Thursday, November 20, 2014

Toyota launches the Mirai, a hydrogen car!

The 2016 Toyota Mirai, soon to take its place in history as the first car to bring hydrogen fuel-cell technology to the masses.

The Mirai’s only option is a so-called “Power Takeoff” system, which essentially is a DC outlet in the trunk from which up to 60 kWh of power can be drawn off the fuel cell to power to one’s home in case of a outage or emergency. That’s enough to power an average household for five or six days, according to Toyota.

To me this is exciting that fuel cells will be mass produced which should soon make it affordable for off-grid living. All they have to do now is produce a unit that produces the hydrogen from our own tap water!

Link to the story:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Brussels Sprouts Stalk, is it edible?

The best sprouts are fresh off the stalk! I've tried growing them but the best I could do were marble sized sprouts, not worth the growing space in my limited gardening space and available cooler weather. Here in the stores they're only seasonal so when Traders Joes has them we buy them. There is no comparison in taste and texture comparing the frozen version to fresh off the stalk, it's almost impossible for me to eat enough of them fresh, yummy!

A question I had was, are the stalks edible? A search of Google turns up no real definitive answer but the best answer was to cut the stalk in about 2 inch pieces the trim off the outer skin and cook the center of the stem.

Here's the stalk.

Cut the stalk into about 2 inch pieces. The stalk is very, very tough so be ready to really lean on the knife to cut it up.

A close up of the end cut, you can see the bark and stringy (fuzzy white ring) perimeter. You have to trim it away and keep the center portion.

Trim about 1/4 inch or so off the outer skin including the stringy bark as it is to tough to eat. Not much left but the remaining center is tender.

Microwave the center pieces for about 60-75 seconds or fry in a pan or steam to cook. The result? Yummy! It tastes like the sprouts with a texture of a cucumber.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Shortwave Listening Global Station List

(This is the best list I have ever come across. It is maintained and updated on a regular basis and complied in very friendly formats (English Speaking Stations Only Listed) sorted by UTC time or sorted by country)

In times of large country wide disasters getting the real news is paramount to understanding what is actually going on around you. A government or terrorist act could shut down the internet, cell phones and local TV and Broadcast news. Your only link to the outside world is going to be a Shortwave Radio. This can be a low cost simple everyday portable house radio that has 'digital' shortwave band tuning/reception or a Shortwave HF Transceiver that also allows not only listening but the ability to speak to others on a chosen frequency.

Small samples of the actual listings look like below:

Sorted by Country (Looks like this):
Country, Station ID, UTC Broadcast Times and Station Frequency. (Place a decimal point before the last 3 digits for the band and frequency number)

U. S. A.        WWCR4             0000-0300 NA, Tu-Sa  7520
U. S. A.        WWCR4             0300-0400 NA, Tu-Sa  5890
U. S. A.        WWCR4             2100-2200 NA, M-F    9980
U. S. A.        WWRB              0000-0200 NA         3215, 5050
U. S. A.        WWRB              0200-0500 NA         3195, 5050
U. S. A.        WWRB              2200-2400 NA         3215
United Kingdom  BBC               0000-0100 As         5970om, 6195si, 9410th,
                                                       9740si, 11750si, 11955si
United Kingdom  BBC               0000-0100 As         12095si, 13725th,
                                                       15335si, 15755th
United Kingdom  BBC               0100-0200 As         9740si, 11750si, 11955si,
                                                       13725th, 15310th,
                                                       15335si, 15755th
United Kingdom  BBC               0200-0300 As         12095om, 15310th
United Kingdom  BBC               0300-0400 ME         6195om, 9410om
United Kingdom  BBC               0400-0500 Af         9460za, 12095ae
United Kingdom  BBC               0400-0500 ME         9410om, 12035om
United Kingdom  BBC               0500-0600 Af         3255za, 5875as, 6005as,

