Showing posts from January, 2014

Oh the things my mind retains

Last night, on the eve of my 44th birthday, my mind drifted towards a very old, but very vivid memory. I remember being a youngster in the backseat of my grandparents' car at a drive-in. I think it was the long closed Waterford drive-in. This memory drifts by regularly in the flotsam of my mind, so I've considered it many times. I figured I was about six years old. I also think my grandparents had expected me to be asleep by the time of the 2nd movie. I don't remember what the first movie was. I only remember the end of this movie in my memory.

I got out of bed and thought I'd see what Google could do for me. I searched for "70's movie, guy crucified on a box car." The clip on YouTube has enough screaming in it to wake a toddler.

Yeah, that image is a bit much for a youngster to digest and forget.

Google came through. Boxcar Bertha is a Martin Scorcese movie before he hit his stride and became famous starring David Carradine. Many reviewers mention it be…

energy and heat from your roof

I first saw this today at Inhabitat's blog. I have seen roofs with panels that heat water. I have seen solar panels on roofs. But now SolTech Energy in Sweden figured out how to combine them. The thin film solar panels are laid on the roof. Then the glass tiles are laid over them. The glass tiles heat up air that is used to heat water, which is stored, and available for heating and domestic water use. This idea is so cool.
This is their schematic.
Here is their finished product.
Glass tiles can't be cheap, and the roof would need extra strength to support it all, but the awesomeness of the whole thing cannot be beat.

It turns out an American company in New Jersey named Englert has developed a similar system with thin laminated solar panels on a standing seam metal roof with the glycol/water piped underneath the roof.

As far as aesthetics go, the glass tiles look so much better. But you get what you pay for.

Another New England compatible alternative house construction idea

New England has an abundance of trees, rocks and sand. The sand comes from glacial till, back when the glaciers spread over this area and bulldozed everything down to the granite. As they melted, ground down rocks and sand were left behind. Sand is abundant in these parts. How can it be used for home construction though? By itself, it can be a great wall, but not in a cold climate, because it does not insulate. Bagged sand is a great way to build walls between frames. But without clay and lots of muscle it won't form a strong earth bag house or a rammed earth home. Small bags can be used to build walls, as is being done in South Africa and Israel by Ecosteps. Big bags in gabions can do the trick as well. As I've struggled with this issue before, I thought I would have to settle with a foam insulation. But there is a new option available, mushroom insulation. The Long Island packaging company Ecovative Design has expanded their concept from protecting fragile packages to insula…

Jesus changes everything in the Bible

In Jesus' sermon on the mount, as written by Matthew in the 5th-7th chapters of his gospel, he teaches many counter-intuitive, even heavenly, ideals. One of those is about non-retaliation and extending love even to our enemies.
Matthew 5:38 You know that Hebrew Scripture sets this standard of justice and punishment: take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I say this, don’t fight against the one who is working evil against you. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, you are to turn and offer him your left cheek. 40 If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. 41 If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk with him for two instead. 42 If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away. 43 You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— 45 in so doing, you be…

American evangelical chaff

I am an american evangelical raised in the fundamentalist strain of the faith. I had the book, The Fundamentals, for awhile, but I never read it. Lately, some of the sacred cows I used to defend vigorously, have lost their luster. This isn't new for me. I no longer think, like I told a poor girl in my high school youth group that listening to Pink Floyd means no salvation for her soul. I am an idiot. Now I like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, too. But I elevated chaff to wheat. Miscellany to necessary. Dust to Must. Like then, so now, things I presumed gold looks more like pyrite. I don't like feeling foolish. But I am a fool, and, I feel I need to document my change in thinking. I do think I'm really learning to trust God's constant refrain in the Bible, "Fear not." There are three issues I've stopped fearing.

Number One:
When I went to the Christian liberal arts college my freshman year, I was somewhat scandalized, really scandalized, but then really liberate…