Category Archives: Freedom

DIY Energy

In the spirit of Earth Day last week, I wanted to talk a little about some green energy sources. Not because I think the earth has a temperature and I feel we owe it to her to reduce our carbon footprint, but because in all the research that I’ve done, so called green energy sources are most conducive to long term personal or family energy sources. Sure anyone can buy a gas generator but it only provides energy as long as the gas holds out. Coal_transformationSince gas degrades over time, in a TEOTWAWKI world after several months gasoline will gum and drop octane, making gasoline generators a poor long term alternative energy source. Considering how 90% of modern American electricity is produced in power plants using a type of fossil fuel to create steam, which is used to turn a turbine, thus creating the electricity. Since the process takes place on such a massive scale, the burning of the fossil fuel becomes not only cost effective but actually cheaper than most other forms of electricity production.

The problem with producing electricity for your household in this manner is that due to the small amount you’re producing and the cost of the fuel and equipment, it becomes very expensive. The average American household consumes almost 11,000 kilowatt/hours per month, according to Consumer Reports there are two types of home generators, portable and fixed and they are capable of producing 2,500-20,000 watts. The problem, other than the cost, is that few of these generators are designed to provide power on a full time basis.

hydropowerIf you could replace the gas motor with another means of turning the generator, you would eliminate the cost of the fuel and the wear on the gas motor. In a perfect world it could be replaced by a fast moving stream or waterfall. Another possible replacement is wind, if you are in an area that has a perpetually strong wind.

What could we use as a generator? I’m speaking here about the device that will actually create the electricity. To generate electricity through induction all you need to do is spin a magnet or group of magnets, inside a wire coil. The amount of electricity created is affected by length of wire, strength of the magnetic field, and velocity of movement inside the magnetic field. I’m not going to get into the science behind this because that is beyond the scope of this discussion. But I will give you some ideas on where you can find some generators relatively inexpensively.

how-solar-energy-systems-operateBefore I get into suggestions on generators, let’s talk a little about power delivery. You will want a place to store your generated energy and it’s not like you can hang it on a hanger in the coat closet or put it in a box in the guest bedroom closet. A battery compartment will be required and of course the electricity you create will be stored in 12 volt batteries. Which brings us to the next part of the system you will need, a charge controller. A charge controller protects your battery,windmill how well it protects the battery depends on the quality of the charge controller and the features that it has. If you’ve read anything that I’ve previously written, you’ll know that I’m a huge believer in layering; layer your clothes, layer your plans, layer your defenses. Why would your energy grid be any different? If you’re using wind or hydro or both, you can add solar to your grid for relatively low cost. Since the batteries store DC power and your home runs on AC, you will need a sine wave inverter to convert the power from DC to AC. Unless you want to live completely off grid, in which case you could look into replacing all of your devices with a 12 volt DC equivalent. There are definite pluses to being off grid but there also pluses to being on grid. In fact some power companies will actually pay you for excess power that you produce.

Where can you get these generators? batteryWell we are charging 12 volt batteries, what else runs on 12 volt batteries? Cars and trucks use a 12 volt battery, and it is recharged by the vehicles alternator. We can use air or water to turn the alternator and use the alternator to charge our batteries and 10 batteries connected in series will be 120 volts which will power most homes.



Mountain Survival

If you live in the mountains, you’re probably aware of the unique hazards associated with this environment. You may get something out of this week’s article but it is meant for people that are either city dwellers or live down in the flat. It will be a big help to the people of California that are trying to escape overhiker the mountains before Governor Moonbeam builds his wall. Seriously though, the effects of altitude on the body, environment and weather make mountain survival truly unique.

If you find yourself having to cross large mountain ranges, stick to the passes or canyons. Figuring that it would be shorter to go over the mountain, rather than around it may be true for birds but unless you’re in an airplane, it’s not so for humans. They may not look steep from a distance and even as you begin scaling them they may not seem bad, until they are.mountain Nonacclimatized individuals rapidly ascending above 3,000 meters (9800 feet) are at risk of developing high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), a life threatening condition where the air pockets in the lungs fill with liquid.

Many people are afraid of bears or mountain lions or wolves or some such animal, that they are going to be attacked or eaten, but you are far more likely to die from the elements. The mountain will kill you before something that lives on the mountain will.

I will include a quick note about wild animals… For the most part they are more afraid of you than you are of them. There are very few actual man eaters in the mountains.mountain-lion-on-rock_jpg_adapt_945_1 Even grizzly bears and mountain lions would much prefer easier prey than humans. That said there’s no sense tempting fate, so when encountered give them a wide berth, but DO NOT run from them. This same advice should include ANY large animals that have young with them. You seriously don’t want to get between momma and her baby! Your food can attract animals, especially meat, so take care to keep any that you may be carrying in airtight wrapping.

Temperature can be a killer on the mountain. During the spring and fall, the daytime temperature can be, depending on altitude, up in the 70’s or 80’s (Fahrenheit) but at night can still get down below freezing. So it’s very important to layer your clothes! If you’ve been out hiking all day and your clothes are sweaty and wet, and then the temperature drops off fast at night you could find yourself in a hypothermia situation.

Weather at high altitude can change rapidly, due in part to the more powerful and steady winds aloft. Also as water vapor forms clouds and is blown across the mountains, even if it doesn’t become a storm,shelter due to the resulting contact with the ground, water condenses on objects making you and your gear wet. As I talk about in The Rule of 3’s, one of the first things you should think about, especially in a mountain environment is protection from the elements. Starting with your clothes, you should have at least 2 ways to stay dry, and a method of building and/or maintaining a shelter.

