Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is There A (Black)Light At The End Of Our Power Tunnel?

Recently in the news again is Blacklight Power with reports of their novel theory on atomic structure having been independently verified and clearly explained for the less-technically inclined (which definitely includes me).  Assuming Randall Mills and the Blacklight gang really have developed a commercially scale-able invention (not to mention a new page in the theory of physics), it seems worth a little time to think about some of the potential opportunities this permits to the rest of us.

If we take as a given that the Blacklight power supply itself is about 1 cubic foot in dimension, it seems reasonable to further stipulate that a sealed electrical generator (one that is isolated from external environmental conditions) also of about 1 cubic foot in external dimension could be fitted to pretty much any vehicle's differential gearbox.  Whether that be a vehicle like this one, or something more substantial, or even something along more classic lines, transportation will transition out of the historic model assumptions that have accrued over the centuries.  A vehicle that can also be made to supply its own fuel requirements can only further alter those assumptions.  RV owners (and wannabes like me) will be understandably excited over the reduced operating costs, so imagine if you will what the CFO's of FedEx and UPS are in for?

Now, apply that same line of thought to the house you live in.  In the space of a small closet (say 25 cubic feet, 2' x 3' x 8' roughly) you could install a Blacklight SunCell - let's further assume a very downscale 100kw version, an atmospheric water generator and a central air heating and cooling system suitable for pretty much any structure up to ~4000 sq ft. and a family of 5 plus guest(s).  Extending that model to other structural applications, you gradually leave behind the current model of "grid power distribution" while creating a business opportunity for individuals and businesses during the transition.  I wonder how many people in Oakland, CA, just for instance, would be interested in dehumidifying the Bay area for distribution into the state's aqueduct system as a "home business water utility"?  You think the people and businesses in the southern half of the state (where the vast majority of the voters live and work) might have something to say in support of such a concept?

Now pause to consider this general model applied to water craft (of any description).

If the powers-that-be were to create a fee-exempt class of boat permit for any houseboat on Lake Powell and Lake Mead that generated an additional 100 gallons of fresh water per 24 hour day deposited into the lake, I have to believe the population of houseboats on both lakes would increase substantially.  While this wouldn't "solve" the water shortage problem in either lake, it would be a contributing factor to such a solution that imposed no added public expense.  Extending this concept to the permitting and construction of privately owned lake shore properties on both lakes that generated 1000 gallons of fresh water per day would seem an equally useful idea.

Taking this thought even further; if the governments of Denver, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston (to name only 5 possible examples, as at least 4 of them pump from the same aquifer) were to stipulate a property tax abatement on buildings that consumed no water from ground sources, I have to think there would be a remarkable easing of the demand on the existing water sources supplying those cities.  Now, add water desalination and pipelines from coastal areas that were powered by Blacklight technology to feed water into the existing water impoundment system in the US and much of the present day concern about the availability of fresh water is alleviated.

Commercial shipping - to include large yachts, I expect - is already an explicit target market at Blacklight Power.  I'm not convinced they've fully thought through the whole "commercial airliner" aspect, but neither have I, so I remain open to being convinced.

And that's just in the USA; with all of its coastline (and population density there-on), what do you think China will make of this development?  You think Germany (all of Europe actually) won't give serious consideration to this technology instead of Russian oil?

Opportunity always creates (or, at the least, increases already existing) dangers; Randall Mills' discovery is no different.  From Saudi oil oligarchs, to back street used car salesmen, to government tax and utility entities world-wide, there is a galaxy of entrenched interests set to suffer economic disruption, if not out-right financial destruction, from this development.  It is only to be expected there will be equally widespread and determined opposition to any such change as this offers.  The transition process will be an expensive one without any objections being raised; indeed, the sheer cost of individual transition will be one of the first screams of outrage to be widely expressed.  Judging by the reactions from just the establishment science and engineering types so far, we can expect little less than near-civil war levels of resistance from those who are simply lethargic, who don't want to make their lives better if it means they have to change something they're comfortable doing and think they understand already. Imagine the reactions from those who actually stand to lose something as a result ...

