Thursday, 27 March 2014

09:54 – Spring may finally have arrived. March came in like a rabid weasel on meth, but according to the forecasts March will go out like a soft, cute, fuzzy panda, with highs in the upper 60’s (~20C) and lows well above freezing. I blame it on global climate change.

Speaking of which, the climate-change nutters are at it again. I actually saw one story that blamed that enormous mudslide in Washington on global climate change. Geez. Science is supposed to be predictive, not postdictive.

Science kit sales remain slow. We’ll be lucky to do 130% of the revenue this month that we did last March. Still, 2014Q1 revenues will be close to double those of 2013Q1, so I can’t really complain. If the past is any indication, sales will remain slow on a relative basis through April and start to pick up again in May.

I’m still accumulating items for our car emergency kits. I’d considered adding a classic Zippo lighter to each kit, but on second thought I decided not to. The Zippo lighters are extraordinarily reliable and can burn ordinary gasoline but they’re not sealed, so the fuel evaporates over just a week or so. That means I’d also have to include cans of fuel for them. Instead, I’m just going to include a three-pack of filled Ronson Comet refillable butane lighters in each kit, and perhaps a small can of butane. The Comets will hold gas indefinitely even at the high temperatures reached in a vehicle during summer. I’ll also include a 35mm film can of strike-anywhere matches and a magnesium/flint firestarter.


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62 Responses to Thursday, 27 March 2014

  1. Chuck W says:

    Things are slow for us in the video business, but — although the economy is down since the first of the year, — ours is caused by losing our biggest client. After 5 years of recording every depo she ever did, she has left her law firm to go into business with her husband, who is a new lawyer changing careers in his 40’s. Cannot blame her at all, but she was really enjoyable to work for, and I am going to miss our nearly weekly contact and reports on her teenage kids.

    The Great Recession downturn killed off a lot of our business. Prior to 2009 (when the slowdown really hit us), quite a number of lawyers always recorded with video as standard practice. They quit doing that from 2009, and most have never returned to using video for all depositions, but have been quite selective instead. Our faithful client had a case where a nurse broke down crying under questioning in a deposition that required her to blame a doctor for a serious OR mistake. The lawyer had not recorded with video, and the written transcript did not indicate the emotion of that moment. Our client lost that case, and she swore she would never again go on-record without video.

    Thank goodness.

  2. Jim B says:

    “Speaking of which, the climate-change nutters are at it again. I actually saw one story that blamed that enormous mudslide in Washington on global climate change. Geez. Science is supposed to be predictive, not postdictive.”

    Earth Hour is Saturday. Here is a paraphrase of some of their swill:

    Earth Hour will make many portions of cities worldwide dim for one hour. Individuals also may go without electricity for one hour. The time to do Earth Hour is usually (but not always) on the last Saturday of March, and will have the lights go out between 8:30 PM and 9:30 PM local time. Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia and was organized by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) along with the local newspaper. The reason to flip the switch off is to help raise awareness about climate change.

    I think the readers here are well aware of climate change and the nutters that want us to do something about it. Unfortunately, the science does not indicate what, if anything to do. Are we warming… or cooling? If we attempt to cool the planet (!) we might bring on the next ice age, and so on. I seldom see comments on the great good that warming has brought and continues to bring since the last ice age. Anyways…

    Your choice: follow the sheep and cringe in darkness, or…

    Burn, Baby, Burn! Shine your brightest lights UP!

    Preferably lights facing the sky, especially reflector flood lights, which will show up on the satellite photos many times brighter than the light leaked from our windows. This has the double effect of using a small amount of additional electrical energy, which no doubt will be reported by these media watchers. We can hope.

    Earth Hour and climate change: promoting consensus to overwhelm science.

    Spread the word.

  3. Lynn McGuire says:

    “Crimea besieged by Ukraine control of power, water”
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/crimea-besieged-ukraine-control-power-water-163357319.html

    Good thing that the Great State of Texas has its own water and power. And natural gas. And oil. And coal. And refineries. And 1/3 of the tanks in the US Army at Fort Hood.

    Of course, Texas would never secede from the Union. And take New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah, Kansas and Wyoming. Never.

  4. Ray Thompson says:

    Preferably lights facing the sky, especially reflector flood lights, which will show up on the satellite photos many times brighter than the light leaked from our windows.

    Would that include my LED outdoor floodlights? They don’t use near enough electricity I am afraid.

    I have converted all but a couple of light fixtures in my house from incandescent to LED bulbs. The CREE bulbs http://www.homedepot.com/p/Cree-60W-Equivalent-Soft-White-2700K-A19-Dimmable-LED-Light-Bulb-BA19-08027OMF-12DE26-2U100/204592770 from Home Depot to replace the standard bulbs. Really nice lights. Of course it will take me years to recoup the cost.

