Question?

Redundant punctuation, I know, but just go with it for now.

What would you do if someone drove this close to you every time you passed them on the street for the last two years?

What if they came so close as to drive you to come to a complete stop at the side of the road?

What if they started doing this to your wife and/or children when they were driving?

keller close drive by finger

Now, what if you had several such events recorded on video?

What would you do?

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How Yoga Should Be Done

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Garden Plan B

So, it’s been a long time since I posted anything, but I have been busy working on projects that might be of interest.

The biggest one is the retrofitting of the hanging tomato frame I built. I tired using these over the last two years and have come to the conclusion that they are indeed totally and utter garbage.

Not only do the plants not grow anywhere near as vigorously than those planted in the traditional method, but after two years of use, most of the bags have totally disintegrated due to exposure to UV from the sun.

Now, you might be thinking that I wasted a lot of material just building the frame that I no longer have a use for. I considered the failure of the bags and what to do with the frame should this be the outcome. I built it knowing I could use it to grow something else; cucumbers.

By using pressure treated 1X4s, I enclosed the base of the frame, I filled it with a soil mixture and planted seeds.

From each of the rings used to hand the tomato grow bags I ran a heavy string all the way down to just 1” above the soil in the base.

Once the plants started to grow, it was an easy matter to wrap the plant around the line.

In some areas, it became apparent that I needed more lines. This was easily accomplished by running another line supported in between to rings.

Here are the results after a few weeks.

IMG-20140709-00332And of of this afternoon:

IMG-20140803-00349The next project is an alteration and expansion of the trellis in the front yard.

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I’ve been in this meeting…

…so sad.

 

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As promised for someone.

Here is the video.  Keep an eye on his right hand.

 

 

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Are you annalytical or intuivie? 5 second test.

Just try it.  Really cool and direct to the point.

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Solar Panel Maintenance

Solar panels simply suck.

For those wanting more of a technical detail as to the short-comings of current solar-cell technology, let me start by posting the fact that from what I can find related to current solar cell technology, the highest efficiency is listed as 44.7%.  To quote one often cited claim:

“German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin announced today that they have achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. Surpassing competition after only over three years of research, and entering the roadmap at world class level, a new record efficiency of 44.7% was measured at a concentration of 297 suns. This indicates that 44.7% of the solar spectrum’s energy, from ultraviolet through to the infrared, is converted into electrical energy. This is a major step towards reducing further the costs of solar electricity and continues to pave the way to the 50% efficiency roadmap. “

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-09-world-solar-cell-efficiency.html#jCp

The problem is that most commercial solar cells in use and available fall short of this mark, by a huge degree from what I have read and been told. Imagine only around an 18% to 23% efficiency.

Most tech can work with this even given the low efficiency except for one major category: illumination.  This is where the solar panels suck factor enters into the conversation.  Solar powered light are dim, weak and sadly a joke.

Still, with that said, I found one that works rather well if you do not mind spending a few extra dollars.

When I first purchased these, they were $66 each.  I tested one and was so please with the output, I purchased another.  Even given the harsh bright-white output of these, I am still considering replacing four halogen-based landscaping lights with four of these.

Still, after two years of use, a big problem developed.  One that I did not know anything about when it comes to solar panels oxidation.

UV radiation will cause the protective covering of solar cells to break down and turn cloudy.  This, in turn, will cause the solar cells efficiency to drop even more and mot be able to recharge the batteries the lights use at night.

I have contacted the manufacturer of the lights and read several blogs and articles about how to recondition and restore the solar panels.  This included anything from toothbrush and toothpaste as a polishing abrasive to emery cloth and oil.  I decided to try a different product based upon the oxidation of a similar plastic used in a major product most of us use every day, or rather every night:  headlights.

I picked up a Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit at a local Advanced Auto.

I started with the older and heavily oxidated solar light and was amazed at the results.  Unfortunately, I did not take any before and after pictured of this solar light.  Fort the sake of this blog, I did take pictures of the second solar light I reconditioned.

Before reconditioning:

And after:

Yes, that is my reflection on the solar cell. This is after waiting a few minutes for the final sealant to dry. I do not know how long this finish will realistically last.

The current wisdom appear to be that an automotive UV polish or similar protective substance should be applied twice a year.

I’ll have to test that out over the summer.

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