You sir, are winning. Not only did you play along and answer my silly question you used it to plug a worthwhile charity. P.S., I actually liked you as the Green Lantern brother! Check out Habitat for Humanity on twitter
Well, haven't had much to update with but here's something...
Working on selling one of my sites, had an agreed upon amount with one buyer and they've been dragging their feet (going the slow route of incorporating, paid for their EIN instead of generating it for free online on the IRS site etc) so after a few weeks of delays I entertained another buyer who was offering 20% more... buyer wanted an absurd amount of paperwork (for a domain and current content) and I obliged because I want to be done with that property... well yesterday he sends me TWENTY-THREE pages of legalese in the form of two contracts to which I promptly replied I would not be signing that or anything like it that I'd only sign a generic transfer of ownership as we'd be doing the actual exchange of the domain and site via escrow which would offer protection for both parties in the exchange.
Other than that, I wrote an article earlier this year titled "Put Your Dues on Autopilot" and submit it to the Midnight Freemasons. It was selected for publication a few weeks ago and I'm honored to have my drivel alongside pieces by some rather interesting Brothers.
Well dad, in 3 days it will have been 17 years since I watched you draw your last breath and you'd think by now writing these annual letters would be easy but they are still rather difficult.
Not much has changed since last year, I started CrossFit which is a fitness regime that's a lot of chaotic repetitive stuff combined with Olympic lifting. I also made more money last year than any year before by a long shot and probably more than I'll ever make in any year to come. Sadly I'm in the process of shutting down my business (well, at least the part making all the money) for various reasons and realistically I don't see myself ever being able to make the kind of money I am from it again.
I honestly don't have much else to say. Every day is basically the same in my life and honestly they all seem to blur together. It's quite boring and absurdly repetitive. I miss you dad, maybe I'll have something better to share next year.
So I was reading this article on BuzzFeed about missions to Mars yesterday and something really upset me...
Alright. Someone isn't thinking. At all. Don't get me wrong, we are not ready for manned missions to Mars unless they are suicide missions. But, we can easily solve the above mentioned problem.
So in the greenhouses you use some gas sensors and a simple pump to pump greenhouse air out and atmospheric air in... you see:
Earth's Atmosphere: 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039 carbon dioxde and miscellaneous traces
Mars' Atmosphere: 96% carbon dioxide, 1.9% argon, 1.9% nitrogen and miscellaneous traces.
Many forms of algae can create nitrogen from carbon dioxide as part of their day to day life so you could keep nitrogen levels at 78% via your algae. You figure out the best carbon dioxide levels for the plants in the greenhouse(s) and keep it there, if it's toxic to humans they use breathing apparatus or simply pump air out and then bring it to human-safe levels during work periods. PROBLEM SOLVED.
Wait, hold up Ryan, where are we getting all of that water for tanks and tanks full of algae? Well first you take enough to have some small tanks going. Then we turn to biological hydrogen production from algae, photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and green algae splits water into hydrogen ions and electrons. So use algae to make hydrogen.
Pretty much get two parts hydrogen for every part of oxygen in something not unlike an engine (fuel cell). Introduce a burst of energy (say a spark) and you get an explosion. You now have an explosion and some water. While we don't do this on earth for clean drinking water due to the simple fact it would be extremely dangerous to do this to create enough water for thousands or millions of people, this would be ideal for use on Mars. You see, you have a separate habitat that is used for this, then you have a few small units in the room that are filling with the appropriate gasses, igniting, small amounts of water come out and the small detonations you capture the energy for use. The units refill and detonate again.
While this wouldn't create massive amounts of water, it would slowly add to your available water stores allowing you to bring more algae on, add more crops, support more humans until a better technology is developed (or a cheaper method of delivering supplies to Mars is found) or even until exploration can take place and perhaps find easily accessible water (likely ice) on Mars.
Full disclaimer, I've known Rob for several years now and did get an advanced copy of this book. I first heard of Rob when he was on the Adam Carolla Podcast with his first book Love Me When I'm Gone, his memoirs. That book came to me when I was dealing with some PTSD from my hypokalemic episode that I wrote about on this very blog. I reached out to Rob back then just to thank him for writing the book and we've been casual friends ever since. I HAVE bought the eBook of The Pact though and will also be buying the audio book as soon as it is up. I was fortunate enough to start seeing this book when it was only about a thousand words and have been anxiously awaiting the completion and release, now I can't wait for the rest of the series to get penned and published.