    Outdoor floods (10 of them) used to be incandescent before I converted them to CFL. Problem with the CFL lights was when it was really cold it took several minutes to reach full brightness. After a few years I had enough of that and converted to LED.

    I also have several low voltage lights around the pool and the back patio. I am in the process of changing all those to LED. The holdup is finding the right fixture that pleases the wife. So far nothing has passed muster.

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Actually, I think it’s more likely that the whole arc from Texas to California, along with Nevada, Utah, and south/west Colorado will fall to the reconquista.

  6. bgrigg says:

    Earth Hour.

    I shall do what I do every year for Earth Hour. I shall turn on every light in the house to raise awareness about how stupid it is to turn off the lights for an hour. This is akin to wearing blue jeans to combat breast cancer.

    Spread the word.

  7. Lynn McGuire says:

    Amazon carries a 100 W equivalent LED can light bulb nowadays for $20. I have a test bulb in the office hallway and have bought two more for the office outside lights when they fail. Very bright and very long (sticks out of the can fixture about an inch):
    http://www.amazon.com/Feit-Electric-Conserv-Energy-Dimmable-BR40/dp/B009B0TETS/

  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    As usual, the output rating is questionable to put it politely. The rated lumens don’t even make it a 75W replacement, let alone 100W.

    Of course, the same is true of compact fluorescents. When we brought home our first “100W equivalent” CFLs, I thought they looked pretty dim. So I did a side-by-side comparison in two identical lamps with regular incandescent bulbs. The “100W” CFLs weren’t as bright as the 75W incandescents and about matched the 60W incandescents.

    Evaluating brightness is extraordinarily complex scientifically, but I think the Mark 1 eyeball is the best instrument to use. I would bet that if you had 100 people do a side-by-side comparison of 100W incandescents with “100W equivalent” CFLs and LEDs, all 100 of them would agree that the incandescents are noticeably brighter than the supposed equivalents.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    I use 100 W CFL and LED bulbs to replace 65 W incandescent bulbs. So yes, they are about the same light output according to this admittedly low functional Mark 1 eyeball.

    My goal here is twofold. One, provide light for dark, windowless hallway at the office. We have a continuous U shaped hallway inside the office ringed by offices on the outside and common areas on the inside. Two, cut the air conditioning load inside the building since we air condition 8 to 9 months of the year.

    At home, I am using the 150 W CFLs (40 watt actual) for low light situations such as the garage interior. I really need to replace that with a shop light or three as that bulb does not give me enough light for our 22 ft by 35 ft garage.

  10. ech says:

    I would bet that if you had 100 people do a side-by-side comparison of 100W incandescents with “100W equivalent” CFLs and LEDs, all 100 of them would agree that the incandescents are noticeably brighter than the supposed equivalents.

    You would lose. I replaced some 100w spots in the kitchen with Feit Electric 100w equivalent LEDs and they are noticeably brighter. At least that’s what the wife and I think.

  11. brad says:

    The lumen ratings on CFLs are indeed a joke. But what I don’t understand about the CFLs is why they are always massively dimmer than normal fluorescents of the same wattage. Is this a price paid by making the tube small and squiggly?

    Also, lifetime sucks. We’ve lived in this house 14 years, and I have had to replace maybe 1/5 of the fluorescent tubes in that time (we have maybe 30 of them). I expect I’ve replaced every CFL in the house 2-3 times in the same 14 years.

    LED lighting quality is good, but good, omnidirectional bulbs are still too expensive for general use. We’ve put in a couple in hard-to-reach fixtures, but that’s it. I’m sure they will come down, but it’s going to take another few years.

    I agree with Chuck – it’s strange to think that geezerhood isn’t really all that far away. We’re planning on moving to somewhere pretty remote, but I can see that we won’t stay there forever – eventually, getting to the store, etc, will be just too hard. How long we have is hard to say, though: All of our grandparents lived to ripe old ages, and were generally pretty healthy, but all of our parents died much younger. Strange…

  12. Clark E Myers says:

    Wouldn’t have to include very much gasoline in a car kit. Many highway patrol cruisers used to and may still have a tap with hose on the gas line for motorists who needed to the next gas station gas – in these fuel injected days I’d put it on a return line but there’s often an accessible fuel filter in the run that can by Y’d or at a gas tank selector or any of many other ways to tap the vehicle for small quantities of gasoline fairly easily.

