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My kombucha SCOBY has white spots on its surface... are they mold?

Hi, my kombucha SCOBY has white uneven colour spread on the top surface. Are they mold? They smell fine, but I am not sure if it's safe. It's been left for few weeks in the tea, in the glass bottle, and it was my first blew.  I boiled water for 15 min to make this batch and followed instruction to keep everything washed etc, just as how I do with milk kefir and water kefir.  The SCOBY I received from friend had yellowish even colour on its surface, so I am not sure if I had done right.....Can someone plz shed a light on it?  thank you. 

Question by mizushima    |  last reply


Is my axolotl sick?

I'm new with axolotl so I'm wondering if my axolotl sick or is he a golden albino axolotl. The spots aren't fluffy it is like the skin of a frog I don't think he is sick but just for sure if anyone could tell me is he fine. p/s: I know gravel aren't good for axolotl i just bought him so I'm changing the to bigger stones soon. I bought him because he was kept in a poor condition in the store so I want to give him a better home

Question by SheepyMix    |  last reply


My Tamiya T2 Drift Spec

Hey guys this is my T2 in action.Well what happened was i went to Japan for a holiday, i also wanted to see Tamiya HQ, it is AWESOME! well after that i spotted a rc track in osaka and drifted with some of the guys there.My T2 is the one with the white RX-7 body.

Topic by ShotPain    |  last reply


What's wrong with my Axolotl?

I got a Axolotl today (I named it Neptune). I don't know if it's a boy or girl yet. I don't know why but at first Neptune wasn't moving around as much but it might be from just being in a new environment. What my question is I went to check on Neptune and noticed it had white spots all over it. Neptune has white spots on it's body, mostly it's sides. I pictures I attached aren't very good I know but my room isn't lit really bright and I don't know if you can really see Neptune. I'm really worried, I don't want Neptune to die in a few days from when I got it. Does anyone know why Neptune has spots on it? Or what I could do? It's a brand new tank, I boiled all the planets so there's nothing on it, and the water has been cycling for 4 days. It's 20 gallons and the person at the pet store who carries them said it should cycle for at least 24 hours. I'm really worried, please help.

