Radical little rant

January 31, 2010

We’ve been a little busy again and it has affected the
blog. I apologize for that. Now that the dust has settled
a bit I can get busy with some things that were put on
the back burner.

Lately politics is an issue on everyones mind. Today
things seem more partisan than ever. While this is
business as usual in Washington it appears the average
citizens are just as involved.

I have noticed two distint camps in the recent debates
and to be honest I don’t care for either. The one camp
says we have to spend like there’s no tomorrow and we know
what’s best for America, and one that says let’s just
let it happen. It appears all politicians in Washington
forgot that the power is supposed to start with states and
trickle up. The country was not founded on an all powerful
federal government. It’s time to take their crowns away.

Our government is wasting too much time trying to sell us
what we don’t want. Is it really worth $200 million to take
the terrorists to court? Since New York has said no thanks,
how much time and money will be spent to force another court
to do it?

The sames holds true with healthcare. Throw out the 2,000+
page monstrosity and start over. Now is not the time to
enact legislation that will cost us even more. And while I’m
at it, let’s see some of this transparent government we were
promised.

When Obama’s 2011 budget proposal comes out Monday,I wonder
how many people will be screaming that $3.7 trillion is too high.
My guess would be not many.

Then we have the laws and taxes that are based on the junk
science of global warming. Here’s a novel idea; prove it!
Stop spending billions in taxpayer dollars jetting all over
the world trying to figure out how to sell this white elephant.

And I would really like to see the end of Bush getting blamed
for every mistake this administration makes. YOu’ve been in
office over a year it’s time to man up.
Comments are always welcome.


Gas sense

January 29, 2010

Since the sun is out it makes us think about cruisin’. And that
usually ends up turning the conversation to ethanol and the bugs
that affect classic/traditional rides. Ethanol, which is corn or
grain alcohol, is added to gasoline to oxygenate it. This also
replaces the old additive MTBE which replaced lead in the gasoline.

The old additives were lubricants which helped keep the oil on
the cylinder walls while alcohol is a solvent that washes it away.
Cylinder wear is actually one of the lesser side effects of the
new formula. Older vehicles used a fuel system that is vented into
the atmosphere, while newer fuel systems are sealed. The vented gas
system also allows moisture to get into the gas through the vented
cap. In older vehicles a 10% ethanol blend will absorb up to 50
times more water than straight gasoline.

If the problem gets bad enough this results in fuel phase separation.
When this happens the fuel separates into two distinct layers: a
thick layer of gasoline with a little ethanol on top, and a thinner
layer on the bottom of the tank consisting of water mixed with most
of the ethanol. While it would have to be pretty damp for this to
occur quickly, it takes less than four teaspoons of water per gallon
for this to happen. Let’s look at some related problems.

One of the biggest problems is reduced fuel longevity. If you have a
new car with a closed system you have 90 days, but a vented system
has just 30 to 45 days before gas can separate. In vented tanks it is
recommended that the gas be replaced every 30 days.

When gas separates the octane level can drop by as much as 3 points. This causes poor performance. The separation can also plug fuel pumps. Rust is a problem with ethanol in older vehicles. The solvent in the ethanol aggravates the problem by loosening the sediment and pushing it through the fuel lines to engine parts. The parts that can be harmed by ethanol include the gas tank, fuel pump, carburetor floats, needles and seats, hoses, gaskets, aluminum and alloy parts.

There are ways to make sure your engine is safe. Keep fresh gas in your ride from a name brand station with a lot of traffic. Add a fuel filter to your line before the fuel pump, use a fuel stabilizer, check the tank regularly for fuel separation, and if you do notice separation, use an emulsifier to remix the gas.

We have had some of these problems on two of our vehicles in the past. From experience we can say it’s easier, and cheaper, to buy a fuel filter and some Sea-foam now than buy a new gas tank later.
Comments are always welcome.


It just might work

January 28, 2010

The following is a list of ideas that would reform the
healthcare system, lower our cost for it, and perhaps
even make the system run a little smoother. This is just
one car guy’s version of how to actually fix the problem.