    For less than the end of the world as we know it and more for survival in comfort I’d suggest something more like the classic Jon-E Handwarmer or the Zippo equivalent for both warmth and sometime light a cigarette fire source. I mostly have a burning glass in my pocket anyway to read fine print with and of course a 12 volt spark is easy to get around a car.

    If car bag is a short term use subset of the end of the world as we know it setup that may be a little different but to the extent the car bag is a get through a few days in perfect comfort and look presentable all the while to be ready when things open up then I’d put more focus on comfort and less on survival.

  13. Chad says:

    When I am swapping out an incandescent for a CFL, I usually go one step up on the CFL. So, a 40-watt incandescent would be replaced with a 60-watt equivalent CFL. Not all CFLs are created equal either. The delay before they produce light, warm up time, life time, color temp, lumens, and overall size vary widely.

  14. Jim B says:

    Of course, my earlier post about Earth Hour was a bit of sarcasm. I have threatened to point some PAR (the outdoor type of reflector flood lamps) bulbs skyward. My feeble attempt wouldn’t swing the needle much, but IF we could get a few million folks to do the same, it would. That’s the trouble with making a statement: better to ignore such childish stuff and work for real change. Ray, any outdoor floodlights would do, but point them upward. Yeah, a pain.

    Regarding the ongoing discussion over more efficient lighting, I agree with Bob: the eyeball is a good enough instrument. After all, that is what we are trying to serve with these lights. That said, some of the newer CFLs, especially the so-called 60 watt replacements, are quite good. We have two table lamps on either side of our bed. I have been trying various 100 and 60 watt equivalent CFLs in them for years. Some 60s look brighter than some 100s. Unfortunately, there is no way I have found to predict performance before buying. Worse, buying a sample in a big box store, then buying what appears to be the exact same brand and model (if the sample performs well) a little later sometimes doesn’t work. Arrgh. Buying quality name-brands also doesn’t seem to help.

    Our house has been lit mostly by fluorescents for over thirty-five years. I have always been interested in lighting design, and my wife and I designed and (mostly) built our house. Most rooms have multiple built-in light sources, and the old linear tubes perform the best. Their large area seems to be a positive factor, especially for general area lighting. The latest improved CRI (color Rendition Index) phosphors are really good. They are less suitable for small task lighting.

    I have experimented with most small lamps over the years, and have a collection of early CFLs. Again, these vary, but most are no match for the newer lamps. We are gaining, and the prices are coming way down. I have also experimented with LEDs, but not much because of cost. So far, LEDs I have tried have poorer CRI and efficacy (useful light output per watt) than the better CFLs. This is changing rapidly, and the latest LEDs, such as the one Ray mentioned, are better.

    Lumen ratings are, indeed, subject to whim. Also, life ratings are even more exaggerated. CFLs in particular like to burn base down in open fixtures. Violating this causes the electronics to fail in surprisingly short times. My experience, however, shows they almost always outperform incandescents in operating cost, even including their higher initial cost.

    Some of the better LEDs used in expensive flashlights (yup, I’m a bit of a flashaholic, too) are moving into the general purpose devices, and this is a good trend. One example is an outdoor sidewalk flood fixture I saw recently. It has two LEDs, probably about 10 watts each. The light on the ground is impressively bright and uniform, and the color rendition is waay better than sodium vapor and even metal halide lights. Didn’t even bother to research it, because the price is likely astronomical. But, it will come down as production goes up.

    Price. I do this to get useful, aesthetic lighting at a reasonable total cost of ownership, including operation. It is easy to pay a lot and never break even. Still, there is a price for poor lighting. Ah, life.

  15. Roy Harvey says:

    Cree has a 100 watt LED bulb at Home Depot for $20 rated at 1600 lumens. For another dollar they have a daylight version.

    Once it goes through some rigamarole it will be discounted here in CT as the electric company has some sort of deal. The 60 watt 800 lumen version is just $4, though it started up around $10 or $12.

  16. Roy Harvey says:

    One thing deceptive about the CFLs I have used is that they do not reach full brightness right away. They get significantly brighter after they are on a while, but slowly enough you don’t realize it is happening. If I judged them based on their initial output I would be very unhappy with them.

  17. ech says:

    About 8 years ago, I was asked by my boss to sit in on some joint R&D project briefing telecons. One involved some white light LEDs for a classified use. (It was a non-classified briefing, so no idea of the application, btw.) The presenters, from a major lighting manufacturer, said that in looking at LED technology, it would become dominant for home use in about 10 years. Looks like they are on schedule. The major problem then was mass production – white LEDs were made by placing a phosphor over a blue or UV LED. The phosphor deposition was the difficult part. In addition, arrays of LEDs have heat dissipation problems.