Question by HannaC6    |  last reply


Summer, sun and what to do with faded plastics

A lot of us have machine, bikes or such with plastic parts.And if you are in a country where a UV rating of 10 is a nice spring day already plastics seem to fade away and fail quicker.Over the years I experimented with a lot of things to either prevent this or to fix it.If you ever had your old farm basher parked next to the same but sun protect model you almost start crying LOLColors look like you painted a white haze over it, white plastics turn yelloish and clear plastic, like on the head lamps of your car go dull and yellow.You might know what I mean if have really nice and long summers...So what is the reason for this problem that only seems to affect things in hot and sunny countries?A lot of plastics are actually fully UV resistant and they won't be harmed or changed.Great but they still suffer! ?Not really, it is the softeners, fillers and pigments that suffer most.In the case of clear plastics it is usually polycarbonate mixes and the culprit is the scratch resistant coating applied on it.The hard UV rays promote the oxidisation and break down.So whatever is not resistant to UV will suffer in and mostly on the outside of the plastic.Problem is that UV penetrates quite deep and as a result we often find that UV protecting agents are added.Sometimes as a coating, sometimes as a mix throughout.Older cars often show peeling paint onthe roof or boot lid - the UV protecting in the coating has failed or was just bad.Back in the old days there was whiteners in washing powder, we had white sheets for the beds and other things and leaving them in the sun to dry actually made them whiter and kept them looking fresh - a positive use for UV bleeching ;)In terms of real prevention options are almsot fully limited to keeping the xposure as low and short as possible.There is no clear coating you can apply to keep the UV out that won't affect the looks of the paint job or plastic.And not all of these coating work on all plastics.One option though is to keep the plastic clean and shiny.A highly reflective surface will not scatter the sunlight as much throughout the plastic.Oxidisation is limited as well, especially if you add some polish every now and then.In a lot of cases though this is either no option or way too time consuming for us to keep it up.As a result we start to neglect the routing here and there andover they years the plastic ages faster than what it should.How to fix or restored faded plastic without paying an arm and a leg for specialised products?White is always nice and if you have a washing machine or fridge close enough to a window you might have noticed over the years that the plastic parts now appear a bit darker or slightly yellow, often just on one side of the thing...Old electronics, like Gameboys are doing this too.Red is my other favourite as like black it produces a white haze easy.Either way the solution is pretty much the same: reduce the oxidisation by oxidising it more ;)Whatever is really oxidised in a bad way changed the color instead of just breaking dow the pigments.UV does this...On the other hand hydrogen peroxide bleeches and breaks down stains....As long as parts are small enough it is quite easy to put them in a zip lock bag to submerge them for a few hours or over night in hydrogen peroxide.Otherwise use a suitable container and keep turning and moving the parts around every hour or so until all looks even again.In severe cases and if the plastic permits it you can also add a small amount of diluted hydrochloric acid.Talking diluted! So that means of a low concentration!In most cases though a day or two with just hydrogen peroxide will suffice.Do a little test first though as some plastics might just be caoted and either show no reaction at all or the coating has pigment that break down in the peroxide - I never had this happen to me but I have read reports of it and seen the pics of the results.When it comes to really big parts, like the spoiler on your car or plastic covers on your bike and boat it can be impossible to submerge them even partially.In most cases people try to fix these by polishing them until the faded areas are litterally removed.A much nicer and easier way to cheat is to use a simple car polish that is suitable for plastic parts.Means it should have no warning on it to keep away for plastic parts ;)Wearing proper gloves you can add some hydrogen peroxide to a small amount of the polish.And I mean polish, not the stuff to fix a dull or bad paint - what you would use on a new car...The trick is that the polishing cleans the surface while the peroxide works on the staining and fading.You just don't let the stuff dry after applying it and polish the dry stufff of, you keep going wet until your color comes back ;)After that give it a final polish the normal way with just the polishing compound and no peroxide.Clear plastic...If it is just yor headlamps or other smaller parts for a once off it might make sense to go to a auto shop and buy a head lamp polishing kit.Thing with clear plastics is that only too often they come in shapes or installations that make a full access impossible.Like your head lamps that you can only reach from the front as they are glued into the assembly.Another problem is that they are aslo almost always coated with some protective stuff.If hydrogen peroxide alone does not help here then polishing will always remove some of this coating or even all of it.If the coating happens to be the culprit of the fading and yellowing then you of course get it all nice and shiny by just polishing the coating off - but you also loose all benefits of the coating.Some car models have headlamps where just the coating discolors and once removed the plastic start to crack under the exposure from UV and through all the tiny damages it get when driving around.For things like clear covers over a little display there is the problem as access as you might not be able to remove the window pane, a replacement might be the best option.Hey! Why all the fuzz? I use just oil and it works perfectly!!You can find online videos and full tutorials where people show you that just a bit of some oil and polishing it off with a lint free cloth brings all you faded colors back out again.Don't be fooled just because it works so great!Take a frosted piece of glass and put some oil on it and it becomes clear enough to see through again.Even works with very thin paper...What the oil really deos is to coat all these microscopic imperfections.And with the light now having a very easy way to get through it won't scatter anymore and the fading appears to be gone.Once the oil is gone the plastic looks as bad as before, hence the need to use an oil that dries off.Worst thing is that these oil affect the softeners in the plastic.In some cases this might be benefitial in most it is really bad though.Like any other solvent the oil mixes with these softeners and over time they are removed from the plastic, the more you use oil to keep it shine the more brittle you plastic might get.Once you did that it is next to impossible to remove the oil from within the damaged plastic and only way out i to polish it off after sanding it.The benefit of seemingly protecting the plastic from dirt and water is short lived as well.Some old oil you got on it would just wipe off but with the added oil in the plastic it can now penetrate.And that little black dot becomes hard to get rid of...Last words of wisdom:Check the type of plastic before you decide on anything!Especially when it comes to the black plastic with fibre re-inforcements.Do a tiny spot test in an area that is not so important before going full scale!Trust me, nothing is worse than only realising too late you selecting of choice is actually removing the pigments from the plastic - hint: if your cloth tunrs into the same color as your plastic then something is wrong.Use PPE! Gloves and face shield or at least goggle are a must have when working with hydrogen peroxide or acids.Even at just 3% the peroxide will bleech your skin quickly and long exposure won't be better either.Once you got a drop of peroxide in your eye you will never forget the googles, so just wear them right away please ;)If the fading is due to the breakdown of pigments that give the color like a white haze on red or blue plastic you might still have to polish off that thinnest layer on the surface to remove the fully bleached out layer.This however is really quickly done and after that the smooth surface will last much longer.Work clean!! It is of no use to start before you actually fully cleaned the plastic!

