Saturday, August 29, 2009

Underground Carpenter Survey

Everyone is invited to take this quick-and-easy survey to help Carpenter better understand demographic trends.

Click Here to take survey

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Damn Questions

1. With the shocking prices that hospitals charge, why isn't there a hospital on every street corner in America? There's certainly a drug store on every corner, which follows from the profitability of drugs.
2. If there were no medical insurance available, would medical care cost as much as it does? Would fat people lose weight if they couldn't afford their cholesterol meds and angioplasty?
3. Without financing, would cars and houses cost as much as they do? If we knew the exact amount that it increased the cost of these two essential American possessions, would we tolerate government regulations and building codes?
4. Fire departments cost a lot of money. Wouldn't it be easier to build homes that don't burn? Mark Twain asked this question over a century ago.
5. Which is cheaper for the U.S. government to subsidize, oil wars or wind generators and solar panels?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Solar and Wind Power Questions

I've been reading about solar voltaic and wind generator systems. The best book so far is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solar Power for Your Home, by Dan Ramsey. I've also been reading back issues of Home Power Magazine, which is the best place to start finding out about solar and wind power. You can get an online subscription for $10 which allows you to read all their back issues.
There are some questions I haven't found answers to yet. Solar PV panels put out direct current, so you need an inverter to change direct to alternating current. To match your power company's 60 Hz current, your inverter has to be a synchronous inverter. Does your system's voltage have to match the power company's exactly? Any solar or wind system is constantly changing, so does the inverter also constrain the voltage? If so, does the constraint "chop off" any usable power above what the inverter needs to make exactly 240 volts? And are there any compatibility problems with the wind generator and solar panels, like say the sun is shining brightly but the wind is calm, or the wind is howling at midnight?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sharpnesse in his Writing

Neither can his Mind be thought to be in Tune, whose words do jarre; nor his reason in frame, whose sentence is preposterous; nor his Elocution clear and perfect, whose utterance breaks itself into fragments and uncertainties. Negligent speech doth not onely discredit the person of the Speaker, but it discrediteth the opinion of his reason and judgement; it discrediteth the force and uniformity of the matter and substance. If it be so then in words, which fly and ‘scape censure, and where one good Phrase asks pardon for many incongruities and faults, how then shall he be thought wise whose penning is thin and shallow? How shall you look for wit from him whose leasure and head, assisted with the examination of his eyes, yeeld you no life or sharpnesse in his writing?

from Timber, or, Discoveries made upon Men and Matters, by Ben Jonson (1573?-1637)

About this, what else can we say? Read this archived issue of The Underground Grammarian, by the late Richard Mitchell, who was a professor of English. In addition to his irregularly-published Underground Grammarian, Mitchell also wrote 4 books, all gems.