Lonely Man of Cake

May 1, 2007

Ocean Music

Filed under: Environment,Technology — lonelymanofcake @ 8:41 am

Read this. Then watch this:

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April 1, 2007

Homemade Hybrids: The 10 Second Rule

Filed under: Automotive,Conservation,Environment,Technology,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 4:14 pm

If you can’t afford (or aren’t in the market for) a hybrid, flex-fuel, or diesel vehicle, there are still practical steps which you can take to reduce your fuel consumption. That doesn’t mean to go as far as some people (hypermilers) who always keep their windows closed, don’t use the A/C, and perform dangerous driving maneuvers in order to maximize fuel economy.

One of the most preventable fuel wasting activities is that of idling the engine. Idling is sometimes an act of choice, e.g., “warming up” your car during the winter for a few minutes or waiting to pick up someone while leaving the engine running. More often than not, idling is forced upon us by traffic jams and lengthy red lights.

Idling is detrimental in a number of respects:

  1. It is a waste of fuel.
  2. It contributes to engine wear and corrosion.
  3. It harms the environment.

bustail_mouse.jpg

A Canadian government study has offered a simple solution: if you know that you will be idling your engine for 10 seconds or longer, simply turn off the engine and restart when you are ready to go. As stated in the study, “Idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it would take to restart your engine.” Apparently, the prevailing school of thought which supports idling over restarting is based on (like too many others things) an anachronism: the assumption is that modern, electronically supported combustion engines are to be run as their “dumb” predecessors. It is acknowledged that restarting your engine instead of idling may contribute to quicker wear of the engine starter. The cost of repairing/replacing the starter, though, is insignificant compared to the savings in gas. Anecdotal evidence shows a 10% savings in fuel per-tank.

The 10 second rule is apparently the law in Basel, Switzerland, and they have seen a tremendous reduction in pollution as a result.

(Source)

March 27, 2007

That Wallpaper

Filed under: General,Internet,Technology — lonelymanofcake @ 3:47 pm

As much as I dislike using Windows, the geeks over at Microsoft attempt to make the experience a bit more pleasant by including some stunning wallpaper images which you can use as a background for your desktop.  Like this one (in which the color is a bit off):

It’s called “Autumn” and a writer for Vanity Fair became obsessed with the photo and locating where it was taken.  It took him over a year to find it.  Read the story here.

March 21, 2007

Israeli Hackers / האקרים / Hackerim

Filed under: General,Internet,Israel,Security,Technology — lonelymanofcake @ 10:39 pm

In a previous post, we noted that Israelis spend more time on the Internet than almost anyone else in the world. What are they doing online?

According to Symantec‘s most recent Internet Security Threat Report,

Israel was the most highly ranked country for malicious activity per Internet user. If one person from each of the top 25 countries were to represent their country’s Internet-connected population, the average Internet user in Israel would carry out nine percent of the group’s malicious activity. (Source)

Is this another manifestation of notorious Israeli road rage, albeit on the information superhighway?

March 20, 2007

Alternative Fuel News

Filed under: Automotive,Biofuel,Conservation,Diesel,Environment,Technology,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 12:55 pm
  • The fuel economy of diesel, which I’ve blogged about a number of times, enabled the 650 horsepower (!) V12 Audi R10 TDI to cruise to victory at the 12 hour LeMans, despite being forced by race officials to install a smaller fuel tank in order to keep the race competitive for “regular” gasoline cars. Catch the full story here. I’ve seen reports that Audi plans to equip a high-end version of it’s hulking Q7 luxury SUV (=Volkswagen Touareg/Porsche Cayenne) with the V12 found on the R10. If you want to get an idea of what V12 power means on an SUV, check out this video of what even a V10 can do. You won’t believe your eyes.

March 8, 2007

Hypermiler

Filed under: America,Automotive,Conservation,Environment,General,Technology,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 4:52 pm

A hypermiler is one who modifies his/her driving habits in such a way to maximize the gas consumption of the vehicle well in excess of the vehicle’s EPA rating.

Hypermiling tactics include:

  1. Keeping windows closed and A/C off… always.  This supposedly minimizes drag and air resistance.  And also fogs up the windows and makes you sweat like a pig.
  2.  Finding the sweet spot in the engine’s torque curve, and staying there, even if it means upsetting other drivers.  In many new cars, this sweet spot can be found by paying attention to the FCD (=fuel consumption display) which changes dynamically based on driving habits.
  3. D-FAS (Draft Assisted Forced Auto Stop): This means drafting behind a large vehicle in order to reduce wind resistance.  It also means that you’ve put the car in neutral and turned off the engine as well.  No wonder this is illegal in some states!

I read this fascinating article about a record setting hypermiler last night, and while some of his tactics do appear to endanger other drivers (e.g., taking turns at 50 MPH; tailgating with the engine off, so there are no power brakes…), I find his pursuit, and ideology, quite noble.

March 7, 2007

YouTube for Books

Filed under: Academia,Education,General,Internet,Technology,Web 2.0 — lonelymanofcake @ 10:00 am

That’s right.  A YouTube style site, but for documents and e-books.  It’s called Scribd.  It looks like too few people know about the site for there to be any critical mass of good content.  But keep checking.

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