November 2, 2015

Lain Banks on Libertarianism

"Libertarianism. A simple-minded right-wing ideology ideally suited to those unable or unwilling to see past their own sociopathic self-regard."

September 1, 2015

January 21, 2015

Atlas Flunked: Galt Goes Broke

On the internet I run into a lot of Ayn Rand supporters and they're kinda like the hardcore laissez faire capitalists of society. Their motto? Read Atlas Shrugged, full of wisdom! Of course it's just a shameless defense for self righteous profit seekers who try to sell you a kind of snake oil since they want to make you believe that an unrestricted free market will somehow magically creates a prosperous society. They hardly seem to realize that their actions have consequences for others, you can't be hyper individualists on a finite planet with billions of people...
Rand supporters are the entrepreneurs that seek the optimum playing field so that they as individuals can profit. Rand's shortsighted, selfish philosophy helps in that regard. What I find so hilarious is that they actually made movies of Ayn Rand's books and they did very poorly. For 3 movies they had a combined budget of $35 million and in the box office they acquired a revenue of $8.8 million. Which resulted in a loss of $26 million. Bad investment for sure! So with some sarcasm I can proclaim: 'Atlas Flunked!'

November 12, 2014

Solar Can Heater

After seeing a video on YouTube about solar can heaters I thought it was fun to build one myself and test it. I had plenty of wood laying around from building my greenhouse so I used the "leftovers," that's why there are different planks on the backside. I deliberately made the container 100 centimeters tall and 50 centimeters wide because plastic plates that go on the front are also sold in those dimensions.

Once I had the box ready it was preparing the aluminum cans that go inside. I drilled extra holes in the top and bottom of the cans for the airflow that must occur inside. I used an extra sturdy can to house the aluminum cans because they crunch and break very easily without support. For the solar heater I used 35 aluminum cans in rows of 7 wide, 5 high. 

Next came the paint job. I also screwed 2 additional pieces of wood in place that give some airspace on the top and bottom. Drilled holes in them for the air to move. The cans are also firmly in place and can't go anywhere. I used dull black spray paint. Wanting to be thorough I had to get one more, so the paint cost just under €10. Spraying paint is fairly easy. The paint does has to settle for 24 hours so doing everything takes a couple of days. 

Finally, I screwed a plastic plate (2 millimeters thick) on the front. I keep this heater indoors but I suspect for outdoor usage you need a thicker sheet or glass. I drilled a hole through the back to where the upper vacant area is and ran a hose through it.
Results so far are encouraging. I have a simple thermometer on the back that measures the box itself near the exit hose and even after 10-15 minutes sunshine it shoots up to 24-25 Celsius. A few weeks ago on a really good day it got up to 33 Celsius. Maybe inside it's even warmer but I don't have a fancy gizmo at this time for measuring. When you put your hand over the exit hose you can feel the warm air rushing through your fingers. At the very least I can say that it definitely works.