The rantings of a curious man in a very strange world

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Eugene


So finals are here and I find myself faced with the last homework assignments of the term. Despite this Eugene continues to be beautiful and I have been taking walks around the river in between my studies. With these long walks I have had plenty of time to think about life. I am considering postponing my college study after this year is over, learning is all and good but I feel the need to put my existing knowledge to use. Classes have been challenging and I simply don't have enough motivation to work hard at them, and why should I when I know what I want to do in life, knowing that I don't need a college education to accomplish my goals. Putting off my plans can't happen any longer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My New Camera

This last weekend I finally turned 19, not one of the most exciting birthdays compared to 18 and 21, but it signifies to me that I'm leaving the teen years and moving onto the young adult stage of my life. For my birthday I received a new camera, a tiny little thing called the HD Hero 960. So far I haven't tried the video recording settings nor the underwater photography, but playing around with the fish eye lens has been awesome. I defiantly will be posting photos more often.

Friday, November 5, 2010

College

For all you students out there, struggling through the moronic system that is public school. Forced to memorize obscure facts and jumped through hoops all the while trapped in the largest babysitting program in the country. Know this, College is the antithesis of public school. Instead of facts you must understand concepts. You only need to know what they tell you to learn, but are given a thousand and one ways of learning more. You aren't chained to class and can leave as you feel like it. Survive public school and you can thrive in college.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not so End of the World pt.2

New information concerning the suns effect on the world, apparently a phenomenon occurred over a century ago similar to what we might be facing in the next few years. A large solar flare that was directed towards earth caused massive damage to telegraph lines, and turned the skies red. Not in the sense of red tinted clouds, but the once blue sky was red while this event was happening.
I have yet to find out how long this effect stayed, but it is theorized that all major electric systems could be taken down for as long as four years as we would have to repair without the use of electronic tools. Now I don't know about you but living without electronics for four years sounds somewhat awesome, sure I would be without email, cell phones, video games and movies, but I can hardly imagine how much things would change during that time. Seeing humans adapt would be enough entertainment to last me a lifetime, and then when we get electronics back and seeing how people then view electronics.
Perhaps we will move towards a more peaceful way of life, no longer ever expanding once our globalization system is gone. Or we could develop an alternative method of power, such as chemical, though I hope we do not revert to complete coal and fuel dependency.

Whatever this upcoming era leads us to, I can't wait to see what humans invent.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Not so End of the World

I'm sure all of you have heard about the 2012 December 21st prediction of the world ending at the end of the Mayan calender. Personally I doubt the Mayans cared enough to set up a calender that far into the future, so I don't really think we need to worry about the world ending. The Mayan's also didn't think the world would end, they thought that a new era would dawn at that time.

What I think is we should be keeping an eye out for solar storms. From what I can glean from the inter-tubes, the sun is on a 22 year cycle in which the influence on our magnetic field waxes and wanes, the last of these events resulted in Canadians without power for nine hours in 1989. 21 years later and the sun is just now starting to signs of this cycle, as of august we have been seeing indications of solar interference. NASA seems to believe the worst of it will hit late 2011 to 2012, at which point we may have worse to worry about then loss of power. Magnetic effects may destroy satellite, scramble computers and down power lines, cutting us off from power, internet and cell phones. Such things may happen once, or be sustained for a year, or longer.

Magnets on large scales have also been shown to affect the human mind, sometimes improving mental functions, so we may be dealing with super humans and global blackouts. On the other hand, this cycle may simply take power away from us for a few hours, before receding for another 22 years.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The HoneyComb

So I've settled in to my dorm, started my classes, met people who also live in my complex. I've even started having scientific debates and brainstorms with random people in the lunch hall. Life at college has thus far been good.
However I know that I need to continue working on the important stuff, the things that won't be only influencing my life, but can potentially change the lives of others all over the world. The images are layouts for the core rooms of the HoneyComb. The underground utopia I have been designing and raising funds for over the last seven months. As I have described in past posts, this community will be self-sufficient, producing all necessities for the residents, as well as housing them, providing numerous entertainments and recreational activities. This structure will be built just below the surface, in areas normally unused by humans and once completed will not interfere with the ecosystems just above the ceiling. For those interested in learning more please leave your questions in the comments and I will try to address any questions people have on my plan to change the world.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Your First Day In College

So based on the very first day of arriving at college I can tell you these things already.

Make sure you are able to get things you didn't bring, if you arrive and realize you forgot something make sure you either have a system with your parents to get it to you, or know how to replace said something.

