Social, Economic, Enviromental Responsibility

Category: Design


The Sun delivers roughly a kilowatt of energy to every square meter of the earths surface. Meaning, one meter of land provides enough energy to power ten light bulbs.

If the average rooftop is say 10 meters by 30, that’s 300 meters. Meaning the potential for energy is 300 kilowatts a day.

300 kilowatts, times 365 days a year equals 109,500 kilowatts of energy a year.

The sun doesn’t shine everyday, and this is assuming a perfect conversion rate. Solar panels are only 30% effective, meaning only 30,000 kw of energy is actually produced. Still more than enough energy to power a home, and the two homes next to it.

The sun doesn’t shine every day; a true statement. But it could not shine for 8 months, and there would still be enough power for a home. The average American household uses 11,040 Kwh as of 2008 4 months of sunshine is all that is necessary to cleanly power an American home.

The rub with solar power is not energy production at all, it’s energy storage. The roof of a house has the potential, with current means, to provide all the energy requirements for a home. But there is no effective way to store that energy.

Why then is so much money and effort devoted towards solar panel development? What is needed now, is an efficient way to store and discharge energy. Solar panels work, it’s time to bring batteries up to speed!


Shwood Sunglasses

One part style, one part sustainable (trees grow).

From The Swap Meet

I love swap meets! Something about the collection of cool vintage parts, wheeling & dealing, and the whole adventure of it.

I was (am) a sucker for Indiana Jones. If I could I’d run all over the world raiding lost arks and finding the last crusaders: I would do it in a heartbeat.

As it stands, I have to content myself, right now, with the swap meet.





Yes, that’s an eagle fighting a dragon.



Ghandian Engineering


“When you wish to achieve results that have not been achieved before, it is an unwise fancy to think that they can be achieved by using methods that have been used before”

Sir Francis Bacon.


There’s a move to restore Detroit. I have friends from Detroit, and I love the tenacity of much of the city’s denizens. However, we can not restore Detroit to it’s hey day. The golden years of the automobile have passed on. What we can and should do: is to rebuild Detroit. Remove what is no longer used, what no longer works, what is no longer relevant; and rebuild.

Compare Akron to Toledo. Toledo is stuck, trying to restore itself. Akron is seeking to rebuild itself.

What does this mean for the environment, for sustainability? Our current society and culture is no longer feasible. We have two paths to choose from. One will lead to the downfall of America, the other towards a new America.

We are the land of change. Every new generation has left its mark, for good or bad. But we’re at the crux of our society. And the decision before us is not “save the planet or not” it is “do we continue to exist or not.” Will we continue to be relevant, or will we slide like every other great nation, empire, city-state that has come before us?

What the sustainability movement is about, is a better way of doing things. Getting more, from less, for more people. Why aren’t we doing this?

Cost? Costs have risen every year. We might as well derive some benefit from higher costs.

Jobs? Jobs are cut and lost every year. Look at Detroit to see that.

Will it work? When US scientists set off the first atomic bomb, there was a real belief that it would trigger a chain reaction that would ignite the whole planet. Decisions are made, and put into effect without knowing the full consequences every day.

Is it entirely true? Nothing is entirely true, nor can anything be verified beyond all doubt. Define and measure gravity. We know it exists, we know it has to do with mass, but we can’t quite put all the pieces together. Try and prove evolution. Try and prove almost any scientific theory widely believed to be “true.” It’s almost impossible. We operate on partial information every day, and we’ve done incredibly well for ourselves over the thousands of years that humanity has been in existence.

It is time for us to clean house. To sweep out the old, and attempt the new. The old ways of doing things were wonderful, and marvelous, and should be retired with reverence and respect (mostly). However, it is time to implement the next phase in humanity.

A Solid Commuter


Nothing crazy, nothing exotic, just a $9,000 electric motorcycle. With an on board charger, riders will never be wanting for more range.

