Look at rates of marriage, innovation, college graduation, divorce, fatherlessness, incarceration, suicide, addiction, you name it: Men Are Giving Up, and sadly, as of this moment anyway, I’ve allowed myself to drift into that demographic myself.  It ain’t pretty, and I hereby submit to any and all negative personal and professional consequences of admitting as much publicly.

See if you can wade into the following information without collapsing into a depressed heap of helplessness, if only for a while:

That’ll get you started.   If you can actually consider what these publications have to say without barfing them back out and running for the delusional hills, your world will never be the same.


There’s information, and then there’s how we respond to information.  The following ideas trickled into my head as I tossed and turned awake at 4am last night, cold and scared of life:

There’s attractive honesty and repugnant honesty.

There’s a kind of honesty/authenticity that will bring allies into your life, and there’s another kind that gets you naturally shunned.  At first I didn’t see these two options as both existing simultaneously, and in my lower moments I still don’t, but today they both exist for me as a vague bi-faceted truth.

My clearest understanding so far is that Repugnant Honesty is best characterized by being angry at the world, and trying to express your anger by bitching about how awful it is.  “If I can only make you understand how awful X, Y and Z are, then you’ll have sympathy for me.”  Sorta like that.

Meanwhile, Attractive Honesty has something to do with “owning” one’s dissatisfaction and expressing his own experience of it.  Sssssssomething like that.

I mean, consider: Ghandi and Martin Luther King led huge (and successful, no less!) marches and movements.  Why?  Because they were fat, dumb and happy?  Nnnnno.  But they somehow expressed their dissatisfaction in an Attractively Honest way that won people over.

I dare posit that for most people, this does not come naturally.

Therefore, honesty requires skill.

The skill of judo-ing one’s own reactive (if “justified”) anger and frustration, and not making it only about Everyone Else.  No one likes a male victim unless he’s of the disciplined minority who can keep his shit together and tell his story the Right Way.

It’s a riddle, though.   Often, when people are told to “own your feelings”, what the teller really means by this is to “take responsibility for squashing yourself and acting nice Or Else”.  It’s an emasculating power play in that context, but (I insist that) alternate well-meaning contexts and intentions exist as well.

Something like that.  More later.   My thankful appreciation as ever.


As for the blow-by-blow, the two key thoughts/reminders running through my head as I calmed down last night were:

  1. That I have needs, like social interaction, friendship, touch, care and even sex, and when those needs go neglected for too long it’s perfectly natural to turn into a fuckup of some kind.
  2. How the Christians insist that there is a Real God, who knows and loves everyone.  He might not approve, but He is present and concerned and understanding with every person at all times.  I can’t say that it’s true, but I can tell you right now that it’s a helpful model to dwell on.

Delete! Retreat!

September 16, 2011

It’s really confusing and I don’t understand it.

Over here it’s important to always put your best foot forward, etc…

…while over here it’s important to be honest with people and do “self expression”…

…but over here, if you disclose that you’re depressed, you’re a pariah. There’s nothing more unattractive than unhappiness, etc.


–Mr. Grumpus

“This Misandry Bubble”

September 15, 2011

This one is pure shout-out:

The Misandry Bubble

It’s the 21st century Federalist Papers and Das Kapital all rolled into one, as far as I can tell.

A real super-whammy.

Why does it seem that American society is in decline, that fairness and decorum are receding, that socialism and tyranny are becoming malignant despite the majority of the public being averse to such philosophies, yet the true root cause seems elusive?  What if everything from unsustainable health care and social security costs, to stagnant wages and rising crime, to crumbling infrastructure and metastasizing socialism, to the economic decline of major US cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, could all be traced to a common origin that is extremely pervasive yet is all but absent from the national dialog, indeed from the dialog of the entire Western world?

Today, on the first day of the new decade of ‘201x’ years, I am going to tell you why that is.

To provide ‘beta’ men an incentive to produce far more economic output than needed just to support themselves while simultaneously controlling the hypergamy of women that would deprive children of interaction with their biological fathers, all major religions constructed an institution to force constructive conduct out of both genders while penalizing the natural primate tendencies of each.  This institution was known as ‘marriage’.  Societies that enforced monogamous marriage made sure all beta men had wives, thus unlocking productive output out of these men who in pre-modern times would have had no incentive to be productive.  Women, in turn, received a provider, a protector, and higher social status than unmarried women, who often were trapped in poverty.  When applied over an entire population of humans, this system was known as ‘civilization’.

All societies that achieved great advances and lasted for multiple centuries followed this formula with very little deviation, and it is quite remarkable how similar the nature of monogamous marriage was across seemingly diverse cultures.

So, to review, if a woman has second thoughts about a tryst a few days later, she can, without penalty, ruin a man financially and send him to prison for 15 years.  ‘Feminists’ consider this acceptable.  At the same time, even though men consider being cuckolded a worse fate than being raped, ‘feminists’ want to make this easier for a woman to do, by preventing paternity testing.  They already have rigged laws so that the man, upon ‘no fault’ divorce, has to pay alimony, to a woman who cuckolded him.