Learn to cope, you might have been able to change your environment as much as you wanted at home, but here you have to deal with everything everyone else wants to do ex. Band practice at 8 in the morning outside your window.

Find someone who knows what they are doing, maybe it is a room mate, family friend or family member who recently attended college but you might think you have everything under control at that point check with them to make sure you aren't forgetting anything.

Deal without privacy, if you expect to make it to the showers and back without anyone seeing you, clothed or naked you might make the mistake of succeeding. At which point you will continue to try everyday and take extra time planning around your sneaky shower trips. It will make life easier if you accept that you can actually be naked in the changing area.

Free time after things are done is better than free time before things are done. Get as far as you can with one project until you have to wait on someone else, then spend time getting to know campus, signing into the gym, getting your laundry card. If you wait for that email response before doing anything else it will take weeks to finish a days worth of set up.

I'm going to try and continue to post about college survival for a bit before going back to science, also make sure to feed yourself, having food is more important than having extra money to spend later. Time for lunch, bye all.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Departure

College preparations have been keeping me busy, seeing people before I leave, making sure I have everything I will need. Once I arrive I should be posting at a regular pace, but until then I'll still be rather erratic. On a brighter note, my endeavour to build a Eco-friendly utopia has made progress, we have recently reached the 10% mark with funds towards buying the lands to make this crazy dream a reality.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cob construction

While planning out designs for the honeycomb, my girlfriend brought up the material cob for use in building the structure. I had heard of cob before but hadn't looked into its uses. For those of you who haven't heard of cob, it is an ancient building material that uses all natural materials to create a durable mixture that in some cases, can last centuries.
Between the progress I've been making raising money for this project, as well as this new idea to both increase the strength of the building as well as reduce costs, I may be able to move into the construction phase in the next year or so.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sleep

After millions of years of evolution we still are subject to sleep, a time where we are almost completely vulnerable. Why? I really wish my brain would refresh the parts it wasn't using while other parts continued to function, only needing to rest if I sustained use of an aspect of my thoughts too long. If anyone figures out how to do this I will happily assist you to the best of my abilities in making you a fortune, as long as I can not sleep without any side effects.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peanut Butter fails at destroying evolution

For those of you who haven't seen it, a video is online of a man named Chuck Missler describing how evolution is disproved by the food industry. Now I respect that he can have his own opinion on how the world was created, but the campaign of misinformation is the aspect that really infuriates me. If you are so inclined you can look up peanut butter evolution on youtube, I won't describe his "experiment," but I will describe why it doesn't make sense.
Those who believe in evolution, and researched a possible way for the origin of life do not believe that life spontaneously spawned from a blob of matter exposed to energy. The idea is that an extremely complex combination of elements are needed to have a functioning organism. So the claimed blob would be an incredibly rare occurrence, not to mention the chances of it being exposed to energy as well as the organism surviving to reproduce. Odds are such a sequence of events wouldn't happen in a jar of peanut butter.
Even if it did you wouldn't see it, the organisms would be microscopic, what was Chuck expecting? I doubt a newly created chinchilla would fall out of the jar.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alien Swarm

After my rant concerning the poor quality of space ships against alien attacks I stumbled across Alien Swarm. Free on Steam, Alien Swarm takes you and three other marines into abandon colonies overrun with insect-like xenos. In addition to something you can spend your time on, it subtly conveys the importance of survival strategies in horror situations. My favorite example is that friendly fire is almost always more dangerous than enemy attacks, don't get in your ally's way. Good luck, and don't shoot your friends, unless they are zombies trying to eat your brains.
http://store.steampowered.com/

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our Future

So some time not too long ago we started having robots, flying cars and teleportation. Sure all of these are in their infantile states but they exist. These facts get me thinking, what will my future be like. What will yours be like? Technology is rapidly altering how we live, at the same time our style of living has changed in unexpected ways. Readers, please comment on what sort of career you will be working by 2025, and we'll see what to expect in the coming decades.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Survival engineering