Now if someone could develop a $9,000 electric car, and a $3,000 electric bike; this whole thing might actually work!

A Few Thoughts That Should Come Together

I’ve got “Factory Floor” on television right now. One of the clips is about plywood.

The quote was “because it’s man made it’s stronger than any tree.”

I had to think for a second about that statement, and the answer is yes; We can often engineer some specific characteristic to be better than what is found naturally.

Obviously then, we can improve on what is found in the world around us. Meaning we can improve the world around us.

Secondly, this post. Note further down, the ideas on taste and bad culture. Currently, our society as a whole is operating with this slow moving, bad taste culture.

The good ideas are either not being implemented, being poorly implemented, or only implemented in certain areas/sectors. What good changes that are implemented in one area (say MPG standards) are ignored or counteracted within other circles (Oil Production).

Societal costs raise every year. Yes some of the environmental changes will also raise prices. However the trade off (better city planning, more jobs, cleaner energy, more fuel efficient cars and vehicles, proper mass transit, a more integrated culture, etc) is worth it.


But again, prices will go up regardless of what we do. We might as well do the right thing.

Plans For Today

Today I have 2-3 goals depending on my level of energy and dedication.

Goal 1:

Replace the flex-plate on the BMW.

Goal 2:

Clean the shed.

Goal 3:

Finish the speedometer/gauge assembly for the Death Machine, Black Lightning.

Why are these goals being posted on my (semi)professional blog?

Simply because I can. Seriously though, the BMW is a 528e. One of the most economical vehicles still on the road today. Once I replace the flex-plate, I can start getting 30-35 mpg driving all over town again.

The shed is becoming home to my next venture: taking the Conservance philosophy and style, and applying them to motorcycles and whatever else I damn well feel like. A good cleaning and reorganizing will make my life so much easier. It also will be nice to have a place out of the elements to work on the motorcycle.

Once I finish the gauges, the bike is effectively done. The last major hurdle will be the BMV inspection.

If all goes well: two stylish and efficient vehicles will be ready for the open road. Huzzah!

Guest Post: Renewable Energy

My good friend Joe sent me an email this morning. I thought it appropriate for today.


I was having a conversation with my mum about the oil spill, because it is in this month’s National Geographic, and we got to talking about alternative energy.

Through the conversation, I kind of came upon an analogy I hadn’t thought of before:

Thinking about the change from non-renewables to renewable energy could be similar to the ways in which people generate their incomes now, against how they did in the past.

In the (even recent) past, people would have one source of income. They had one job, which paid them a lot of money–likely all the money they would earn. Increasingly now, people are using the power of the internet to generate multiple income streams. Each of them provides just a small amount of income, but they add up to a sufficiency.

I think that you can contextualize renewable energy in a similar way. Formerly, we put all our efforts into fossil fuels and got all of our power from one place: one giant power plant. Now, with wind, wave, tidal, solar, hydro, (even nuclear), biofuel, we’re going to have to rely on different “income streams” to satisfy our energy demands.

So it’s not necessarily necessary to fill Nevada with solar panels, or risk disrupting the airflow on the East coast of the US with wind turbines, to get all of your energy from one source. Instead, it might be possible to get just a little of an individual’s, or even a nation’s, energy from multiple sources.

Just a thought, but there might be something in it.



Enough said.

Death Machine Lives!

And with video too!!!

Mechanical Marvels

I’m a BMW guy. Hate me if you will, but something about them I like.

And I especially grooved on a recent Businessweek article detailing BMW and their recent, focused push into electric cars.

Let me clarify a statement I made earlier. I don’t like electric cars. They end up being overpriced, bloated under-achievers. Like a fat Spicolli from Fast Times At Ridgem0nt High. However, I do like efficient, well designed electric cars that are capable of moving people in relative comfort and ease.

I’m curious to see what’s going to come from Shai Aggassi, Jaguar and now BMW.

Speaking of my own project:

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