  18. Lynn McGuire says:

    CFLs die on heat. I have installed about 40 of the 100 W equivalents in can lights around the office here. They usually last about 18 months with discoloration of the base indicating that it got hot. They are installed upside down which is going to be tough on the base electronics since heat rises.

    On the other hand, I put about a dozen of the 60 W equivalent CFLs outside the office in spot lights. In 2.5 years, I have replaced one and they run 12 hours per day on weekdays, 24 hours on weekend days. Six of them are on 24×7 on my little office building because I am too lazy to go turn them on/off.

  19. OFD says:

    “I think it’s more likely that the whole arc from Texas to California, along with Nevada, Utah, and south/west Colorado will fall to the reconquista.”

    Muy de acuerdo y está bien en curso, ya que “hablamos”.

  20. Lynn McGuire says:

    Yes, CFLs take about five minutes to come to full power. They look abut 60% brightness at initial power and then 100% after several minutes.

    The problem with mass adoption of LEDs is the cost. I can get six 100 W CFLs at Wal*Mart for $14, $2.33 each. If the equivalent LED is $20, then the cost differential will drive most people to buy the CFL. And the wattage saving, 23 W versus 18 W is just not enough to drive anybody to move.

    The only other consideration is lifetime and I have no feelings on that yet. LED is making some big claims on life but I doubt many consumers will believe them, we have been burned so much over the years by false claims.

  21. mratoz says:

    The Zippo lighters are extraordinarily reliable and can burn ordinary gasoline but they’re not sealed, so the fuel evaporates over just a week or so.

    I have one of these and a small metal fuel container. Probably overkill for Mr. Bob’s needs, but compact and sealed.

  22. Josh says:

    Are these survival kits something you sell?

    If not, what materials/items would you consider minimum necessary as part of such a kit?

  23. pcb_duffer says:

    A small saw like this one could be a helpful part of an auto emergency bag / bug out bag.

    http://tools.woot.com/offers/barracuda-folding-pruning-10-inch-pull-saw-w-7-tpi-10?ref=cnt_wp_2_1

  24. Ray Thompson says:

    I would bet that if you had 100 people do a side-by-side comparison of 100W incandescents with “100W equivalent” CFLs and LEDs, all 100 of them would agree that the incandescents are noticeably brighter than the supposed equivalents.

    I would disagree. The CREE lights that I purchased that are 60 watt equivalent are just as bright as 60 watt incandescent bulbs. CFL’s were highly overrated, the LED bulbs seem to be really close. At least to my Mark 1 sensor.

    LED lighting quality is good, but good, omnidirectional bulbs are still too expensive for general use.

    The CREE bulbs have a light pattern that is equivalent to a regular bulb.

  25. Roy F. Truax says:

    The members of the Church of Human Caused Global Warming, excuse me Climate Change, deny the validityof the scientific method, as well as witten history. It has to be a religion, because you have to believe in a pack of lies to belong.

  26. Chuck W says:

    My closest Menards still has what the sales kids call “old school” bulbs. I will be buying those for as long as they carry them. Threw out 2 CFL’s somebody else put in lamps I use as utterly worthless. I am never going to get used to the delay when turning them on, so after the way too dim CFL’s, I will never use them again.

    Kitchen is 90% fluorescent, so I do not feel bad. I never have been a fan of bright ceiling lights throwing light everywhere from a totally uncontrolled source, so I converted the ceiling fixtures in Tiny House to the same stuff we had in Berlin. That is the tiny halogen floods which throw base lighting on the walls, instead of blinding you with an uncontrolled sun in the ceiling. I converted all but one room; the fixtures were made in Poland (another Menards purchase), but when I went back to get another one for the final room conversion, they were out. Sales kids have no idea if they will ever get more again. I love gigantic corporate sales organizations that put the customers’ needs and problems completely out of their minds and methods.

  27. Chuck W says:

    Love that Amazon magnesium fire starter. Marked down to a mere $4.19 from $375.95. Such a deal! Click on the picture for an “expanded view” and it opens a smaller pic than the one already displayed.

    I love Amazon. Just got a refund on those flashlights from Hong Kong mentioned here a number of months ago. I ordered one for everybody in the family; got a message from the seller that it was shipped, charging my card, of course. Three months later — nothing.

    Took me over 3 weeks to work through Amazon’s complaint procedures, but the refund notice came just minutes ago (it’s almost 01:00 as I write this). The seller must be a scam artist, as there are dozens and dozens of complaints about the seller not delivering anything. Kind of shakes my confidence in Amazon’s Marketplace. I had one of those odd feelings when the ‘shipped’ email said there was no tracking on the package.