Our average per capita spending is nearly twice a high
as that of the next closest nation and yet we have a
shorter life expectacncy and higher child mortality rate.
We also take more prescription drugs than other countries.

Drug cost have to be brought down. Why is it the increase
in cost of prescription drugs has always been higher than
the inflation rate? For instance; in 2002 the inflation rate
was 1.6% while drug costs rose 5.3%, and last year the
inflation rate was -0.3% but drug costs rose 9.3. These costs
were for medication that still had a patent. For the drugs
that the patent expired cost fell an average of 8.7%. So why
did Obama extend the patent from 5 to 8 years?

Medicare has 27 million enrollees in Part D so one would think
that makes it quite a bargaining group, but under a house bill
they can’t create a national formulary. If they followed the
lead of the VA and actually had the formulary it could save us
up to $24 billion a year. How? The VA formulary requires accross
the board discounts upfront before negotiations even begin. This
alone lowers their drug costs by 48%. If Medicare was ran like
the VA there would be no doughnut hole.

Then pass tort reform to get the cost down to the care
givers. Make a universal form for insurance companies
instead of 100s of different forms for the 1,000+ insurance
companies. This goes back to the KISS principle, keep it
simple!

I also believe that insurance companies bear some of the
blame. Why is it the instant we actually use our insurance
the rates go up? Wouldn’t it also make sense that if we don’t
use our insurance in a 12 month period we get a rebate? Some
car insurance policies do it now and I believe it is only
fair for those who use their benefits wisely to be rewarded.
A 10% rebate wouldn’t break the insurance companies and might
even help the economy.

And in general:

For any true reform we need Congress to read
the Constitution and have someone handy to explain it
to them. If I remember correctly, somewhere in that
document it says Congress cannot pass any legislation
that they are not included in. If we get new healthcare,
they get new healthcare.

Any bill passed by Congress should be no longer than
100 pages. If they did this alone global warming would
be slowed by decades because of all the trees that aren’t
cut down for the paper to print them on. This might
even save a lot of pork as lawmakers would have to decide
between double talk and pork.

We need to put an end to lawmakers voting themselves pay
raises every year. I don’t know when that started, but
it should stop now. They also should not get paid if
they don’t show up for work, and they should have to work
12 months a year like everyone else.

Instead of having committees full of people with no actual
experience in the field being studied, ask the people involved.
I would think a Doctor, Nurse, or Insurance Agent would have a
better idea of what’s needed to help reform healthcare than
someone with a doctorate in music history.

There should also be a law that no one party can have
a huge majority. Our legislators should be made to act like
adults and debate the merits of their versions of a bill while
allowing those with differing opinions to debate theirs.
Then pass a bill with the best features that would have
the most benefits for our country.

Comments are always welcome.


Weird science

January 27, 2010

What if we could cut our electric bill by up to 44%?
There’s technology out there that has the potential to do
just that under certain conditions. I hadn’t heard of
negawatts which is a concept of Amery Lovins that when
demand for electricity exceeds supply it is cheaper to
lower the demand than raise the supply.

While I normally don’t get on the green movement bandwagon
this idea interested me. The technology does involve some
common sense much like the “energy star” appliances which
use less electricity than older versions. And oddly enough
it isn’t a smart grid device that turns down the air
conditioner to conserve power.

Think of it as a mini storage unit that manages the start up
demand on the power supply needed by electric motors and
stores that power in capacitors for when it is needed by our
air conditioner compressor or refrigerator. It is basically
just a variable capacitor.

The residential version of this is called the Power-Save 1200.
This magical little box is only sold by one company, would
probably only work if installed in a house with older appliances,
and would probably only cut the utility bill by 25%. There are
probably other versions of this device. Those of us with older
homes, and older appliances, might see it as an alternative to
higher utility bills.

I could go on but since I’m not an electrical engineer why
get in over my head. It is an interesting idea and if it does
indeed work is a realistic approach to conservation of our
resources.
Comments are always welcome.