This is pure evil, ranking right up there with the worst tyrannies of the last century.

The destruction of the two-parent family by incentivizing immoral behavior in women is at least as much of a threat to American safety and prosperity as anything that ever could have come out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, or Saudi Arabia.

A single man does not require much in order to survive.  Most single men could eke out a comfortable existence by working for two months out of the year.  The reason that a man might work hard to earn much more than he needs for himself is to attract a wife amidst a competitive field, finance a home and a couple of children, and ultimately achieve status as a pillar of the community.  Young men who exhibited high economic potential and favorable compatibility with the social fabric would impress a girl’s parents effectively enough to win her hand in marriage.  The man would proceed to work very hard, with the fruits of his labor going to the state, the employer, and the family.  80-90% of a man’s output went to people other than himself, but he got a family and high status in return, so he was happy with the arrangement.

The Four Sirens changed this, which enabled women to pursue alpha males despite the mathematical improbability of marrying one, while totally ignoring beta males.  Beta males who were told to follow a responsible, productive life of conformity found that they were swindled.

Earlier passages have highlighted how even the most stridently egomaniacal ‘feminist’ is heavily dependent on male endeavors.  I will repeat again that there will never, ever be a successful human society where men have no incentive to aspire to the full maximum of their productive and entrepreneurial capabilities.

(Free) Book: The Principles of Social Competence

April 25, 2011

Just so you know, the (free) ebook  The Principles of Social Competence is rocking my world in a very good way.  By all means please give it a look.

Liquids Pricey, Gas Cheap

April 22, 2011

Just a quickie today:

Doodle around Energy Tribune (published in Houston, Texas) and if you’re like me you’ll find yourself quickly convinced that shale gas is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

“Shale gas” is the natural gas that’s mixed into rocks that aren’t very porous.  It’s hard to get at because you have to “frack” (fracture) the underground rocks so that the gas can get to the pipe leading to the surface.  With 1980’s technology it had might as well be on Venus, even though there’s oodles of it.

Some of the chemicals used in fracking are poisonous, and if they get into the water table then That Would Be Bad.  But I’m also willing to believe that regulation can force the industry to find ever more bio-degradable alternatives.  We have bio-degradable packing peanuts, McDonalds wrappers and dish soap now, so why not fracking chemicals too.

So if this plays out the way it looks like it might, natural gas will stay reasonably cheap for the rest of our lifetimes in the USA, in Europe and in China.  Great.  Of course it’ll run out eventually, but not within the next 20-30-40 years.

Liquids may stay a different story, though.  Liquids soak through the rocks much more slowly than gases do, so even though there is such thing as “shale oil”, it might stay exotic, at least for now.  You can make liquids (low-sulfur diesel fuel) out of gas, but it’s expensive and one is better off converting process X to run on gas directly.

But gas, that’ll stay cheap.  It Will Be Gas.

What this is doing, for me anyway, is it’s turning my aspirations in different, more conventional directions.  Before I wanted to play Citizen Kane and Atlas Shrugged all at the same time and invent a whole “new” alternative way to run the planet.

Now, not so much.  Now, it’s more about:

  • converting industries (airlines, shipping, trains, trucks, plastics, etc) from oil to gas
  • converting personal transportation (cars, trains, motorcycles, micro-monorail personal rapid transport, etc) to electricity
  • using communication/internet tricks to squeeze tonnage and transportation out of the system (Skype, Gmail, Facetime,, Fedex, etc)
  • finding ways to re-structure culture and environments so that people don’t feel so compelled to consume energy and tonnage in order to feel like they have value

Maybe I’m just getting old, but a more evolutionary approach feels more natural to me anyhow.  This is the game as far as I can tell.

April 19, 2011

I’d like some critique, please.

I find myself wanting a service where I upload a JPG/GIF/PDF/whatever, pick a couple options (speed, size, captions), and pay a little money.  The company prints it in color and mails it to me an hour or so later.

(A cool gimmick would be to calculate the actual amount of toner/ink required by analyzing the picture itself, and charging only that.)

By “color” I at first was only thinking about a good color laser printing on decent/glossy “brite” paper, like the really fancy stuff that costs a nickel a sheet.  Because really, the new color laser printers are awesome.

It would only make sense to also offer photo printing on a fancy inkjet.  However, I’ve learned why photo printing is much more expensive:

  • Photo inkjet ink is more expensive.
  • Photo paper is more expensive.
  • Photo paper is heavier (more postage)
  • Photo paper requires a stiffer/more-durable envelope (more expensive packaging, still more postage)

Besides, already does inkjet photo printing pretty much at-cost already.

So when it comes to offering something cheaper and pretty-decent, it’s all about the color laser.

The site could also up-sell stuff like picture frames, supplies for hanging/sticking to the wall, etc.

It’s so simple that it’s kinda retarded, really, but I would have used it by now if I had the chance.  Instead, I just use the color laser at work and sneak stuff home in stolen Fedex mailers.  Still, if I had a way to get it all done without getting up from my chair then I would have gone for it by now.