DIY Insomnia Cure Ready to Assemble

This will either rid me of the insomnia of the past 15 years, or I’ll have fewer eyebrows… or heads. Either way, we’re ready to find out.

That's a soldering iron, two spools of copper wire, a ring coil (22awg) a low frequency coil of thick copper, two longer coils (medium and high frequency), a multimeter and two neodymium magnets

That’s a soldering iron, two spools of copper wire, a ring coil (22awg), a low frequency coil of thick copper, two longer coils (medium and high frequency), a multimeter and two neodymium magnets

I had the most amusement out of the two magnets. I think they’re rated around 1.5 or 1.7 tesla, but I can’t remember. Regardless, they are amusing to play with.

That's about half an inch of paper

That’s about half an inch of paper

Don't have a lot of fat, but I probably shouldn't be doing this

Don’t have a lot of fat, but I probably shouldn’t be doing this. And I just noticed, you can see my nose and eyes reflected on my ring!

By this time tomorrow, I’ll be cured! Or, someone will have to dial 911.

*For those of you still reading, this was a joke. One of my hobbies is electronics and the coils were from tesla coils and a DIY metal detector.

Site of the Week: BioLite

Ever think to yourself, “if only I could power my USB device by burning wood”?

BioLite Campstove. Power your devices with fire!

If you need to charge your USB device, but don’t want to rely on nasty nuclear or ugly coal that’s powering your house (if you’re not already on solar), then BioLite has the stove to do it. By burning leaves, twigs or what have you, never run out of power.

At first, I thought this was a joke, but it turns out to be a totally serious product. For $129, you get a stove, according to the product page that is able to :

Charge your gadgets
By converting heat from the fire into usable electricity, our stoves will recharge your phones, lights and other gadgets while you cook dinner. Unlike solar, BioLite CampStove is a true on-demand source.

But the real appeal of this is that it needs :

No fuel to buy or carry
Our stoves cook your meals with nothing but the twigs you collect on your journey, eliminating the need for heavy, expensive, polluting petroleum gas. Quick to light, fast to boil and easy to use.

Of course, there are backpack USB chargers in the market these days, but they don’t work well when it’s cloudy and not at all at night. Presumably, these probably won’t work as well when it’s raining unless you’re in a shelter with plenty of ventilation for the smoke, but you can still charge outside when dry, day or night. I’m not sure how eco-friendly it really is since you’re still burning fuel, but I imagine it’s a lot less than the several tons of CO2 expelled by your local coal power plant.

Check out the product promo :

RE: Lost in Transmission

This was going to be just a comment on a recent blog post by stewardsofearth, but since it was getting to be too long, I just decided to turn it into a post instead. Also, I wanted to link the post here as that blog is good reading for anyone interested in sustainable living.

There’s a high initial cost to sustainable alternatives that some people are unwilling or unable to invest in. E.G. Solar panels, while getting cheaper are still not cheap enough for a lot of people. Same with LED lights vs CFL and plain ‘ol incandescent. It takes foresight and a willingness to take the plunge and, of course, it would help if they don’t just take all the myths about solar at face value.

But, as you say, it does take a combination of sustainable alternatives and a change in lifestyle to make it all work. We’ve just been spoiled for the past few decades by the abundance of… well… everything. Credit, oil, jobs, homes.

If there is any upside to this bad economy, it’s that children who grow up this decade will learn the value of frugality, efficiency and the pitfalls of conspicuous consumption. Keeping up with the Jonses doesn’t make much sense when the Jonses are about to lose their McMansion to foreclosure. Likewise, it doesn’t make sense to waste resources like they’re going out of style… which we’re going out of, just not in style.

There’s another bump in the road to the widespread adoption of sustainability…

The Cult of Me

There’s a particularly insidious and rather socially self-defeating mindset among people who shun alternative energy and a frugal lifestyle. It’s the I have to “sacrifice” this and that, but at the same time the effective end result is insignificant therefore the “sacrifices” are ultimately pointless.

Let’s say I’m in the habit of buying golf tees, whether I go golfing or not, just so I’ll always have a handy supply of the brand I select. Known for using pure cedar rather than biodegradable wood composite, the brand is not as sustainable. When I’m advised by my friend who’s well versed sustainability that there’s virtually no difference with regard to performance and that I’d be helping the environment by switching to composite, I laugh and say that “it’s just a golf tee. What’s the big deal?”

To me in my own I-choose-what-I-choose because that’s what I’ve always chosen mentality and the ingrained idea that this is such a seemingly insignificant thing, it’s a perfectly reasonable response. And perfectly wrong.

What I choose is important to me and simultaneously insignificant. We call that double-think.

The problem isn’t how small the golf tee is to me or how insignificant a choice it is in the grand scheme of things, it’s that there are countless others who think the exact same way. When those countless others do the same thing I did, laugh at the apparently simple change, the company that makes the tee keeps cutting down more cedar.

We’re happy to see things from our own perspective and we always do whenever it’s convenient. But from our perspective — our own narrow perspective — we miss quite a bit of just how large our sphere of influence can be. We also fail to grasp that spheres of influence are cumulative and even an apparently insignificant change, if adopted by many, will have a much larger effect simply because our interdependence.