On the other hand, peace in the middle-east and northern Africa might prove to consist of muslims tending Israeli-designed green houses with water distilled from ocean breezes hundreds of miles away.

I have no idea if the Blacklight technology will pan out as a commercial product or not.  It simply seems prudent to try to think through the potential disruption that opportunity of any description always consists of. Doing so in a fairly limited context (even one as fundamentally disruptive as this example) helps develop the mindset necessary to deal with any disruptive circumstance in a more positive and successful fashion.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Before It Gets Too Crowded Up On The Rooftop ...


Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

Now, of course, we all get to find out how long "permanently enjoined" lasts in actual practice.

I give it 'till noon Monday EDT at the latest myself.

Send a few bucks to the Second Amendment Foundation if you can; Alan and the boys (and girls! :)) are almost certainly already gearing up for the appeal.

Thank you, Alan Gura and the SAF for your outstanding work on all our behalf (and you can read the whole glorious thing here).

h/t to Joe Huffman - and yes, I pinched his title; it's just that good and I don't think he'll mind.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Germany 1 - Argentina 0

Now that the World Cup has finally run dry, can we get back to the Baseball?

Thanks to Borepatch for this one though.  I'm not quite convinced this is how FIFA wants the tourney to be remembered, but Whoops ... there it is.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Number Of The ... errr, Something

Just received official notice from the good folks at Elio Motors that I am number 4577 in line for my new car motorcycle vehicle.


No idea when that becomes a delivery date next year, but notification of that will come as an inquiry into my desired styling and optional features a few weeks before my new auto-cycle (you pick a better description) goes down the assembly line.  I know I want a touring trailer towing package and, based on Tam's recent experience, I'm thinking a rear-view camera option too (the "luggage hatch" doesn't feature glass and, however narrow the fuselage, the rear-view mirrors still won't "see" around corners).  I'll have to see what the tunes and travelogue features offered will cost come the day, it already comes with a pretty decent sound system as part of the base vehicle package (along with ac/heat, power windows and the more usual modern vehicle creature features).

I'm excited.

I only live an hour-and-a-half from the assembly plant in Shreveport, LA; I wonder if the company would let me pick mine up from the factory?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Tea Party

... More resilient than Jesus.

Just ask House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:
Tea Party candidate soundly defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Tuesday, sending shockwaves through the Republican establishment and the Democratic Party.
And Dave Brat, the 52-year-old chairman of the Randolph-Macon College Department of Economics and Business in Ashland, Va., staged the huge upset without any help from major Tea Party organizations.
The expression "Quantity has a quality all its own" comes to mind here; grass roots everywhere isn't a "major group", but it's still everywhere.  Good luck in your future endeavors Eric, but keep in mind that your hand still doesn't belong in anybody else's pocket.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

For A Given Value Of "Gun School"

Most people who carry a firearm have made some effort to resolve the question of Why to shoot. There are a number of widely respected instructors on How to shoot.  What I don't think we see often enough are classes on When to shoot.   This coming Thursday, I'm going to get to check my home study of the laws governing firearm usage in Texas with the pros.

You know how you can feel pretty confident you have a good grasp on the issues and facts?  We'll see.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Some Of My Best Work ...