Sorted by UTC Time (Looks like this):
UTC Broadcast Times, Country, Station ID and Station Frequency. (Place a decimal point before the last 3 digits for the band and frequency number)
0100-0200 NA         Romania         R. Romania Int'l  6145, 7325
0100-0200 As,ME,Eu   Tajikistan      V. of Tajik       7245
0100-0200 Am, Sa-M   U. S. A.        WBCQ              5110
0100-0200 Am, Tu-Su  U. S. A.        WBCQ              7490
0100-0200 Am, Sa     U. S. A.        WBCQ              9330
0100-0200 NA         U. S. A.        WHRI              7385
0100-0200 LA, Su-M   U. S. A.        WHRI              7315
0100-0200 NA, Tu-Sa  U. S. A.        WHRI              5920
0100-0200 LA         U. S. A.        WRMI              5950
0100-0300 As, Su     Palau           T8WH              17725
0100-0400 LA         U. S. A.        Overcomer Ministry5985wr
0100-0500 NA         Cuba            R. Havana Cuba    6000, 6165
0100-1300 Af         U. S. A.        Wld Univ Network  5935
0130-0200 NA, Tu-Th  Slovakia        R. Slovakia (G24) 9395wr
0130-0200 As         Myanmar         Thazin R.         6030
0140-0159 As         Vatican City    Vatican R.        7410uz, 9560
0200-0215 NA, M      U. S. A.        Eternal Good News 7385wh
0200-0230 NA         Thailand        R. Thailand       13745
0200-0300 As         United Kingdom  BBC               12095om, 15310th
0200-0300 As         China           China R. Int'l    9610, 11770
0200-0300 LA         South Korea     KBS World R.      9580
0200-0300 As         South Korea     KBS World R.      9690
0200-0300 As, Oc     Australia       R. Australia      9660, 12080, 15150,
                                                       15240, 15415, 17750,
                                                       17795, 17840
0200-0300 NA,Tu-Sa   Argentina       RAE               11710

The website for these listings and much more:

I recommend you copy and paste the lists you want into a Word Document and save it on your computer and on a flash drive. Each list is large at 17 pages.

Make it a point to search for 6 or 10 stations you like and your radio and antenna receive best today. Keep a record of them rather than searching for one after a communications blackout.

For me it's a great help to have a digital 24 hour clock dedicated to showing UTC Time. It's helpful because when I'm searching for stations like at 10:pm my time I can search for stations that are on the air converted UTC time. Now I can search for stations matching the time I'm listening. Saves a lot of time.

Here's where I purchased my clock:

Friday, November 14, 2014

The New Ford Diesel Engine

Long time friends of ours have been avid RV campers and always said when they retire they wanted to sell everything buy a 5th wheel and travel for two years. Well that was ten years ago and they have no intention to do anything else, they still love that lifestyle.

Ten years ago they bought a Holiday Rambler Presidential 36 feet long with four slide outs and a total weight of 18,000 lbs. At the same time he bought a new Ford F-450 diesel to tow it. The trailer has been flawless but the truck was another story. Lots of issues with the International motor and at 68,000 miles Ford, under the warrantee, replaced the engine with a brand new crate engine. Unfortunately the same problems continued. An interesting point, the dealer has to remove the entire cab off the frame of the truck to pull the engine! American engineering at it's best I guess.

Three weeks ago he did a little more research and bought a new Ford F-350 which has more towing capacity and a brand new Ford designed and manufactured diesel engine. It's the new 6.7 liter V-8 with the ability to burn 20% Bio-Diesel. (I guess the 20% mixture will be coming to a station near you soon).

Last week he had to make a trip to South Carolina from his winter RV home near Fort Myers, Florida. Driving solo with the cruise control set at 75 mph that big truck gave him 19 mpg!!! going up there and returning with the cruise set at 65 mph it surprised him with 20.5 mpg!!! Also when towing the big fifth wheel from Illinois to Florida the truck gave him 14.0 mpg! His old F-450 would only produce 12 mpg. I am thoroughly impressed with that kind of performance. He also said the new truck has much more power the old International one. 

Sounds like a win for him but at $55.000.00 (half what I paid for my house!) I'll have to pass.
Oh, he asked if this truck cab would have to come off the frame like the old one? They said yes, it's the only way to remove the engine. So be aware if you buy one and the warrantee expires, I'm sure it will be a very costly repair.

Just thought you'd like to have some real life performance facts if your in the market for a new diesel truck.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Free Oil Lamps

My neighbor is moving and as most who move, toss out things they don't use. Today was one of those days, she set out at the curb a filled garbage can and in front of the garbage can on the ground were these three oil lamps in the boxes with a 1/2 gallon of lamp oil. Well I couldn't pass those up so now they're in my garage. I'm happy today!

It is strange how people don't hang onto things that in this case could give them light during and extended power outage. I guess it's a yuppie thing where they think nothing will ever happen and if it does it will be short lived besides they have a flashlight and I'm sure no extra batteries. However she drives a Mercedes so in her mind she's special and someone will or has always helped her out whenever needed. These are the people who I fear the most during bad times.