Another concern is the need for water. The air at high altitude is very dry (when there’s no precipitation present) especially in the winter when the moisture in the air is frozen. This leads to… DON’T EAT THE SNOW! Although it satisfies thecreek need for water, it erodes the need for shelter; in that it lowers the core body temperature and can lead to hypothermia. There is a long running myth that fast moving water is safe to drink, all ground water found in nature should be treated or filtered before consumption. There is the possibility that you will be okay drinking it, however any bacteria present could result in stomach cramps, diarrhea, even parasites. I don’t think I need to tell you that if you’re running from Governor Moonbeam’s stormtroopers, drinking bad water will really slow you down!



Having FON Yet?

According to international law, all sea bordering countries are allowed to claim 12 miles off their coast as their sovereign water. Outside 12 miles from every country is considered international waters and can be used by any other country for any internationally legal use. With every rule there are always exceptions. One such exception is that if the sea lane is less than 12 miles wide and there is international water on either side of the sea lane, free travel must be allowed. There are other exceptions as well, but the primary one that I want to discuss is when a country tries to claim more than the 12 miles. This is pretty common because the 12 mile limit is supposed to follow the coastline, however sometimes a country will have a gulf that exists adjacent to their  country and although they’re only entitled to 12 miles off their coast they will claim the whole gulf. After a period of time, that country will then go to the United Nations and claim that since no other countries use that waterway, it should be internationally recognized as In places where there are internationally contested waters the US Navy will periodically conduct Freedom Of Navigation (FON) operations. Where a ship will navigate through the contested waters and their movement will then be sent to the UN to prove that it is indeed not undisputed water and that other countries do use it. You may be thinking right now that it’s not their place, why doesn’t the US just mind their own business? Great question let me give you an example. Say Country B claims the whole gulf instead of just the 12 mile limit. If left undisputed, the fishermen from countries A and C couldn’t fish the very rich fisheries in the gulf which they should be able to do.

It’s all very interesting but, so what? Why am I bringing this up? Well its relevance is very simple. We, all must occasionally conduct FON Ops. I’m not talking about buying a boat and heading to some disputed water. I’m talking about exercising your rights sometimes just because you have the right to do it! I’m talking here about peaceful protest, speaking your mind and letting your voice be heard, carrying a gun if and when you can (NOT ILLEGALLY!),chl if the police want to look around your property or search your car, make them get a warrant. Look I’m not saying from now on lets all just be argumentative, I’m not saying that at all. Let me relate an experience that happened to me recently.

People that know me can attest that I’m a pretty big gun rights advocate, not that I’m an activist or anything. I just believe passionately in my Second Amendment rights, that it’s the 2nd that give the rest teeth, and if it goes away the others will follow. As I’ve stated before, I live in Texas and have had a Concealed Handgun License for years. For those of you that don’t know, as of January 1st 2016, anyone that possesses a CHL in Texas, can now carry an open handgun. In other words, handguns, if carried in a designated manner, no longer have to be concealed. I have a full sized 1911 .45 ACP that I have rarely carried because it’s so large that it’s difficult to carry concealed, but it’s also my favorite gun to shoot and the one that I am most accurate with. When the new law passed, I thought “I will finally get to carry my 1911” and occasionally I do, in a shoulder holster.shoulderholster Last week I was shopping in Costco warehouse near my home. I’ve been a member there for over 11 years and have been in there several times, open carrying since it was legal to do so. I was approached at the back of the store by what turned out to be a manager, who informed me that my gun was not allowed in Costco, I asked if it was because I was open carrying, because they didn’t have the required signage prohibiting it. He asserted that all guns were prohibited. To make a very long story short, I left with a refund of my membership fee and vowed I would never go back. I then appealed to the corporate office, hoping that it was just an antigun manager and that I could at least carry concealed in the store.  The response that I got from Costco corporate headquarters was actually more ridiculous than what I was told at the store. I was told that for the safety of Costco guests and staff no firearms were allowed on the premises. I say more ridiculous because most mass shootings happen in gun free zones, so by banning guns they’re actually increasing their risk factor. DS-mass-shootingsI have been asked by friends and associates why, I didn’t just leave and come back either without a gun or just carry concealed. The answer is this: to carry after I have been verbally notified that it is not allowed makes my doing so a crime; to not carry and continue to shop there, requires that I compromise my beliefs and in my eyes at least, put the lives of my family and myself at risk.

Folks, like I said earlier, I’m an advocate. I truly believe more guns make a society safer. To that end, I refuse to do business with companies that don’t allow some form of handgun carry. I understand property owners have rights too, if they don’t want people walking around their store with a hand cannon on their hip, I will still do business with them if they will allow me (and others) to carry concealed. If, like in the case of Costco, they ban all firearms from their store, I believe their policy is foolish and dangerous and I will spend my money elsewhere. Studies show that 32% of Americans own guns. If those gun owners stopped doing business with companies that are openly hostile to gun ownership, those companies profits would tumble to the point, they would necessarily be required to change their policies or go bankrupt.deathsUS

I’m merely using gun ownership as an example; there are many issues out there that people feel strongly about. Take a stand and stop supporting something that you disagree with by blindly going along. Before you start with, one person can’t make a difference, you’re right, one can’t, but it has to start somewhere and if everyone took a stand for what they believe in, then we will make a difference. This includes these Hollywood celebrities that use their popularity to further a cause. If they come out against something you’re passionate about, blacklist them. There are several stars that I won’t watch a movie just because they’re in it! And I’m a big movie fan! I have purchased over 500 movies.

Go out there and exercise your Freedom Of Navigation! Are you having FON yet?