Topic by Downunder35m  


Need help with plans for a LED room lighting system

Hey guys and gals,I'm looking to install a full scale LED lighting system in my room, because I'm tired of blowing bulbs and incandescents, and I want something new. Id like to install a standard white light LED system for the main lights, and incorporate a RGB setup into the fixture. I want the fixture to run around the upper perimeter of the room, and contain enough lights to light a 15' x 12' x 8' room.My questions as of now:What are the highest output white LEDs I can get with a "wider" viewing angle?And how can I incorporate a dimmer into the standard white setup?I was to use this Instructable as a guide also for the RGB setup.https://www.instructables.com/id/RGB-Color-Controllable-High-Power-LED-Room-%2b-Spot-/Thank you very much in advance.

Topic by Smitherines  


Does anyone know what this weird bug I found is?

So yeah, I found this weird bug in my room, can anyone tell me what the heck it is? (a name would be extra nice) I think it's a larvae of some kind. Also, I know the pictrue quality is horrible, but it's the best I could do with a 2 MP phone camera. It's about as long as my thumb nail, which makes it about 10mm(~2/5 of an inch for you non-metric people), and it has a green/greyish, mandarine seed shaped spot on its both sides of the white part that didn't really come out in the picture, when I left it alone for long enough it stuck its tiny body out of the main white part, which you can kinda see in the photo. Its body is segmented like a centipede's. The main white part has two holes at either end, one of which the "head" (I think...) pokes out, and I dunno what the other one's for. It's quite flat, and has no legs on the white bit, it seems to drag the white bit along behind it. And another thing that didn't come out in the photo is the texture of the pod (I guess that's what you'd call it) is quite rough, I didn't touch it, but that's what it looked like. I also took a video, but I can't be bothered uploading it. Thanks in advance, Julian

Question by Pie Ninja    |  last reply


When an electric range or oven element erupts(?), what is going on? Answered

While trying to boil water today, there was a bit of flame briefly visible under the stainless steel kettle. Picking it up, it looked like a wet squished bug on the burner (actually bubbled metal or ceramic) ... and a slow leak in the kettle from a small burned spot.  This seemed very contained. Many years ago when the oven element blew  out it spewed white powder and tiny silver blobs all over the oven.  So what is happening in the element  when this occurs? (I don't really know what 'calrod' is made of.)

Question by mole1    |  last reply


I Hacked a PSU

So I replaced the cheap power supply on my Compaq so I could upgrade my video card. Anyways I'm left over with this 200W PSU and I have no use for it. I opened it up and I see components galore and a 80 MM fan. There is also a bridge rectifier and, some really big transformers, and two giant blue capacitors @ 200v, 470uF. Do I have to remove the PCB to discharge the caps before I start salvaging or is there a better spot. The Chinese that made it also made use of a lot of white hot glue. And the soldering on the PCB just looks plain bad. You guys have any thoughts of what I could do with it? Besides the lab powersupply instructable?

Topic by emuman4evr    |  last reply


Normally burn and peel badly

I have pale Irish skin that dont tan and trust me I tried everything to get even a little tan color. So simply you can say I burn and peel badly then pale white again. This year seems different, I was sitting in the shade and i got burnt and it was bad and very noticeable as you can see in the photo, but this time I hardly peeled. in some spots I did but very little which is not normal for me. It turned into a tan, so my question is how is that possible, is it a bad thing that a bad burn didnt peel hardly and juat tanned? Oh and to mention I have been taken this women skin, nails, hair vitamin plan at a place called gnc. Could that be helping me absorb the sun better?