... shows up on other people's blog; this time Say Uncle bears the burden:
the ACT-UP crowd actually put the gay rights agenda BEHIND.Which so neatly explains why ACT-UP basically owns San Francisco politics now – and thinks the rest of the country recognizing gays as “different, but normal” is a huge loss for gay rights.
Which will work as a metaphor for what follows.
As I understand things, OCT was started with the specific intention of influencing Texas politics toward legalizing open carry of handguns in the state, and deliberately chose to illustrate the logical consistency of that position by demonstrating the already legal public open carry of rifles and shotguns by Texans.
Subsequently, it appears that at least some of the affiliate groups (specifically the one in Tarrant Co. – much of Dallas, essentially – and Austin) have been taken control of by individuals who deliberately conflate state political activism with federal 2A activism, and manage to consistently achieve a completely predictable mess of both as a result.
Holding public rallies featuring citizens carrying their “long guns” in public in support of a desired state legislative change is (and has been) well received by most citizens in the state. Texas law prohibits the carrying of “modern” sidearms (defined in this case as being manufactured after 1899) on your body outside of a very few specific activities, but a sizable percentage of state citizens are licensed to carry them concealed. Making the point that the same people can carry all (Ok, a couple of :)) their guns at the same time, but some of them have to be kept out of plain sight, makes a legitimate political point.
And, if that was the message actually being sent consistently, most gun owners in other states probably wouldn’t get too excited.
By expanding the OCT effort to also challenge federal law regarding 2A exercise, the basic OCT message is obscured and activists from other states are understandably enough more than a little annoyed that their efforts on the national level are being inhibited by these people badly making an argument in support of a strictly state-level issue (no matter how many different states have a similar effort underway).
The part I find most annoying is that, mostly as a result of college football rivalry, the Texas legislature will probably go ahead and vote to approve OC of handguns (probably only to those who have a CHL) next session, because Oklahoma just passed their version of OC earlier this year. Which means that these dillweeds in Dallas and Austin will no doubt be loudly claiming credit for how effective their efforts were and what A-holes the rest of us were, etc.
At least I could go back to wearing T-shirts that fit next year (or the following, depending).
I’ve tried to make the point about this before, but the OCTers involved have a well-practiced routine of arguing the other point whenever challenged and dismissing any naysayer as being anti-2A and so unworthy of offering criticism (and mostly won’t even acknowledge what I say anyway) (not that I’m anybody special). Fortunately, the out-session committee work is being largely done over the course of this week (6/2 thru 6/6), so much of the urgency these people are currently feeling will recede shortly.
Hopefully OCT as a state-wide group will get a better grip on their group message discipline before next year’s legislative session. Also, anyone working in their own state (or on the federal level) can find plenty of lesson material for their efforts from all this – some of it even good (ask yourselves, how many of the other local Texas political demonstrations [using the same basic format] on this issue have you heard mention of?).
I should point out that I'm actually sort of sympathetic to the argument that the Second Amendment's "shall not be infringed" clause ought to take precedence in laws directed at firearms ownership, but this is a distinct issue from that of the strategy of political activism and the disturbing failure recent Open Carry Texas efforts have demonstrated in trying to achieve that change to Texas legislation.  Successful political activists focus all discussion on their one message; these guys are deliberately muddying their message while also giving support to their opposition.

As has been said before; stop helping.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hey Morons; It Ain't About You

In yet another display of You're Doing It Wrong,  more would-be political activists who apparently claim affiliation with Open Carry Texas have made a public nuisance of themselves in support of our civil rights.  Again.  
When members of Open Carry Texas visited a Sonic location, they were once again asked to leave or leave their weapons behind before returning.
“Man, we can’t do nothing!” one of the protesters says in the video. “I feel like I’m a kid again, my mom won’t let me do anything.”
Not true, Nimrod, she obviously lets you go out in public without appropriate adult supervision, and is pissing off the rest of Texas as a result.  Not to mention every other gun owner in the country.  Yes, openly carrying a firearm ought to be an ordinary and commonplace activity; the need to demonstrate for political change in that regard ought to make it glaringly obvious that doing so now outside of an obvious political demonstration setting makes getting to that point less likely, which would be the opposite of what you claim to want (because this apparently really does need to be pointed out to you).

Demonstrating in support of civil rights is a storied tradition in the US, one that is fraught with opportunity to play into the hands of those who wish to deny us all the opportunity to exercise our rights.  If you aren't willing to make the effort to find out the right way to go about doing that sort of activity, how about you just leave the guns out of the activity all together, huh?

