The Big Think

April 11, 2005


Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 11:41 pm

Barrel Roll in a Boeing 707.

Plug-In Hybrids?

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 11:02 pm

Fact: most Americans drive fewer than 30 miles per day.

While Hybrids are very popular now, they still burn gas at the drop of the pedal. What if you could plug a typical hybrid in to your garage wall outlet at night and, using very cheap off-peak electricity, charge your hybrids standby batteries to full capacity? Note: these standby batteries are an addition to the standard hybrid cell bank.

What’s the end result? According to the April 11 issue of BusinessWeek magazine:

this so-caled plug-in hybrid can travel 20 to 60 miles under electric power alone… such a car could go months without visiting the filling station. “The only time you would have to gas up is when you go out of town”. Run the internal combustion engine on a blend of gasoline and biofules like ethanol, and it would use almost no oil products at all. “That changes the world”

pretty exciting stuff, and a huge “why didn’t someone think of this sooner?” I drove only 9960 miles last year in my truck, and as there are probably millions of drivers like me out there who would love just a little more efficiency, I think this an idea who’s time has come.

EnergyCS, the company behind this idea, is offering a conversion kit to Prius owners to replace their 1.3kwh batteries with 9kwh lithium-ion batteries for a weight penalty of only 170lbs. Make some sort of garage-floor, drive-in-and-out-easily docking pad for your car, and this becomes the no-brainer Prius option.

Here’s a bonus: our fair city of Austin has recently passed a resolution calling for rebates for plug-in car purchases. I love this town.

Death and…

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 8:19 pm

Just finished doing the taxes today. Taxing. I have a pretty complicated setup since I’m self-employed. I started a second business this year- I decided to make the woodworking business legit so I can get deductions for my equipment, and it’s working very well. Haven’t turned a “profit” yet because the initial setup machines (table saw, jointer, etc) are fairly expensive, but I hope to be in the black this year or next. So that’s two schedule C’s. Oh, and we had a stock sale so that adds to the complexity. Thank goodness for good tax software! This stuff is so thorough and so easy to use it boggles my mind that anyone would pay a CPA to do it for them. Yes, the tax code is a brobdignagian geordian knot, but if the software can chew up and spit out my taxes in the six hours it took me today, it should handle a “normal” set of taxes (a couple of W2’s) without breaking a sweat.
Still, I’m glad that’s done. One of my least favorite days of the year.

Get Perpendicular

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 9:32 am

Hitachi has a groovy flash animation about their new hard drive storage technology. Seriously.

Props for My Peeps

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 12:12 am

I mentioned a few months back that I was working on a prop for Sing, but couldn’t disclose it because it could give away the theme of the act. Act themes are huge secrets at Baylor for months, with much chicanery going on to unearth competing acts’ themes. I don’t think any Sing chairs read my blog, but I want to play it safe since I’m trusted with most of the themes in the show.
Anyway, here’s a picture of the (ginormous) prop I built for the show. It’s a 14 foot tall working windmill that was built for a farm-themed act. The act went on to place first (yay!), though I’m sure it wasn’t due to the windmill. heh.
It’s gotten around that I build props, and there are restrictions on how many outside sources groups can hire. Since they already hire me as their arranger, it’s convenient that I can also help design and build their props, or at least give them input on what works and what doesn’t.
So now I can add “prop-builder” to my resume. 🙂


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