Without a regular schedule I am not going to get anything done, I accept that. So I’m going to restart on a three days a week, Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule. Since leaving I’ve been catching up on some sci-fi shows, films and general discussion. As a result I have a few questions concerning our future space-station engineers.
First, why cold steel, metallic grey interior, space travel is depressing enough without keeping people in giant steel cans. The reasoning is supposedly space travel relies on compact rooms to insure structural integrity. However the vast hangers, wide lunch hall and spacious hallways would not suffer from a centimeter of cheerfully colored plastic. Determining where the drab-colored man-eating alien would be far easier if the corridors weren’t painted from the bucket marked drab alien.
Second, why all the exposed wiring and piping, in not only the maintenance pathways, but everywhere else as well. When in space you don’t want the chance for someone to trip over a wire, turning off power to life support, the airlock or whatever. You should cover those damn things, for safety as well as keeping the little buggers from traversing the hallways, always skirting at the edge of sight. Just as easy as keeping the ship chipper, shielding the pipes and wires from the clumsy worker, or crawling parasite should be a must.
Third, why do you need a crawlspace in the ceiling and the floor when you use the hallways for the pipes? If you didn’t care about aesthetics before why bother covering the wires now? Furthermore, if you are going to have said crawlspace, why have the grating loose and sharp, easily removable and able to stab an innocent technician.
Lastly, why make 180 degree motion trackers? If they are coming from behind your motion tracker isn’t worth shit. Your teammates disappearing behind you will remain a mystery until you end up something’s lunch, or host, or sacrifice etc.. Unless you have a 360 degree motion tracker, or even better a 3d tracker, so the damn critter crawling below you isn’t mistaken for something above you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Return

So the day after my previous post I went to Eugene for a college orientation, in not but two months I will be attending the University of Oregon, working towards a bachelor degree in science. I had a great impression of the school, the classes, some of the students were okay though most couldn’t meet my high standards of not looking like a thug, gossiping girly girl or stoner, but hey appearances aren’t everything, I hope.
My return was met with an internet failure in my house, so I spent the two days proceeding as well as the day of the release of the sequel of the best selling computer game of the world. For you not aware of this it was Starcraft2, it is an awesome game that sucked my life for four days straight, and I regret nothing from that time. Now that I am back from the strife of the Koprulu sector, having fixed the internet with my own hands, I decided to try out a flexible blogging pace. I’ll try this out for a bit, see what is to be seen and make a decision of future blog posting times.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekly Update

Another week of time and another week of progress towards my ultimate goals. As you all know I recently established a blog for the sake of sharing my ideas of the future, as well as helping them come into existence, so that is one step taken this last week. Beyond that not much direct progress has been made, we’ll see how next week turns out.

The Honey Comb

For those of you curious on how I plan on powering an underground utopia, this segment is for you. For the original designs solar panels were the dominate power source, as they would be able to use the space above ground normally used by buildings. But as our focus became stronger on zero human impact of the environment we began to look into alternate power sources. What we came up with is the use of duel power generators that both use water to generate electricity.

The first of the two generators would be geothermal, sending water from a reservoir down to be heated by thermal energy, which would turn the water to steam, forced through pipes upwards to move a turbine. This steam would condense back into hot water, which could then be used for bathing water and cooking, or allowed to cool, radiating heat into the buildings, providing heat without requiring electricity. Water allowed to cool could also be used, for bathing, drinking, cooking and farming, all of which would receive water by the downward flow of water condensed from steam. After being used for electricity and other utilities the water would then flow back to the generator room, where it would be filtered and flow back into a second geothermal well. A second boiling would cause the steam to rise through additional turbines and settle back into the reservoir, creating a full circuit in which we recycle nearly all the water, though we won’t know the efficiency until we try.

A second generator will also be working inside the generator room as an emergency system, supplementing our electricity and providing for lights in case of a main electrical failure. Two pools of water divided by a selectively permeable membrane allows water to flow between the bodies of water, but the smaller pool of the two has a higher concentration of solutes. The net water flow will attempt to create a balance between the pools, where both sides will have an equal percentage of solute. This balance will be worked towards, even if the bodies of water are not level with each other, when the side with a higher concentration of solutes has achieved a certain height over the other pool water will begin to fall through a second permeable membrane back into the lower pool. Selectively permeable membranes prevent large solutes from passing through; as a result the solutes would not be allowed to fall into the lower pool. An imbalance would be constantly in play, where water would always be moving around. Electricity could be generated from water pouring back into the lower pool as well as water movement through the membranes.

As of yet I have been unable to create a functioning generator of this type, due to a poor selection of adhesives, however each of the steps have functioned on their own, so that indicates that the entire system would work.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cyborgs Among Us

A term coined in 1960, a cyborg is a being with artificial and biological parts, we see them in fiction as a symbol of man’s dependence on technology, or the destruction of humanity at the hands of technology. Whether or not we will be destroyed by cybernetic weapons, I don’t pretend to know, but we have been creating real cyborg individuals, human and otherwise.

