People With Good Ideas

I loved this article.  I think the idea of turning time on a treadmill or exercise bike into an energy-CREATING opportunity is a definite win/win.  One of my favorite books is “The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight.” The author(Thom Hartman) makes a very compelling argument both against fossil fuel dependence, and for harnessing sun and wind.  I don’t remember if he ever got into kinetic solutions, but I’ll revisit it if I ever get the book back.

I also loved this project. Forward thinking people have been using old tires, straw bales, and recycled shipping containers to build houses for years.  This man successfully built a home from old plastic water bottles.  I can’t tell you how much that appeals to me.  These are the types of ideas that should be funded, and funded well.  They will pay huge dividends down the road, sooner rather than later.

An area that concerns me is skilled trades.  Any solutions to our problems will require chemists, scientists, architects and the like, but we are going to need people who understand basic electricity, water flow, framing, concrete work, etc.  Do we have the type of educational infrastructure in place to produce these people?  I remember that wood-shop used to be a requirement when I was in 7th and 8th grade.  I built a foot-stool.  It wobbled.  I barely touched a hammer again until it came time to build this house, and I saved thousands by being on-site, and replicating what I saw done.     Seems to me we have a great opportunity to make physical work cool again, and rewarding, both spiritually, and financially.

Technology has given us a remarkable gift, the ability to share what we have learned to anyone that wants to learn.  I have many gardening sites bookmarked that i plan to use this spring, as, again, I didn’t grow up planting anything to eat, or to smoke.  😉

What if we can turn the excesses of an empty consumer-based society into materials to use in the future?  This is possible, and we can help our children as they struggle to make a life by cleaning up some of the messes we left behind.  Seems like all we lack is the will….



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7 responses to “People With Good Ideas

  1. Not, ahem, that I’d have any experience in this matter whatsoever in the last few decades, but I understand that spotting smokable plants from the air is quite easy to do, even if they’re small plots.

  2. It always surprised me that, at least, sports facilities haven’t made use of this.

    Let’s see…you’ve got people turning your exercise bikes pretty much the entire time you’re open, and paying you to do it, AND you’ve got this huge electric bill.

    It’s not like we haven’t had the technology for the last hundred years or so.

  3. democommie

    I’ve been working on a portable, personal methane collection system.

    Seriously, I’m thinking about putting a solar water heating system in at some point. Of course in this neck of the woods, during the winter we have enough sunlight, during the winter, to make a few cups of tea some days. The bugbear is always the economics. At the moment a number of ethanol plants are either closing or cutting back on production because the price of oil is back down to pre-6/2008 levels–like that’s a good thing! Wind, solar and geothermal are all good ideas, but driving less is the one that would have the greatest immediate effect. I think I’ll set up a committee of people who are scattered across three or four states and insist that we meet weekly–in one location–to discuss the issue.

  4. Demo, the economics are getting better, and thats a good thing. Do you know anyone with a tankless water heater? They are affordable now, but one thing I can’t give up is a hot shower…

  5. democommie


    Tankless hot water heaters have been around for a long time. I think what you’re talking about is “on demand” tankless system. They have been in Europe for a long time and in this country for (I’m guessing) at least 10 years. Bosch, Rinnai, Rheem and I think Buderus are all in that business. I’ve heard bad things about Bosch. Rinnai, Rheem and Buderus all have websites–if you can’t find them as easy as typing their, let me know–and there’s tons of info.

    Affordable is a relative term. With the price of gas headed north (the slight downturn of this last quarter is an aberration–I’m sure of that) payback is sooner rather than later. Think parts and labor availability and check “Consumers Research” or elsewhere before you are seduced by the blueflame side.

    You don’t want to locate one of these, or a high efficiency furnace or boiler near your bedroom or an area where you like your peace and quiet. Some of them sound like ramjets.

    I’m still thinking about what I’m going to put in; I’ll let you know when I’ve made up my mind.

  6. Yes, On demand. I’ve read alot about them, but I’d like to meet someone that actually has one, and how they feel about it. I’ve found one company that has decent reviews, and their top of the line is only around 400-500 clams.

  7. democommie


    Tell me who it is and I will see if it’s one I’ve heard of.

    There are several important things to think about with these (you probably know what they are–but just in case). Durability, efficiency and capacity. They need to be guaranteed for at least 10years. They need to be 90% or higher efficiency. They need to be able to fill a bath tub and run the washing machine at the same time without running out of hot water.

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