  28. Jim B says:

    “Yes, CFLs take about five minutes to come to full power. They look abut 60% brightness at initial power and then 100% after several minutes.”

    Linear fixtures compensate for the lamp’s natural warm-up time by increasing current at first, then ramping down to normal as the lamp warms up. Recent electronic ballasts do this by different means. Apparently this feature is now being built in to some CFLs. Some of the newer ones actually seem to come to full light output within a second or two of starting at room temperature. I have monitored the power, but it doesn’t vary much, so I am not sure how this is done. Could be variable frequency. Some CFLs I have dissected have a lot of circuitry. However, warm up compensation can shorten lamp life, especially if taken to the extreme for cold weather compensation.

    Also, some CFLs delay starting by up to a second or so, during which time they are dark. This is annoying, because it makes one wonder if the light has failed. This could be a preheat of the filaments, which can greatly extend life in applications where the light is turned on and off often. Or not: CFLs are pretty cheaply designed, and I wonder if their circuitry is very sophisticated. Another factor is that development on CFLs is likely slowing as LEDs come into more use.

    So, again, buying a commodity CFL is a crapshoot. It is always nice to get one that lights instantly and reaches full perceived brightness immediately. Good luck.

    Finally, I should mention color rendition, which is different from color temperature. Many CFLs are “warm white,” some are downright orange, and some are said to be “daylight.” Again, models and production lots vary. Even if we have a CFL that looks just right, it may not render colors very well. The phosphors emit a discontinuous spectrum that is nowhere near a black body radiator (incandescent lamp.) This has been going on for decades, so is nothing new. Again, linear tubes have the advantage. Some of the newest lamps have excellent phosphors, and their price is usually higher than the bargain “cool white” lamps, which have the greatest useful light output per watt. You pays your money…

    Whew! More than I intended, and I haven’t even touched on LEDs. Let me leave this with the observation that white LEDs use phosphor to produce their light, just like the fluorescents, and so have many of the same problems: color rendition and degradation over life. Another class of LED lighting uses a tri-color array of red, blue, and green emitters. These have still different characteristics. Oh, and GE is said to be developing a super efficient incandescent lamp that traps some of its heat to lower power loss; it already has doubled efficiency, and is said to eventually approach CFLs in efficiency. We live in exciting times.

  29. Jim B says:

    “I never have been a fan of bright ceiling lights throwing light everywhere from a totally uncontrolled source, so I converted the ceiling fixtures in Tiny House to the same stuff we had in Berlin. That is the tiny halogen floods which throw base lighting on the walls, instead of blinding you with an uncontrolled sun in the ceiling.”

    Amen. There is a great difference between spaces festooned with lights and those with lighting designed for them. Sadly, there are more bad examples than good ones.

    LEDs are inherently directional, and that should present an opportunity to design a whole new class of fixtures similar to what you want. That outdoor sidewalk flood fixture I saw recently is a perfect example. Optics is key, and needs careful design. Again, I look to flashlights as some inspiration, although these tend to have pretty narrow beamwidth. Heat sinking can also be tricky. Patience is needed.

  30. As regards: “Didn’t even bother to research it, because the price is likely astronomical.”

    No, prices have already come down. See, for instance:

    http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Beams-MB380-Weatherproof-Spotlight/dp/B00EP6I7EG

  31. dkreck says:

    Coming home last night I drove past the junior college I noticed the parking lots looked different. They’ve replaced all the street light style heads with led heads. The thing you really notice is how white they are. Normally I prefer warm white for outdoor lighting but these didn’t seem too bad, unlike the metal halide ones that are almost blinding.

  32. brad says:

    Including the circuitry inside the CFL is a problem. Aside from the heat problem, it is going to be cheaply made. As others here have noted – becomes a major failure point.

    We have half-a-dozen high quality CFL lamps, where the circuitry is in the base of the lamp. The bulbs really are just bulbs, no circuitry at all. Of course, this means you cannot use any other type of bulb – it has to be CFL with the special socket (gx24q). These do deliver better results that the standard CFLs, but the lamps were expensive.

  33. Chad says:

    I can get six 100 W CFLs at Wal*Mart for $14…

    But then you’d have to go to Wal-Mart. 🙂

  34. Chad says:

    I’m still accumulating items for our car emergency kits. I’d considered adding a classic Zippo lighter to each kit, but on second thought I decided not to. The Zippo lighters are extraordinarily reliable and can burn ordinary gasoline but they’re not sealed, so the fuel evaporates over just a week or so.