As some of my long-time readers know I really loved the show Jericho, a television show where the United States was attacked with nuclear weaponry in several cities and the government quickly fell apart. It was a great show and we tried our best to save it when it was cancelled. I've always been a fan of the original Red Dawn (and the remake) as well as the Australian movie Tomorrow When the War Began. The Pact, being the first in the series, has a similar theme. Robert Patrick Lewis is a former Special Forces Medic and wonderfully sets the stage for a plausible (and probable) future for America, a future where the fight has come to our doorstep and it is either do or die.
The book has a character Rob that is an echo of the real life guy and quickly launches in to guerrilla warfare and Special Forces tactics from an author that draws from his own experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq where while doing his job, picked up the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, NATO non-article 5 medal, two Army Commendation Medals, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Airborne wings, Iraq Campaign Medal with star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and many other ribbons in his time there. Rob makes it 100% believable as he draws on his own experiences and wonderful imagination which is something authors like Clancy just couldn't do, having to rely on consultants as experts.
I can't recommend this book enough if you like this genre.
So a lot of people, in regards to the Sondors Electric Bike campaign, have accused me of being an insider/working for Storm/working for Agency 2.0 etc. Those of you that know me know this isn't the case at all, you know I've never been to California you know that I don't even own a bicycle and haven't for a decade. To those of you that don't... let me give some context as to why I've been so passionate about this campaign and so active in the comment section for it.
My former mentor (was worth millions and millions, 13 businesses in 6 states one that had between 1000-1500 employees) was an absolute ass to me. Everytime I had an idea he'd tell me I was stupid, it was stupid, it won't work etc. Anytime I would bring him something "Hey R, would you give me a couple thousand secured loan so I can try this" and he'd just shit all over me and my idea until I finally told him sorry, I couldn't have him in my life any more. Less than 2 years later I had a small business making me as much as my 'real' job. So I HATE people that are always trying to find the negative in someone else's ideas, dreams, or success. Don't get me wrong, those that know me will tell you I can be pretty negative, I've even been called Eeyore, but not when it is about someone's desires/dreams/goals.
Also for the record, Agency 2.0 helped Kreyos and I contributed to Kreyos (however, since that disaster Agency 2.0 is on the record as saying they will only take on clients that have a functional prototype, something Kreyos didn't have even months after the campaign ended which was a GIANT red flag that I ignored, lesson learned). I got royally screwed on Kreyos. So yeah, there are shady people out there that will rip you off but Storm is not giving me the slightest hint he has those intentions. The dude had a bike made for himself because he had issues that required the power assist, he then probably got compliments about it and questions asked and thought "hey I can probably sell this" and he went online trying to raise a meager $75,000. He's raised 3.2 million and is showing every sign he's doing his best to get the best bike specs he can for the price point he wants. Stop looking for reasons to sabotage him. I have my money tied up in ths campaign too, but after being taken on several crowdfunding projects I've realized it's going to happen and you have to go into each one expecting to never see anything. You should give to projects because you want to help others pursue their dreams, like my mentor wouldn't do for me (the man could ahve given me a million cash and never missed it, he wouldn't loan me 3k secured against my car). Support people's dreams or don't get involved with them at all.
So yeah, maybe I'm a bit over the top defending this project. My whole life I've been told I wasn't good enough and that whatever I try to do will fail. This is hands down the most success I've seen a campaign I've given to (out of about 30 between the various sites) have and it's exciting and even intoxicating seeing someone else get to see if their dream will work.
So Dan Tynan originally wrote an article about the Storm Electric Bike - The Storm eBike: An Inexpensive Answer to Gridlock? - and quickly, if you'd pardon the pun, backpedaled and posted a new article after talking to ONE direct COMPETITOR to the Storm Electric Bike (who has yet to back up their claims they made to Dan in any public venue, but viciously attacked the campaign in the comments on Indiegogo after contributing) called A $500 eBike? Not So Fast.