The idea here is to positively influence those in a position to increase the opportunity all of us should have to exercise our 2A rights and nothing about you at all.  If you can't do it that way, stop doing it at all; you're only making things worse for all Texans by your insistent displays of childish tantrums because you "can't do nothing".  It's entirely about all of our civil rights, not whatever stupidity you want to get up to today.

Update:  Not quite sure what I did wrong in the original.  The links all work now and the text says what I intended.  I've got to start using the "Preview" function before putting stuff up for scheduled publication.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How Something So Right Can Still Be Done So Wrong

On Tuesday morning (that would be this morning - this was supposed to post on Wednesday), I noticed an article published at which noted the Chipotle restaurant chain response to two apparent Open Carry Texas supporters - I have no idea if they were actual members or not - carrying their rifles into one of the chains restaurants in Texas the previous Saturday.  The article noted:
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said they petitioned the company as a reaction to open-carry gun activists at a Dallas-area Chipotle restaurant over the weekend.
Without bothering to look into the matter more deeply than that, I commented (which comment was copied to my Facebook page as well):
All Chipotle management has to do is post the legislatively approved signage at the front door and the presence of guns in their establishments will no longer be a problem for them or their remaining customers. People like to eat out where they are welcomed; I suspect Chipotle management knows this too. Mothers Demanding Obedience, not so much.
I then proceeded to go about my day, entirely missing out on all the sturm und drang that swept through the gun blogging part of these inter-connected series of tubes Al Gore graced us with.

Just to reiterate; I stand by my statement at  Texas gun laws expressly permit the public carrying of "long guns" (rifles and shotguns, basically) in public places, but also designates the specific signage requirements to forbid people doing so, commonly called 30.06 signs from the section of the Texas Penal Code in which they are described in minute detail (TPC 30.06).  While 30.06 signs are intended for concealed carry exclusion, they equally apply to any other manner of firearm carriage too.  If Chipotle (or Starbucks) or any other business or privately owned property wishes to exclude the carrying of firearms by non-cops on their property, there's your sign.  Put one up and let's all get on with our day.

That all said, there very definitely is a wrong way to go about abiding by the law you seek to have changed, and these two chappies have basically hit all the high points of doing so all in one go.  More than that, I think there is a reasonable case to be made that both men deliberately set about to "cause alarm" and the particular Chipotle restaurant manager would be well within his own rights to file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement office against the two men for Disorderly Conduct.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Texas State Open Carry organization didn't offer their own supporting evidence as well.

Beyond all that, I also think we Texans who don't appreciate this type behavior ought to make a reasonable effort to positively identify our men in Dallas and make good and sure that all the rest of the state's citizens are thoroughly well aware of just how ignorantly some of us are capable of acting in public.  As long as groups like Moms Demand Obedience Action are going to so vehemently heap shame and approbation our way, we would do well to make plain exactly where it should be most vigorously applied.  Making a habit of putting the name to public displays of Egregious Stupid probably won't stamp out the practice entirely, but it might make future such buffoonery a bit more obviously so even to the politically opportunistic.

Having lived in Texas for over 20 summers now I am all in favor of allowing Open Carry of firearms, but let's all make the effort to do so like we've done so all along.  Making a big show of how you're dressed just draws attention to how insecure you are with your wardrobe.  It's like scoring a touchdown in the big football game; when you find yourself in the end zone, at least make it look like you've been there before.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blog-type Squee

Took the opportunity that being sick permitted and called in to tonight's edition of The Squirrel Report and got to talk to Kevin Baker who can wax lyrical about philosophy and rights, but apparently doesn't dance while still liking bacon.

All kidding aside, I managed to hold the enthusiasm to a mostly coherent level (I think) and conversing with the man I've been reading and citing as a reference in my personal education on these and other matters for so many years was a completely unexpected honor.  That I spent the better part of an hour and a half nerving myself up to.  You just don't want to choke, comes the moment, you know?  :)

There's just no way I'm going to make Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno, Nevada this year, but maybe I can put something together for '15.  Have to start rounding up suitable autograph swag ...