    Zippo still makes a great lighter, but the quality isn’t what it used to be. They use thinner metal on the casing and the hinge isn’t as strong. The last few I bought all ended up with the flip top being bent a little off center. Never had that problem with the old ones. Also, maybe it’s just perception, but the packing material inside the older ones was better too and did a better job of holding the fluid. So, if you’re going to buy a Zippo, then buy a used from 25+ years ago.

    When I was a heavy smoker and active duty in the USAF I refilled my Zippo a few times with JP-8. I got tired of carrying a can of Zippo fluid with me on missions, so I switched to those simple Bic lighters you can pick up at any gas station. They weren’t wind-proof, but they had a decent life and were cheap. Matches work well in high wind, so long as you light what you need to light when the phosphorus is still flaring. There’s a technique to it. 🙂

  35. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I have a couple of torch butane lighters that I’ll add to the kits. Those things will light and stay lit in a hurricane.

    I may also include a 30 g bottle of potassium permanganate and a dropper bottle of glycerol. Adding a few drops of glycerol to a small pile of the permanganate crystals creates an extremely hot flame, hot enough to ignite thermite, which isn’t easy to get burning. I have to do some testing, though. I read somewhere that the reaction doesn’t start if the temperature is much below room temperature. If that’s true, I won’t bother carrying them because a firestarter that won’t work when it’s cold out is pretty useless.

    A lot of people who read my final list will probably think I’ve gone overboard on firestarting gear. Anyone who’s ever tried to get a fire going with wet wood when it’s rainy, cold, and windy won’t think so.

  36. OFD says:

    Agreed, 200%. Also in heavy snow and wind. You wanna get that fire going ASAP, and not just to be cozy and warm and comfy but to prevent hypothermia which is a killer. That, the wottuh, and a means to light your activities and you’re off to a good start.

  37. Lynn McGuire says:

    A small saw like this one could be a helpful part of an auto emergency bag / bug out bag.

    http://tools.woot.com/offers/barracuda-folding-pruning-10-inch-pull-saw-w-7-tpi-10?ref=cnt_wp_2_1

    I would prefer a fully enclosed hand saw such as:
    http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-15-579-15-Inch-SharpTooth-Cutting/dp/B00009OYG5/

    You may have to cut through a fallen tree to get down a road or cut some firewood. An enclosed hand lets you put a lot more force onto the saw. And less chance of your hand slipping off and hurting yourself.

  38. MrAtoz says:

    The Washington Free Beacon has a nice summary of corruptocrat Harry Reid. Our K-12 school system here in NV is rated number 50 amongst the states. No wonder guys like Reid stay in office. Most of the people who voted for him probably barely read. Whoever lies the most and promises the most free stuff get elected. I think he showed up once or twice during his last election to campaign. He just called all the unions to get the vote out for him for pay back. If our Gov Sandoval runs against Reid in 2016, Reid may actually have to campaign to win.

  39. bgrigg says:

    “You may have to cut through a fallen tree to get down a road or cut some firewood. An enclosed hand lets you put a lot more force onto the saw. And less chance of your hand slipping off and hurting yourself.”

    I prefer a buck saw, and here’s one that is portable and compact: http://www.leevalley.com/US/Garden/page.aspx?p=44171&cat=2,42706,40721&ap=1

  40. OFD says:

    “Most of the people who voted for him probably barely read. Whoever lies the most and promises the most free stuff get elected.”

    Of the smaller and decreasing numbers of peeps in this country who still bother to vote, a higher percentage are evidently illiterate, innumerate and have zero knowledge of their own nation’s history. And it’s increasingly clear that they do, in fact, vote for whoever promises the most freebies and bennies, taken at figurative/literal gunpoint from the rest of us.

    Meanwhile the people they elect grow ever more cynical, hypocritical and venal, when not actually evil.

  41. Lynn McGuire says:

    These idiots are messing with our food supply more and more, “White House looks to regulate cow flatulence as part of climate agenda”:
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/28/white-house-looks-to-regulate-cow-flatulence-as-part-of-climate-agenda/#ixzz2xJL5ZLFc

    I feel that the White House, you know, the First Vacation in Chiefer, will introduce a new mechanism of honoring governmental officials with the proven “Comrade” phrase soon.

    BTW, I have been proud of the changes that the EPA has made to our country in the last 50 years. We do have noticeably better air and water here in Houston (I can remember when they used to dump bad gasoline batches in the ship channel back in the 1960s). But, the time has come to defund the EPA and shut it down. We can restart the EPA later with a new President who is not a mockery. And without the 80,000 employees that it has nowadays.