Weird thoughts

January 25, 2010

Since it’s been a weird couple of days why not leave politics
alone and look at something really outside the box. The
last time anyone checked there were 6.7 billion people on planet
earth. In another 30 years that figure is projected to jump to
9 billion. Now most agree that 60% of the earth’s population lives
in Asia with nearly 20% in China alone.

Bear with me and you’ll see where this is going. More people will
mean faster depletion of our resources and the need for more of
everything. Where will the answers come from?

Most agree nuclear power is the future of renewable power sources.
Predictions are that nuclear power plants will see a dramatic
increase in the future. Have you heard of helium-3? Me either. But
it is a non-radioactive isotope of helium that can be used as fuel
for nuclear reactors. One problem we have is that there are only
about 10 tons of the stuff here on earth. Those who should know say
there are about one million tons on the moon. Just for a reference,
25 tons of helium-3 could power our entire country for one year.

This all revolves around the space race believe it or not. With
so many countries thinking green and renewable energy sources
being depleted could the answer be on the moon?

How does China fit in? Some a lot smarter than myself claim they
are going to win the race to the moon to locate the stuff. Three years
ago China outlined future plans for its space program and it included
a space flight to explore the potential for helium-3. It could be forty
years before there is any actual power generation, but this should be
in the news before long.

There are things to be worked out like how does one set up a mine on
the moon, how do you get tons of the material back, how to dispose of
the nuclear waste, and if it is really feasable to name a few. And if
one million tons of material was mined out of the moon would it leave
a green cheese outer crust, of just go pssssst like a popped balloon?
In a way I’m glad I won’t be around when and if this gets going. I’d
really hate to get that delivery charge on our utility bill.
Comments are always welcome.


A little wrap-up

January 25, 2010

The Scottsdale auction and the local indoor Car Show are over for another year and it looks like we may be able to make more snow angels. Seems like the more things change the more they stay the same.

The auction had a lot of us thinking once again that some people have more money than sense. Saturday alone the auction took in
over $23 million if I remember correctly. What was interesting to us was the fact that no vehicles broke the 7 figure barrier. The highest priced of the lot was a 1929 airplane that went for $650,000.

The indoor show had one small glitch this year which we haven’t run into before. Because the ticket windows are right inside the doors, those who had tickets had to wait outside until the lines of ticket buyers got shorter. Once inside we thought it was another good show and wish we could have gotten more pictures.

The recent drunk driving wreck has some people saying not to make an example out of the kid that was driving. I just can’t see that side of the equation. Three kids are dead, one is going to recover but never be the same, and a woman who was just minding her own business will definitely remember it. If this kid had been driving 25 mph and got rear ended I might feel differently. He forgot to never drive faster than his guardian angel can fly.
Comments are always welcome.

——————————-
Addendum:
We were saddened to hear that Pat J Gibbs, Jr., passed away Saturday. It’s so hard to lose a child at such an early age.
Although we haven’t talk with his dad in a while we do know what a
loss this is. Our heartfelt condolences to the family.


A few pictures

January 24, 2010

We only got a few pictures at the car show ourselves and these are it. The flamed car has been around a little while but the reason we noticed it was because of the new flame job. The other car is a purpose built race car set up for the Bonneville Salt Flats. We’ve heard rumors about the it but this was the first time we saw it. Pretty neat little rocket on wheels.

We ran into a some people we knew and some we didn’t know and saw a lot of nice cars, trucks, and bikes. We met John Wells owner of Vintage Torque and the one who puts on the VintageTorque Fest. We plan on being there May 1st. One aisle over we ran into John Cox and had another chat. For some reason he thought I had a sedan delivery so we got that cleared up. He still has his Pontiac coupe and recently found a pickup project.

I didn’t realize we had a Roller Derby team here until the tallest woman I ever met skated over and handed me a schedule. The skates might have had something to do with that but it felt like she was 7 feet tall standing next to me. I’ll root for her team.

Time to get out in the garage and get some things done.
Comments are always welcome.


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