In the original article Dan says things like
Well Dan in the Malibu quote it is quite difficult to see where your thought ends and the quote begins, because well you didn't use quotation marks... that's sloppy journalism and at a casual glance it looks like you claimed to test it in Malibu which is 400 miles from San Francisco.
You also say things like
Confirming the claim as to the bike's speed… I am assuming you measured that speed somehow and didn’t just fudge it for your article, that would be bad journalism Dan. In your update to the original article you state:
Which in your original article you claimed to have operated the Storm at 20mph so cool that fact checks out.. but wait, your new source (a direct competitor) claims that 20mph isn't possible even though you witnessed it via your own operation of the bike!!!
Come on Dan, how can you call yourself a journalist? You can't even keep your claims straight! You interview company A and test their product, then company B contacts you claiming company A is a liar and it just so happens company B sells a similar product for a bite more than twice as much... gee, couldn't that be profit? Did you bother to contact manufacturers and see what you could get say 10, 100, 1000 bikes of a similar specification for? No, you didn't? Of course you didn't, that would have taken you what, 5 or 10 minutes to make your article even remotely researched?
Then you contribute to the project and run over to the comments section
Let's see here Dan you took the bike for a 'short spin outside Yahoo’s San Francisco offices', and 'A gentle tap of my thumb on the accelerator, and I was hitting the max speed of 20 mph in less than 50 yards' and ' Hydraulic disc brakes brought it to a swift stop' meaning you verified the speed over a measured distance during your operation of the bicycle you continue by noting 'The battery is removable' sounds like a review to me!
Now in your Indiegogo comments you also said "failed to note the $500 price was temporary" yet in your original article you mention 'At an introductory price of $499,' Lets take a look at the word 'introductory'
and lets take a look at the word 'temporary'
aha Dan, 'introductry' seems to imply 'lasting for only a limited period of time, not permanent' just like the word 'temporary' which means that the $499 (not $500 as you claim in your Indiegogo comment) price was in fact TEMPORARY. But Ryan I said 'And both Storm and Jonathan failed to note that the $500 price was temporary, which was not revealed until this campaign went live.' yes sir you did, and your article mentioned this TEMPORARY price, meaning now you're just whining because you have egg on your face. You wrote an article, did no research then a competitor contacted you and (as far as we can tell) offered no evidence to back up their claims that the Storm bike is an impossibility and you quickly vomited out another article backpedaling on the original (and again, no evidence you verified those claims either) but you DID test the Storm even if you chose to use a word other than TEST.
Just stop Dan.
I've seen a lot of people asking if there will be a solar-powered charging option for their Storm Electric BIke and it makes me realize the general population doesn't realize what a PV panel is actually capable of.
Basically under ideal conditions you will get 1,000 watts per square meter (and really the commercially available panels aren't this efficient at all, they perform worse) of solar panel at the equator, at noon, with zero cloud cover. That means for the 350 watt hour battery to charge in an hour you'll need 542.501 square inches of PV panel to charge it in 1 hour's time... so you aren't going to just fold a small PV panel up in your backpack and set it out at your destination to charge the bike. Fore more information on solar power, see the bottom of this post for some good educational links.
HOWEVER if you are going camping or in the event of an extended power outage (keep in mind, solar panels only work if the sun is shining, storms can create cloud cover for days or weeks meaning no sun) want a way to charge the battery in a timely fashion to give you the ability to greatly increase your area of operation during the power outage, you CAN get a smaller panel which will charge the battery over several hours.
Something like the RenogyⓇ Foldable Solar Suitcase Battery Charger 100W for a good portable option
For the above you'd still need an inventer or charge controller and some cables to use it.
For a more permanent installation you could go with Renogy 100W Mono Starter Kit: 100W Solar Panel+20' Solar Cable+30A PWM Charge Controller+Z Bracket Mounts
You could also go with a larger capacity system for faster charging but you sacrifice portability,
Look at something like wind turbines (I like vertical turbines the best), if you want to read about wind-power I recommend two books Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Home and Community Scale Wind-Energy Systems and Build Your Own Small Wind Power System. Things to keep in mind here, wind turbines will need a minimum steady wind to generate electricity, placement is crucial. Wind turbines also do make a bit of noise, in the form of a whirring or droning sound which can be quite annoying for larger turbines at speed but easy to ignore for smaller turbines at speed.