  42. Chuck W says:

    Water has been a worldwide cleanup. Every country, everywhere in the advanced civilized world, got serious about water quality in the ’70’s, and managed to get it fixed by the end of the ’80’s. Indianapolis water stunk so bad, I had a hard time drinking it as a kid, and drank almost anything else. Although it is usually alcoholics who confess that water never touches their lips, that was my motto back then.

    I credit clean water as the primary thing that has extended life. Yeah, they also figured out how to deal with high blood pressure, which has saved many souls, but clean, unadulterated safe water is the prime reason, IMO.

  43. bgrigg says:

    “White House looks to regulate cow flatulence as part of climate agenda”

    Perhaps Obama could stick his head up some cow’s backside to block the offending gases?

  44. SteveF says:

    He doesn’t like to get that close to Moochelle.

  45. Roy Harvey says:

    If you are trying to cut through a downed tree or limb you really do not want anything like a carpenter’s saw, it is not aggressive enough. A good bow saw, or (far more compact) a folding pruning saw is the way to go. I really like a one-hand pruning saw with inward-curved blade that cuts on the pull stroke. They cut so fast it is amazing. They will go through any tree that the blade is long enough, and if you have good access around it long enough means just a bit more than half way. There are unmaintained trails I use in a nearby state park and I carry one such, it is amazing.

  46. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Agreed.

    I’m including a Sven saw in one of the kits, because I already had it. It folds up and is very compact. In the other kit I’m using a US-made chain saw (not the power type, the cable type) that gets excellent reviews.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0026OOS60/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  47. SteveF says:

    The problem I have with chain saws (2 words) is that they wrap around the branch, so teeth around half the circumference are biting, so you gotta be as strong as a friggin gorilla to cut anything thicker than your forearm. It’s possible to do if the teeth are new and sharp, but quickly becomes impossible. Maybe newer or different models have better steel that stays sharp longer, or some design change to prevent this.

    My car crate has a straight pruning saw with about a 10″ blade. Good enough to clear a path if a tornado drops a tree in the road (as has happened a couple times in the past couple years) and that’s all I’m looking for in a usually-carry tool.

    (The first tornado was considered an aberration, as we seldom get trees dropped up here. The second tornado, the following summer, dropped lots of trees, causing lots of roads to be blocked. It was like traversing a maze in the dark with the lights out to get my daughter home. If I’d had a way to trim the branches we could have had an almost straight path, though I’ll admit that clearing a path past two or three trees might have taken longer than finding an unblocked road.)

  48. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Good thought. I’ll have to test it. The last time I used a chain saw was probably 40 years ago, when I *was* as strong as a friggin’ gorilla.

    Also keep in mind that these are always-carried kits, intended to make things more comfortable for 2-person-plus-1-dog for three days. That’s why I’m compromising on quality for price. For example, I’m including two $4 LED flashlights per kit. They may not be as good or as reliable as expensive models, but there’ll be at least two available, besides the two or three ordinarily in my pockets and in the consoles of the cars. Same deal on stuff like the $10 folding knives and $10 multi-tools. They are, as Pournelle would say, Good Enough, and there’s duplication.

    The goal is maximum utility at the minimum price consonant with reasonable quality.

  49. bgrigg says:

    ALL saws need to be sharpened, just like all knives do. It’s a poor workman who blames their tools. 🙂

  50. OFD says:

    Can we at some point get a collected list here of the best suggestions that will actually go into the kits?

    Mine will include a small portable shortwave/AM/FM radio with batteries and a longwire antenna that we can string between trees or whatever. And probably a pair of the portable two-way radios as well.

    And a bit of reading material. To which end, if I could only take three volumes that would have to last me a while: The 1611 KJV, the Oxford Shakespeare Histories (one volume, pb) and a good survival manual.

  51. SteveF says:

    bgrigg, I’m not talking about using a saw for three years and never sharpening it. I’m talking about using a new chain saw which cuts through a three-inch hardwood branch OK but is noticeably dulled before it’s halfway through the second three-inch branch. It was probably cheap steel, though the chain saw itself was not inexpensive. It might have been something about the design, with the human inability to pull perfectly straight and the teeth being dulled by being pulled at an angle through the wood. Regardless, I won’t be buying another unless someone I trust says it’s good enough.

  52. Lynn McGuire says:

    I’m going to stick with my enclosed hand cross cut saw. In fact, I carry one in my truck at all times (yes, I am crazy). Yes, I do like buck saws also and that portable one is totally cool. But it is $30.