Now

Currently we have few cases of real cyborgs, but they are undeniably awesome. For humans the installation of a mechanical appendage is almost exclusively to replace a missing limb, lost due to injury. Pacemakers and some hearing aids are minor forms of cybernetic implants along with bone and joint replacements. All of these you probably wouldn’t take notice of on another person, but what of the non medical cyborgs, those that fuel the blockbuster hits.
From what I can find out the United State’s government isn’t currently working on any cybernetic implants for military application on humans, though if you find anything to the contrary please comment with a link. What they are working on are cyborg insects, far less expensive than building a robot fly spy, they can implant controls into flying insects such as moths and beetles with the ability to relay sound and video recordings back to base.

Future

In the next few years we may be seeing cybernetic implants for non medical purposes, performance enhancing implants may become an issue in sports as such things become more popular. Body modification culture has already begun to use electronics and mechanics to express their beliefs, I have no doubt that such body hacking will continue to grow. Electronic Implants for aesthetic purpose have only just recently become a reality but with new ways of interfacing the human body to our mechanical creations, new beautiful and possibly terrifying practices may grow out of this field.
The ability to perceive the things happening in front of you at a higher frame rate than our own eyes can process would be an amazing boon to artisans and doctors. A grounding line inside the body of an electrician might just be the difference between a tingling sensation and his body becoming a charred corpse. Fortifying the human skeleton to be more resistant to physical harm may become a procedure that cuts hospital costs across the world. Tomorrow is going to be fun.

(Sorry for the delay of Wednesday’s post, my family had a medical emergency and I was busy hanging out with the little guy. Everybody is mostly intact, so no worries.)

Toxic Food

The saying “buyer beware” has always upset me, this idea that it isn’t a company’s responsibility to make sure what they are selling will not harm those they are profiting from. A dynamic forms where the consumer is established as an asset within the profit margins of a company, calculated into how dangerous their product can be before losing too many customers to faulty or simply dangerous products. You can see this with cars, cigarettes and food, although it doesn’t feel right for any product, the calculated loss of consumers from food infuriates me the most. We have had to deal with salmonella poisoning in vegetables, mercury and lead in seafood, and brain rotting diseases from cows and guess what, today we have another problem with cows.

Currently

Currently there is debate concerning the use of antibiotics in meat. Pork and beef farmers need to treat sick animals with antibiotics, it is understandable and acceptable, but what has been happening is constant supplement of antibiotics in these animals’ diets. Farmers do this because it encourages growth in animals, so they can get more food faster and in turn make more money, the problem is that any antigens that survive will be immune to antibiotics. Because of a constant supply of antibiotics, the gene pool of everything plaguing the cows and pigs will be cleansed of weak, drug vulnerable populations, effectively making the bacon you had for breakfast into a factory for a mega-bug that will be immune to every antibiotic we can throw at it. Personally I’m not sure how the farmers who are practicing this can justify a super disease tomorrow with extra money today.


Conclusion

Alright, as tempting as it would be to pull the fear mongering card and try to scare everyone away from meat I do wish to give both sides of the story. Farmers say the restrictions that have recently been proposed for the use of antibodies would make it so any animals that succumb to sickness would be a loss on their profits, which I would imagine has always been the case. I’m sure that with the money they have they could have paid someone to come up with a better explanation. Ideally we won’t be facing a bovine born super virus, farmers will have to stop feeding healthy cows medicine and we will be able to trust the food industry a little more, personally I’m trying to find an alternative to depending on others for my food.
So for those of you who know of a reason why we should feed healthy cows medicine, please post a comment, even though I’m opposed to it I would like to hear the other side, I can hope that it will make a bit more sense than the current reasoning.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Top Ramen Torch

It was my intent to test the following two properties of a top ramen torch, duration and radius of illumination. The measuring tape and timer were ready, I had also made a crude but effective wire holder for the ramen block, but plans changed when the noodles didn’t catch on fire.

Even though what was expected did not happen does not mean today’s experiment was at all a failure, what it does indicate is that neither a match nor lighter can provide enough heat to meet the activation energy requirement that would have caused the ramen to burst into flames. Further tests involved the addition of olive oil and cooking oil however our sources of fire just didn’t have enough to start the torch. Although it would still be possible to ignite a block of ramen to test its duration and radius of illumination, we would require a much larger flame. Sadly I doubt I could get away with making a bonfire in my backyard.