Yup, imagine a scenario like camping in an area with a lot of tree cover or power is out at home and no sun shining from a storm but you don't want to take your car out, maybe tress are down or debris is in the streets... guess what, you can use your AUTOMOBILE to charge that bike. How? The easiest way would be to buy an inverter to hook up to your car like the Cobra CPI 1575 1500 Watt 12 Volt DC to 120 Volt AC Power Inverter (authors note, I own this model and for it's price it's decent).
Further online reading:
For you DIY/hands-on types that want to learn about renewable energy by actually building something cheap check out this Instructable '9$ Solar, Wind and Hydro turbine (on your faucet) powered USB'.
Earlier this week an Indiegogo campaign came to my attention via one of their emails, Storm Electric Bike.
This thing looks awesome, it promises to be an affordable (but simple) electric bike. I snagged one via the campaign for 499$ plus shipping, other electric bike options from current manufacturers and distributors start north of 1000$. What makes this one different you ask?
Storm doesn't have a bunch of bells and whistles. It does NOT have regenerative braking which requires less parts so less to build, it is fixed gear (while some current electric bikes are 10-speeds) so again less parts-less to build, all of the parts used to make this bike are off the shelf parts meaning no need to pay for custom tooling and molds, again significant cost savings.
Sure at 499$ via the campaign Storm Sondors is unlikely to make much per bike, however this is just the crowd-funding price. Obviously when these sell retail they'll cost more, and that is where the profit comes in. Via the campaign comments a competitor is constantly fear mongering claiming this bike can not be made that his costs such and such and it's impossible to make a 499$ electric bike... yet that competitor's bike is 10-speed, has regenerative braking AND FOLDS IN HALF all of which cost more, he's also already at the retail point and is likely making a considerable profit per unit.
Look folks, I've looked at what it would cost ME to build a similar bike from off the shelf parts in small quantities with no contacts and no ability to order in considerable quantity. I estimate I could personally import all the parts for 30 bikes (including duties and brokerage fees) for less than 499$ each. It's doable. Also keep in mind, crowd-funding isn't the same as going to the store and buying something. Usually at best a prototype exists and the campaign creator(s) have little to no experience in manufacturing anything outside of their workshop so contributing is a risky gamble. One should NEVER expect to receive a single thing they contribute for, you are contributing to someone's dream. In this case however, Storm Sondors has decades of experience in prototyping and mass manufacturing (McDonald's happy meal toys) and likely has dozens or hundreds of contacts in various manufacturing, distribution, logistics, warehousing etc areas as well as an intimate understanding of reasonable timelines and challenges that will likely be faced to manufacture his bikes. I gave 499$ to this campaign and I do not regret it, I feel confident in my decision to contribute based on my above comments and the fact that several tech journalists have been allowed to use the prototype unit and their reputations give them ZERO reason to lie about their experiences using this bike from a currently unknown manufacturer.
Their are individuals crawling out of the woodwork to constantly slam this campaign, claiming it's a scam, claiming I'm an insider/work for Storm or Agency 2.0, claiming it's a giant scam and I'm part of the conspiracy to defraud people out of 3.1 million dollars and counting, etc. It's getting quite ridiculous. The individuals claiming such I deeply suspect of being direct competitors with a currently manufactured bike with similar specifications that starts around $1200. Why do I suspect this? In the early comments of the campaign a direct competitor was posting the link to his product and making the exact same claims. Now it's 'anonymous contributor' making these allegations (and claiming such to news outlets which, without verifying his complains, are reporting everything he tells them as 100% true, and that's just sloppy journalism).
This bike is more than able to be made (at a profit) for the $499 price, it is now $599 and is scheduled to increase yet again. Keep in mind this price is for BACKERS of the campaign and is NOT the final retail price. Also keep in mind Storm and company will make the bulk of their profits selling accessories and upgrades after retail launch of the bike.
It amazes me how many people don't understand crowdfunding and think they are BUYING a bike like they would on Amazon.com