Question by irishangeleyes2012    |  last reply


Need some help with repurposing Christmas lights

Greetings everybody! I've been lurking around instructables for maaaaany years, but have never been a dedicated maker. On to the point. I made a "bedside lamp" so to speak. It's an olive branch, around which I put a row of christmas lights. They're the simple kind, white with a clicky green controller and about 10 different settings. The setting is remembered until the lights are unplugged, after which they reset. I'd like to keep them on at all times with just an on-off switch, because a twinkling bedside lamp is not of much use. My stepfather told me he'd help (he's an electrician) but we have no clue how the thing actually works (so we can take it apart and just keep the simple on-off cords. The setup is as follows: =)--------------(regular 2 cord electric current cable)----------[    *    ]----(5 cables)-----Y---Y---Y---Y Plug------------------------------------------------------------Single Button Controller---------Lights I've followed the cables as well as I could (I've already taped them around the branch at several spots) and lamps connect to different cables. How could I remove the "program" altogether and just make them work with a simple switch?

Topic by kouraf16    |  last reply


Finally getting more pieces

I'm not exactly big on money at the moment. College student and all with limited working hours. Luckily, I have parents paying for a lot of expenses so I really only have to cover food that isn't under my meal plan and any other misc things that I want on the spot for supplies or entertainment. But I recently just got $25 online from doing surveys which I decided I'll put toward getting more pieces. I can't be bothered to buy all the pieces in one bulk, so I'll just probably be ordering big things of yellow connectors, green rods, and white rods to start. When I get more money I'll get other pieces, but those will already help me create a lot more things. Yes, I'm finally actually being bothered to get more K'nex in the 3+ years I've been K'nexing. So of course then the question is what things should I build now? There are a lot of things that I want to make just for the sake of putting my own spin on them. For example, I recently rebuilt my UMP from a lack of patience and a need to have something around the dorm room again (possibly using it in a video my friends are making with nerf guns). I was thinking I might have a go at making a personal assault rifle. That is, those weapons (can't think of the names of any examples) that people built mainly to have a lot of features, look somewhat like a real assault rifle in style though with their own design, and not built exactly to be great in function. I figured I'd use my UMP as a starting point. I actually wanted to make mine look decently realistic. So yeah, that'll be a just-for-fun weapon. Any other suggestions? I'm thinking less about new concepts and more about things I can put a personal spin on or perfect.

Topic by TheDunkis    |  last reply


LED Matrix & POV PCBs up for grabs!

Boy do I have a deal for you! I've been working on an uber-clock project recently (it's going to be really really awesome!), and it entails a very interesting display -- a 5x16 array of SMD LEDs.I tried making a homemade PCB, but it was impossible to use, so I'm sending my order out to a fabhouse for some real ones. While I'm at it, I'm offering you, instructablonians, the chance of a lifetime: Owning one of these awesome* boards!For $18, you get the PCB and 100 red SMD LED's! (LEDs courtesy of T3hMuffinator) -- this price pretty much covers the cost of the board & shipping.For an extra 5 bucks, I'll stuff the board with the LEDs for you.(The 5 bucks is to cover the solder paste, and the labor involved :P)It definantly needsto be stuffed with solder paste, the parts are very close together. It is litterally just the LED matrix, there are spots for it to be connected to a controller board, where the resistors would lay.EDIT: Heres the schematic, sch file, and the board.EDIT2: New board design, much much more compact! 3.15" x 1.20"! EDIT3: Just in case we get a flood of replies, I'll repeat 'Muff.He's supplying the LEDs. They're avaliable in red, white, yellow, and 1 other color. They're from [www.select-technology Select Technology] (eBay UMO88)EDIT4: I also have controller boards availible. They're basically an AtMega8, resistors, header pins, power, etc all on a board the same size as the array. (not an easy task!) They're $18, PM me fore more detailsI also have some POV boards availible. They are uber-compact, at only 0.8"x0.6"! They come with 10 SMD LEDs. They cost $5 a piece. Just add the Attiny13 & power!For $15, you get the POV PCB, the LEDs, 11 Male & 5 Female header pins, a DB-25 connector, an Attiny13, and its socket. Its everything you need to use this PCB. (Note: you need a parallel port on the back of your computer in order to use this board to program the uC)Its a very self-explaintory PCB, which makes it great. Its compact size is great for a few different thingsAn instructable is coming really soon on making/stuffing/using it, so don't dispair!---All three boards distributed by Rethinker Industries and liscenced under by-nc-sa.

