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January 21, 2007.

What I hate about America and why the boat plan is back in effect....

The president is crap

We just toured the white house and surrounding monuments this weekend and it's really messed me up. I don't like being lied to every five minutes. I could go on, but I'll get more depressed. Our president is the lowest form of life on the planet and he makes me ashamed to be American.

GM is crap

We just watched Who killed the electric car? A docutainment production about the electric cars in the 20s, 80s and 90s that aren't around anymore. It was well done for the most part, mediocre in a lot of sections with some poorly framed statistics that left me feeling manipulated, but I've drawn some conclusions from the movie facts that are disturbing.

Note this headline from last week:
GM goes electric with concept car
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070107/bs_nm/autoshow_volt_dc

What the F? GM had an electric car 16 years ago that went 70mph with a 60 mile range and didn't need any gasoline at all, it's way more than a concept. The difference in the new car is that it has a gasoline engine too, just in case you need to make long trips. We're not really moving forward here, just finding new ways to feel good about burning oil.

Just to show you what crap GM is, they are quoted in the article as saying batteries are the solution, but they bought new battery tech in the 90s and then sold it to Texaco and Exxon Mobil who immediately closed the doors on the patents and technology. Imagine being the scientist that created the innovations that could have helped prevent global warming and then having the demons buy it from you. In this case, you can't fault the scientist, he sold to GM thinking they would put the batteries in cars where they were designed to go. Yeah America! We're gonna do it! I assume that he was probably approached by big oil before GM. Then instead of using the tech, GM sells it to the worst possible organizations.

Fuel cell is crap

All the market news is about the Fuel Cell that uses Hydrogen and seemingly everyone is on the bandwagon. Hydrogen is expensive to create and inefficient to burn. The net gain is that we create a lot of wear and tear on the mechanical parts and produce a lot of waste heat. Also we have to carry around a volatile explosive gas. If you get a leak in your tank, it won't be like a gas tank leak, you'll lose everything and drive nowhere, it's a gas stored under pressure just like a balloon.

Most people think that we have hydrogen stores from the Earth, just like fossil fuels, but Hyrdogen isn't a fossil fuel. This from http://www.fuelcells.org “Hydrogen is the simplest element and most plentiful gas in the universe.“ Well yes, it's all over the place, like at the surface of the sun. Stars are made of hydrogen, but that doesn't mean we can just go get it. On Earth, we take water and use electricity to slice up the bonds to create oxygen and hydrogen. The electricity comes from burning oil and coal so it's not really a clean solution, your just moving the pollution from one area to another.

Hybrids are another con

We had the electric car and could have it today. The hybrid car is just another ploy for the oil companies to sell to people and make them feel good about themselves. It's the best solution on the market, but the market has been artificially controlled by invasive government action to cater to the oil companies. For instance, you get a tax incentive for buying a hybrid right, something like $1500, a nice little chunk. But then if you buy a Hummer, you get a $15,000 tax incentive under the guise of the small business stimulation bill. What crap!? In some cases you can get the Hummer for free, meaning the tax incentive completely pays for the cost of the vehicle. I hate America.

Which brings me to the Generation X point, the point at which I know I can not be a part of the broken corrupt system. The point at which all facets of life sicken me with their inherent hypocrisy. How can I drive to the store and buy some Chinese plastics and not hate myself? Is there anything in life that doesn't involve driving to the store to buy Chinese plastics anymore? Try going a week without using anything Chinese or driving. It can't be done. I'm typing on a computer built in China, my chair is Chinese, the phones, software, clothes, everything around me is Chinese. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate China, I hate being all high and mighty when all I have done is move the source of pollution from one place to another. Chinese products are the fuel cells of all other industries. Where can we produce these products that we don't have to worry about human labor laws (line up kids) or pollution (pour it in the rivers, spew it in the air)? Oh right, China.

The Response:

The plan in a nutshell is to buy a boat in 5 years or so and live on it. Then we can be a part of any city or nation that we choose. With my friends roaming the nation and all in different cities this plan has the advantage of allowing us to roam from port to port. I've had this idea for a long while and not had the means to actually purchase a sailing vessel. With the house and a better job over a few years I think we can swing it.

Finances:

Sell the house and with the combined earnings and equity, buy the boat, or at least most of the boat. Fix it up and make it livable for two and a dog. With no mortgage or lien on the boat, we only have to make enough money to pay for slip fees, which should be quite simple since slip fees are roughly 20% of apartment fees in any given area and we'll only need them when we are in port, which hopefully means we have jobs.

Hypocrisy Control:

By using solar panels and wind power for the computers, TV, cooking implements and other electric devices (vibrator) our electric load on the local environment will be zero. Since I am a NYSERDA eligible Solar installer in the state of NY, I will be able to buy the panels under government subsidy. Manufacturing of these devices is still a problem and I plan to continue working to save energy as a career.

Since boats run on diesel, we will convert the boat to be a veggie diesel engine that runs on either bio-diesel (start up) or vegetable oil (steady state). This will reduce emissions and save on fuel prices as we recycle our own oil and grease. This technology seriously exists today, it's not a pie in the sky fantasy like Fuel Cells. Many people are doing it already, but it doesn't get a lot of press; I'll let you figure out why.

Sustainability:

Is this something that can carry us in to old age? I honestly don't know. I hope so, but I don't know. The lifespan of a good ocean going vessel is far longer than a human life, the same goes for the solar panels and many of the rigid components. Of course there will be maintenance and upkeep, the diesel for example will only last 10 years or so, maybe 20.

Even if the plan is sound indefinitely, it's good to have back-up. A close friend of mine has created the philosophy of “No-Takebacks” which I applaud for it's schoolyard simplicity of message and in it's total commitment. In the No-Takebacks plan there is an allotment for what I call seed capital: the cash necessary to re-integrate into society. I plan to expand on the seed capital a bit in our plan.

As a fallback, I plan to store our worldly possessions that can't go on the boat, which is almost everything, either in Dallas or on a property that we put aside before we go. Money will be transferred to a foreign bank and a safe deposit box will be left behind with titles, birth certificates, wills, and other important documents. In this way I can be certain that things will be handled if ever we're lost at sea, or decide to abandon the boat for terra firma. Even with an allotment for some storage we will be liquidating many items over the next five years.

Career:

My path right now is clear: continue as a project manager for energy efficiency, do what I can to save the world. Anna's plan is not very clear at all, however, I believe by specializing in shorebirds and marine life we can find work along the coast for both of us. I don't plan to sail away and not be a part of larger solution; my intent is to live by example, use public transportation whenever possible and enable people to reduce their own footprint.

Skills:

All good life plans assume a certain amount of personal growth in the duration of their execution. For us this takes the form of certain skills that we need to acquire in the next five years (bow-hunting skills, nunchuk skills...). We'll have to pick up sailing expertise beyond my rudimentary sailing skill now, we'll have to learn about motors in more depth, master home electric systems, get more fishing experience and gear, practice shooting rifles and pistols and purchase the same and learn languages of places that we intend to travel. It should be fun and limited only by our interest. Hopefully there won't be anything that we both find boring and a burden to learn.

It's January 07 now, in January of 2012 we'll be on the open ocean. Where will you be?

Crow