    BTW, I am thinking about buying a new Ford 3/4 ton crew cab truck with an 8 ft bed (yes, 25 ft long). Just a plain truck with vinyl floor and vinyl seats. But with cruise, power windows and a CD radio. 4WD or not? $30K for the Supercab version.
    http://legacyfordtx.com/Houston/For-Sale/New/Ford/Super-Duty/2014-F-250-XL-White-Truck/24830972/

    4WD adds about $5K and drops the gas mileage even more over that 6.2L gasoline engine.

  53. bgrigg says:

    Wait, you’re willing to drop 30 large on a truck, but not $30 on a saw that will cut down the tree blocking your truck? Pennywise and pound foolish comes to mind.

  54. Lynn McGuire says:

    I believe that Bob is talking about assembling a vehicle emergency kit for sale. Component pricing is important as he probably needs to be below $100 for a $200 price.

  55. bgrigg says:

    Ah, that changes everything.

    The buck saw I linked to was originally designed for hikers, not preppers, and hiker can’t spend their money fast enough on equipment.

  56. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    No, actually. I hadn’t even thought about selling emergency kits. I’m just putting together kits for Barbara’s and my vehicles. There’s no way I could come close to a $100 cost basis. For example, I just added $20 lifestraws to each of the kits. I’m considerably over $100 per kit now, and that doesn’t include food, clothing, or medical kits.

  57. MrAtoz says:

    Mr. Bob,

    Would this work from REI for the kit rehydration therapy? Maybe too pricey for what’s in it. Can you comment on whether this would suffice.

  58. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Wow. Three bucks a liter? That’s two or three times more than I’d expect.

    The other issue, assuming the image is accurate, is that the formulation they’re using is several years out of date. Back in (IIRC) 2006, WHO changed its recommendation to a reduced osmolarity formulation that contains the following per liter:

    Glucose (dextrose) anhydrous – 13.5 g/L
    Potassium chloride – 1.5 g/L
    Sodium chloride – 2.6 g/L
    Sodium citrate tribasic dihydrate – 2.9 g/L

    The concentrations (absolute and relative to each other) are critical, and the higher concentrations listed on that image are completely out of whack. The higher concentrations actually result in significantly worse outcomes.

    Also, the prices of USP or FCC grade chemicals are low enough that $1/packet would be a more reasonable price. I plan to make my ORS up in a quart ziplock that contains sufficient for 20 liters. I doubt it’ll cost even $20 to make up.

  59. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Incidentally, you can make up a pretty fair substitute for ORS using supermarket items. For a packet to make up one liter, start with:

    ordinary table sugar (six level teaspoons)
    ordinary table salt (1/2 level teaspoon)

    if available, also add:

    salt substitute labeled as potassium chloride (1/4 level teaspoon)
    sour salts labeled as containing trisodium citrate, NOT citric acid (~ 1/2 level teaspoon)

    The potassium is important to address hypokalemia, which is common with severe diarrhea. The trisodium citrate is also important to address acidosis, which is also common with severe diarrhea.

    I also plan to include sufficient USP zinc sulfate to provide about 10 to 15 mg of zinc per day, which improves outcomes in severe diarrhea. The zinc is not a standard component of RHS, but is usually administered separately.

  60. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Incidentally, zinc supplement tablets are a good source of zinc if you’re making up your own ORS.

  61. SteveF says:

    But… but… By providing this recipe for people to make up their own mix, you’re cutting into the profits of companies that charge $3 for a few cents’ worth of ingredients. Why do you hate capitalism??!!

    I’m joking, of course, but I’ve had a similar accusation thrown at me. One of the things I do professionally is automate repetitive jobs. Including the jobs of contractors at government agencies and banks and such.* I’ve been bitched out by managers and worker bees alike. (“Attempted to be bitched out”, I should say. I don’t suffer fools or bullies gladly.)

    * In theory I also automated away the jobs of several state “workers”, but in practice that didn’t happen. One woman’s job had been to produce a weekly report. It took her a full week to gather the data and collate it into a report. After I finished a web app which, among other things, made this report in a few minutes, the woman’s sole job was to click the button which kicked off the report, then print copies and distribute them. She was glad because she was only a couple years from retirement and she’d been working too hard before, when she actually had to, you know, work for her paycheck.

  62. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    ORS packets are a commodity, distributed by the tens of millions in the third world at a cost to distributors of a few cents per packet.

    Note that the most expensive component, dextrose, costs well under a buck a kilo in quantity. A kilo is sufficient to make about 70 1-liter packets, so the major component costs about $0.01 per packet. Call it maybe $0.03/packet in chemical cost plus whatever it costs to package it. Probably another $0.01/packet, so the actual cost is maybe four or five cents per one-liter packet.

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