Topic by zachninme    |  last reply


LED Questions

Help, I'm afflicted with inspiration in quantities that exceed my skills!So I came up with an idea for a project that would probably require the use of LEDs, which I know next to nothing about. Ah, said I, the Internet can teach me much... so I turned here and found the (nearly) perfect Instructable, "LEDs for Beginners":https://www.instructables.com/id/LEDs-for-Beginners/Having read this most helpful I'ble, I certainly came away more knowledge than I'd previously had, but still not enough to properly plan my project.Basically, I'd like to create a 2D "array" of LEDs to use as a light source, in order to backlight a roughly 8.5" x 11" translucent panel.It seems like it would be straightforward to just wire up a bunch of white LEDs in series to a power source and a resistor, and be done. I'm not afraid of a little trial-and-error, but I prefer to know at least roughly what I'm doing going in, so I'm asking for your help. Here are my lingering questions:1. Should I wire my LEDs in series, or in parallel? (Or some combination thereof)? In series, I gather that one LED failing will break the whole circuit, which could be a pain. On the other hand, I've seen several projects and sites that cryptically recommend against wiring these in parallel.2. Are there pre-built strips of LEDs I could acquire that would make this project simpler?3. If I want to vary the brightness of my light source, can I use a variable resistor (potentiometer), or does the nature of the LEDs preclude the use of this type of dimmer switch? If so, could I vary the brightness with multiple switched circuits, turning off half the LEDs for half brightness, 3/4 off for quarter-brightness, etc?4. I've got a slew of transformers from old tape decks, telephones, cell phone chargers, etc. Can I appropriate one of these as my DC power supply?5. How do I gauge how many LEDs I'll need, and what density is best to lay them out? I'm looking to create even, diffuse light, with no noticible bright/dark spots.6. Do I need to worry about heat?7. Are LEDs even the correct way to go here? Should I consider fluorescent light instead?I realize these are a lot of questions, but if you're an expert on LED projects, you could save me a lot of research time. If (I build this gadget, it will definitely show up here as its own Instructable.)Thanks!-JD

Topic by jdtwelve12    |  last reply


August 28th, 1963

On this day, a Baptist minister from Atlanta Georgia stood up in front of a quarter of a million people, and said this: I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But 100 years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.And so we've come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a cheque. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of colour are concerned. Instead of honouring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad cheque which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we've come to cash this cheque - a cheque that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.There will be neither rest nor tranquillity in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: in the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.The marvellous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realise that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights: "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied and we will not be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.I have a dream today!I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.I have a dream today!I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning: "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California.But not only that.Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Topic by Kiteman    |  last reply


Project TTD--XM8

Alright well I wanted to keep this relatively low but I keep pushing back the project so I thought I'd let you guys know that trauts and I are working on an XM8 with a lot of special treats. I'm kind of stuck in California without my knex (and a small tub and a half here that will do me no good. I did teach my little cousin about knex guns and showed him the Mini-er TDS though >_<) so I'll have to wait until Friday to give you anything. I also have to finish my official assault pistol. So far the XM8 is just a bunch of ideas and nothing is built yet. I'm actually not sure as trauts might have made part of it but I haven't heard from him for awhile so I doubt it. Well for my assault pistol I was planning on making my war weapon now that others have. Thank god I think we may have found the new side arm and new new sniper fad...although now we're going to have a lot of spiff and bbkwg copies. It will be an open mag blue rod fed gun. I gave it a little twist for originality--I angled the magazine. This way the ammo is put farther up for more power but now the mag acts as a hand guard and doesn't stick out. Honestly it does jam like every 5 shots or so on average. I have yet to perfect it as I only started the night before I was leaving for CA. I should be making different versions of it like a larger one with a stock and yellows for ammo and then a smaller one maybe with a slide or something for whites. Anyways for the main project trauts and I are making an XM8 with a couple different features. Some things we're hoping to accomplish. *Similar charging handle- You'll be able to cock the weapon by pulling back a lever on top under the carrying handle. *Removable mag- Once again another one of my favorite accomplishments. *Interchangeable parts- The barrel/carrying handle and the back will be made to come off easily or at least without major mods to switch between the normal assault rifle and the compact version. *Hopefully we'll come up with an adjustable stock. *A grenade launcher for D splodies- Yup we're hoping to make a mini slingshot device in the form of a grenade launcher to attach under the XM8. Finally I have one last special feature pack that deserves more than a couple asterisks. We were hoping to save this as a surprise when we posted it but I might as well tell you. The gun will be part of a kit. It will be a war gun after all. The kit will include a belt/vest/ something to carry on you that will hold side arm, maybe an assault pistol, a couple of grenades most likely D Splodies so you can refill your grenade launcher, extra magazines, and finally a spot for your XM8. We'll try to hurry and post pictures with progress reports. I can't promise that we'll include every single one of these features but we are sure hoping to. So does this sound like a good Christmas gift?