In the end it seems that ramen can be used as a light source, it cannot however be lit without already having a large open flame to ignite said ramen. So for quick and cheap campfire entertainment, the burning of ramen can last for quite some time, but for those of you at home don’t rely on a top ramen torch to light your way.

Monday, July 19, 2010

This Week's Science 7/19/2010

After a weekend of dungeons and dragons, surprise grandparent visits and social drama ‘tis nice to get back to the basics, SCIENCE. This being our first week I thought we would start with something fun, lighting stuff on fire and robots. So let’s look at our schedule.

Tuesday

Not all of my home experiments may be this close to home, but this Tuesday we will be testing the emergency value of top ramen. While camping earlier this summer the rest of the Setter family discovered that the popular packaged food burns for an extended period of time compared to other camping foods, providing a light source that might be utilized in any light less situations you will find yourself in when a blackout, hurricane or zombie invasion rolls into your town. We will also be testing cooking supplies to get more out of your top ramen torch, so be ready for some unconventional cooking on Tuesday.

Wednesday

On the subject of cooking, does it ever bother you that the food we are eating could kill us because of a corporate fat cat cutting corners for a few extra bucks. Well my Wednesday rant will be on how much I hate what the free market has done with food quality, it worked getting us away from sub-par meat processing, but now that it driving our food quality down to the point where choosing brands is akin to determining which product has a lower amount of lethal chemicals, grah! Excuse me, I’ll save the rest for Wednesday, toxic food is getting me down.

Thursday

For a more positive side of life in the future, yes the future, sometime recently it stopped being the present and now is the future. Cyborgs, we know them as cold, killing machines and humanities final hope in half a dozen doomsday scenarios, but we already have them walking among us. The Idea of adding artificial body parts to a living being is in no way new, but in the last ten years a whole slew of new cybernetic beings now walk, crawl and fly. Some of which you might never see, others that you might never even notice.

Friday

By the end of the week we’ll look to what I have accomplished in my own scientific mission, as well as a look into how I plan on powering an underground society on water, both hot and cold. If you have any ideas on the subject I especially encourage you to comment on Friday’s post, maybe what you come up with will surpass what my own efforts could ever become. Remember, science isn’t a spectator sport, and in most circles, not considered a sport at all, but what do they know?

Friday, July 16, 2010

How I'm Going to Save the World

Of all the crazy schemes I have considered for changing the world, this idea is probably one of the least expensive and most practical. At least I tell myself that. For the past five years I have been researching, planning and illustrating a design for a utopian society, not driven by laws or economy, but kept in check by the structures they live in.
Dubbed the “Honeycomb” these structures will be a series of hexagonal rooms arranged in a grid, meant to provide nearly one hundred people all basic necessities as well as luxuries only experienced by the top 1% of the world.

Why This Would Work

The reason this idea could be accomplished is the independence from modern societies this would enjoy. The structures would be built underground, in an area considered unfit for development and away from other human settlements. Water flowing through the baths and taps would be recycled within the community, eliminating the need to bring in fresh water from other sources, but occasionally supplemented by the sporadic rainfall the region we would build this is located.
After initial construction nature would be allowed to return above the honeycomb, countering one of society’s biggest burdens on nature, the use of space. This community would be self-sufficient, have little to no environmental impact and provide living space in an efficient way. With this project I hope to find a solution to starvation and over population, possibly addressing social and governmental issues as well once more progress has been made and the community has been formed.

Progress

I am going to post additional information on the actual site, my notes, concept art and maybe in the future, photos of the construction. Currently we are in the funding acquisition stage, but perhaps in a few months we can purchase the land and begin construction.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Last Blog Post

I'm afraid my friends, that it is time for me to retire. To all those who have followed me, I apologize that I am leaving you now. And to all you readers just joining, I must apologize even more, since you all are new readers.
Okay so this is my first post in this venue, not my last, however first posts are far less interesting than final posts. For those of you joining us, my name is Duncan Setter, at the time of writing this I lived in Portland Oregon for the past sixteen years of my life and expect to never live here again. Not out of contempt, nor disinterest, but I feel that my aspirations in life are best fulfilled elsewhere.
Aspirations such as improving the world, solving starvation, disease, over population, corruption, theft, murder, depression and the lack of adventure our world is suffering from. I doubt I will accomplish any of these in a single life time, but if no one tried, then such things would linger forever. This blog is my way of informing the world on my own progress towards such lofty goals, as well as a way to motivate others to join me in this monumental quest.