About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

Bladeless Wind Turbines

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Wind turbines are becoming increasingly important as a contributor to carbonless energy generation, but they have some downsides. Notably, they involve moving parts which complicates maintenance and can carve up passing flying fowl like a ginzu chef. Not cool.

A startup in Spain called Vortex has recently come up with a new design for [wind] turbines. The bladeless turbines are massive poles jutting out of the ground. Because they’re thinner than a regular wind turbine and have no blades, more of them can fit into a space, meaning more electricity can be generated while taking up less real estate.

How do they work? Simple. They jiggle. Seriously.

[The] jiggle motion is based on a branch of science called aeroelasticity.

Aeroelasticity is the study of how elastic things move when exposed to constant energy — like how a bungie cord might fare in a tornado.

A good example of aeroelasticity-gone-wild happened in 1940 at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, when it was blasted with winds up to 40 mph. The suspension cables absorbed the impact but made the bridge vibrate and undulate, causing a positive feedback loop known as an aeroelastic flutter, where each vibration made the next vibration even worse.

Source: Upworthy.

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Open Source Automated Farming

Graphically design your farm by dragging and dropping plants into the map. The game-like interface is learned in just a few minutes so you’ll be growing in no time. Plants are automatically spaced and growing regimens can be applied upon planting.

Build complete regimens for taking care of a plant throughout its lifetime by scheduling sequences to run when a plant is a certain age.

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Sources: FarmBot and FarmBot Genesis

Small Scale Livestock, Llamas, and Highland Cattle

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There’s the hardy, adaptable highland cattle of Scotland…

The Highland breed of cattle has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish Highlands. The extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection, where only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed.

…But also the camelid llamas and alpaca of South America.

In South America today the Llama is used for packing, fiber for clothing, meat and its dung is used
for fuel. The Alpaca is raised mainly for fiber production and it is also a fuel source, with its dung.
Llamas live in Bolivia, Peru and Chile.

They live at heights of 14,000 ft to the lower elevations.
They are browsers and much of what they eat is considered scrub plants. The peoples of South
America do not brand their llamas as we might, but they use tassels of different colors to identify
their herds.

Sources:
University of Kentucky
4H
Living the Country Life

Processing Pasture

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How many hours of machine time your clearing job will take depends on a lot of variables including the size of the timber, the slope of the terrain, and the rockiness of the ground, but you should probably count on it taking approximately twice as long as you expect. Using machinery, you can go from dense forest to pasture or garden soil, in about two years time. If you’re clearing the land for pasture, after tree-shearing you can now keep it cleared either with a bush-hog or maybe even goats, but if you’re looking for soil to garden or farm, tree-shearing just isn’t the solution you need because of the roots left behind.

Turning forest into pasture is a lot more complicated than may be evident. Clearing tree cover is just the beginning; then there’s the roots themselves, seeding coverage. Essentially, you’re escalating a process that nature takes years to do – starting with fire.

Sources:
homestead.org
Oregon State University

Building a tile hut. From scratch. With hand-made tools.

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To cut and carve wood I used the celt stone axe and stone chisel made in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN-34…). To carry water and make fire I used pots and fire sticks made in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCKkH…). Finally, to store fire wood and dry, unfired tiles, I used the wood shed built in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zajpk…).

At the source is a much more thorough description of the components, processes, and predecessor methodologies.

Full video:

Source: primitivetechnology.wordpress.com

Aquaculture and Agricultural Hybrid Farm

Aquaponics_with_catfish20,000 Pounds of Fish & 70,000 Pounds of Vegetables on a 1/4 Acre?

Combining the two methods of food production is a clever way of reducing some of the costs of each.

As food production by necessity begins to benefit from increased localization, things like this offer potential shortcuts.

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water only), in a carefully designed, hyper-productive closed-loop system. There is no pesticide, no fungicide, no fertilizer, no watering the garden, no bending down to weed the garden, and you produce food year round, no matter the climate or soil conditions. This can work in the Sahara Desert or in Antarctica.

Using this system, each 25 SF of grow space can feed one adult 25% of their protein and all of their table vegetables, year round, forever! On-site local food production is the ultimate form of food storage.

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Source: RealFarmacy

Activating Charcoal for Generic Poison Treatment

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Activated carbon is “activated” when its surface area is increased by physical and chemical processes. The most popular uses for activated carbon are water filtration, and treatment for acute poisoning. It reacts with various substances by binding them to its surface, so the greater the surface area, the more effective it is. Imagine you’re painting a sphere made of solid wood. The amount of paint you need depends on the amount of surface area on the sphere. But now imagine you’ve drilled hundreds of holes into the sphere — now you’ll need a lot more paint.

Carbon works the same way. If you’re filtering city water to remove the chlorine, the chlorine molecules are “adsorbed” to the surface of the carbon, and once the surface is covered with chlorine, it won’t filter anymore. But if you can “activate” the carbon to increase its surface area, it will remove much more chlorine from the water, and do it much faster.

  1. Make charcoal. You get your carbon from charcoal, and the main problem with activating it at home is the temperature at which you make the charcoal from wood. It needs to be cooked between 900 and 1400 degrees Farenheit, and it’s difficult to reach and control those temperatures in the back yard. When we made charcoal, it was questionable whether we reached those temperatures, but if you can do it, by all means go for it.
  2. Powder the charcoal. I know that pea-sized chunks are easier to handle, but because this backyard activation process is not 100% effective, you need the smallest pieces charcoal you can get, so go ahead and powder it.
  3. Make a 25% solution (by weight) of calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is widely available and generally considered non-toxic, so it’s safe to handle. To make a 25% solution, weigh 3 parts of water and mix in 1 part calcium chloride. For example, dissolve 100 grams of calcium chloride in 300 grams (same as 300 mL) of water.
  4. Make a paste with the calcium chloride solution and your powdered charcoal. Watch the video to get an idea of how much solution to use, and how thick the paste should be.
  5. Spread the paste to dry.
  6. Rinse with clean water.
  7. Bake at 225 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Notes and Tips

  • When you dissolve the calcium chloride, the water will get hot enough to scorch, so be careful!
  • The finer your carbon, the finer your filter must be when you rinse it. The powdered carbon is so fine some will even go through a coffee filter. You’ll lose a little, but you’ll still have a usable amount left, so go ahead.
  • Whatever filter you use, make sure it’s clean, but that it hasn’t been washed with scented detergent or bleach, because these will react with your carbon and make it less effective.
  • Same goes for the water you use in the rinse — it should be carbon-filtered, distilled, or reverse-osmosis filtered.

Source: Survival News Online