Sunday, August 17, 2008

Odds'n Ends

Today's Bon Voyage BlogMeet was a success, with Sherlock Shomes and family, Brigid, Old Grouch, Tam and Your Humble Scribe in attendance. If you missed it, fear not-- we're having another one next Sunday!

Afterwards, a few (TBR) of us wandered down to The Good Earth, the oldest "health food" store in the city and one of the most eclectic, stocking items like good chocolate, fresh vegetables, coffee, tea and exotic soft drinks along with the dried mung beans (actually quite good), quinoa, Birkenstocks, neti pots, assorted vitamins, supplements and hemp items you'd expect. (I bought a new neti pot. I've yet to find the old one and my sinuses have been acting up).

We also stopped by the Art Center -- it's a workbenches-and-welders place, with kilns and forges tucked in the corners and wonderful art throughout the building and grounds, most of it hands-on stuff, accessible in every sense. The outdoor exhibits can be very playful, some of the youngster's work is painfully sincere but it's not condescending or effete. Highly recommended, especially if you find "Art" daunting.


Spent much of this morning extirpating some spyware that was trying to get at the controls of my laptop. Don't know how it got in but it was no treat digging it out -- like a silicon wart!


I should mention the Peel Microcar, which I just found yesterday while looking for information about Crosley's book-plate variable condenser. (BTW, you can see such a tuning device in the link to the Pup, next post down).

Another cool thing -- literally! -- that popped up in my searching was the Icyball, a batch-recycled cooling device. Yes, it was Crosley invention. Shaped something like a bent dumbbell with spherical weights and lacking moving parts; where the fridge you have now constantly recycles the coolant (Freon or some cousin, the expansion of which does the cooling), the Icyball used a water/ammonia process. The user charged it up once a day over a heat source and it spent the next 23-some hours re-expanding the coolant, keeping the "cold side" sphere at temperatures well below freezing -- as cold as 17°F. Paired up with a well-insulated ice chest, it provides excellent refrigeration with no other power. It's a sealed, welded assembly with a clever check valve and a bubbler to get the ammonia to re-absorb into the water, a process Wikipedia explains. Why aren't they all over the poorer countries? I don't know. They're nor risk-free or foolproof, operating at internal pressures up to 240 psi and holding a few pounds of anhydrous ammonia, but still...! Or is it the fact that it's off-the-grid tech that holds it back? Food for thought.


Anonymous said...

"anhydrous ammonia" pretty much answers your question. Sorry I missed the meet, just rolled in the door off of vacation myself.

Home on the Range said...

It was a great afternoon. Photos are downloading as we speak and will to to Tam's email addy.

Rob K said...

Sorry to have missed the meet-up. The weekend didn't work out as planned.

Useless trivia: My mother-in-law worked at The Good Earth back in `79 while she was pregnant with my wife. My wife says it's like home since she was gestated there.

phlegmfatale said...

I want a microcar! I want to drive around in a snowdome! KEWT!!!