Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
It actually died when we were away traveling In July at son Joe and new daughter in law Kendra's wedding. We got back just in time to cook the meat, and toss the ice cream and fridge leftovers. Anyway, I had wanted to get a very efficient replacement, but not on such short notice. I ordered one immediately. Sunfrost are not stocked in stores, but are made to order, with delivery in 8 weeks.
So, right at the height of vegetable season for the CSA we belong to, http://www.greenearthinstitute.org/ we used a cooler for our refrigerator. Yeah, I'm a little nuts. It was tricky, but we got through it. ( I owe Patsy for that one) Sunfrost ships by common carrier, so I had it delivered to work, so I wouldn't have to stay home to receive it. I then rented a Menards truck and hauled it home. These sunfrosts are HEAVY. They are almost as heavy as the ancient fridges that had cast iron bases and heavy gage walls. Made me wish I'd been doing more to keep in shape.
So, we've had it for around three months now, and love it. I guess it goes without saying that they use much less power than other appliances. There are other benefits. Part of its efficiency is derived from no defrost cycle. This means that the humidity stays high in the fridge section, and veggies last a very long time compared to the old one. Also, the freezer and refrigerator have separate compressors and thermostats, so you can dial each one in just right, and neither one works more than it has to. So ice cream is always just right, not melty, and not rock hard. ice cubes freeze clear, don't disappear over time, pop out easily, and don't get that funky freezer taste.
While I would strongly recommend making sure your next fridge is at least energy star rated, these Sunfrosts are pretty expensive, and probably will mostly be bought by people who are really serious about energy saving. They even have 12V models for people living off grid on solar panels.
And here is a shot of the compressors and "coils" on top of the unit.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
"Keeping your eye on the ball
Global warming- What a big distraction. There, I’ve said it. This is an enormously contentious topic right now, and very much in the news, with Al Gore getting accolades and attention, various government entities from cities to the U. N. struggling with what to do, and all the rest of us wondering how bad it might be.
I submit that we are getting sucked in to a major distraction from what is really more important. I happen to think that the world, and especially the U.S., needs to learn how to transition to a sustainable economy. The conversion and utilization of energy is at the heart of any culture’s day to day activities. Reliance on fossil fuels is a dead end addiction, which we must solve. However, if all our efforts are focused on reducing global warming, we may not be solving the real problem. That is, coming up with a renewable source of energy sufficient to keep us from repeating the dark ages.
What if burning fossil fuels did not cause global warming? What if our scientists came up with a way to sequester carbon, or counteract the CO2 greenhouse effect? In fact, as I write this, it was just announced the Futuregen Alliance will be building their new technology coal fired plant in Mattoon, Il, and hope to figure out how to inject the CO2 back under the Illinois prairies when they are done with it. So when the coal is gone, We will still be confronted with the problem of facing the “end of cheap fossil fuel” cliff without a parachute. The strategies that might be proposed to reduce global warming ( or to learn how to live with it) may not solve our future energy needs, but if we begin the immediate, methodical steps of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels, we will be taking the best step toward avoiding further climate impact.
One could argue that doing the right thing for the wrong reason is still OK, but what if we end up doing the wrong thing because we have chosen to fix a symptom instead of the central problem? To be clear, I’m not saying I don’t think warming is happening, or that it is not a problem. I just think that solving the upcoming energy crunch is the real crux.
Maybe it is time for another major transition in human culture. Similar to the way humans figured out agriculture, we need to move from the hunter gatherer mode of energy use. Currently, we drill for oil, suck the field dry, and move on to the next one. The future could be one of a harvesting mode, where we collect sunlight and wind energy. Even if our population stabilizes soon , we are already using more than a planet’s worth of annual output to maintain our standard of living. We are already literally burning through the principal of our planet’s natural savings account, instead of learning to live on the interest.
Ironically, we are going to transition to an economy that does not run on fossil fuels in the next 50-100 years regardless. I prefer that we start a planned, smooth transition to sustainability, instead of an uncontrolled, abrupt one. One could wax apocalyptic here, but I intend to be optimistic. Eating local, starting little green habits each day, connecting with and encouraging others, educating myself all the while, are all independent of the political process. That’s what I plan to do. Keep my eye on the ball."
Well, there I've done it. Put an opinion out there. If anyone wants to comment, feel free.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Here is a shot of the department Christmas dinner. We had good food and an open bar, so there was plenty of Christmas cheer. I guess I should explain that engineering is still rather old school, so there is not a single woman in our group. All the women in the photo are spouses/friends.
Lot's of "experience" in this group. For many years, and not that long ago, my nick name was "young steven". Good group of guys, and many are close to retirement. I have 30 years, and most have more. This is not the normal employer-employee arrangement anymore. The company is changing before our eyes, and a lot of knowledge will be walking out the door soon. Of course, with the recent nose dive in financial matters, I suspect many retirement plans are being modified as I write.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
And here is one of the elementary school Patsy and I went to in Knightstown, IN. I think it is now senior housing of some sort.
If others want to share photos, you could e-mail them to me, then I could post them.