Topic by TheDunkis    |  last reply


rfid chip in food

I have had some problems with illegal rfid chipping by the avalon station los angeles county sheriffs. i have had to throw away alot of my belongings not knowing which item or items were chipped. this rfid frequency number was given to a motorcycle gang on the mainland ( i live on santa catalina island off the coast of southern california).........and this gang attacked and tried to murder me across state lines when i went on a trip to northern california/oregon.............these guys stalked and attempted to kill me at least 15-20 times during an eight month terrifying ordeal!  there are some "bad cops" on the force that did not want me to return to the island; as i was going to be a major figure in some lawsuits that are being prepared at this moment. gang officer david v mertens played hardball with a very innocent little resort town of avalon (google his name). he tried to tell the world that on the "misty" island of catalina that there were gangs here on the island.....which is hogwash as everybody in this little community knows everybody else; sometimes too much.......it is like having 3000 brothers and sisters! so after his little pr stunt........hey; there is a need for him on the island. he got kicked off of the island as he does not belong in a resort town. i am a person who has lived in the wilderness for the better part of 30 years; and am very hard to locate, capture or worse...........but they tried twice on the island using air assets (one a grey unmarked military helicopter and two days later a little blue and white private airplane)....but to no avail. they came "straight to me" in the canyons and forests of the island and in the forests of oregon and then back again in the forests of lake tahoe...........no one has ever found me like that........especially a bunch of city boys. when they don't capture me we all walk around town as if nothing happened!  my questions are how to detect these chips and destroy them on my backpack, other belongings and even chips that may very well have been inserted into some food i found on the backside of the island just after a sheriffs helicopter had taken off from the remote area. i thought the chopper was putting food in places just in case some of the survivors of a coastguard airplane/helicopter crash found their way to shore; but it might of been meant for me. since returning to the island i saw someone chip my day pack that i left unattended during a mountain run............so as an experiment i went out three days ago and hid the pack  in the local hills,  when i returned home i realized that i had lost my knife out of it's holster.  i go back 30 minutes later to look...........and guess what?........the pack was already gone!  then some sort of personnel folks came back for me; that i saw way down below me in that spot......looking directly at me! i always get hunches to get up and go before anything major is about to happen; which is how i got away from the motorcycle gang and the sheriffs that backed the gang cop. any suggestions you might give me in regards to these issues would be greatly appreciated.  thank you for your time. pack below

Topic by richard e dial    |  last reply


Hydrogen Peroxide at home and in the Garden

Although the topic is quite old for some of us and mostly because I am too lazy today to make an Instructable: Hydrogen Peroxide ! Back in the day Hydrogen Peroxide was mainly known for the ability to bleech your hair, later it replaced chlorine based products for the preparation of paper and organic fibres. For me it is a good opportunity to go back in time and to pull out some of the remedies my grandparents already used. Who knows, there might be something that helps you or you might know other good uses that I failed to mention here, so feel free to comment. First off: What actually is hydrogen peroxide? We could check Wikipedia but I think it is enough to say that it basically water with an added oxgen mulecule which turn the stuff into a quite powerfull oxidizer. When hydrogen peroxide reacts the added oxygen is released and the normal water remains. Precausions and health risks. In the normal supermarket form hydrogen peroxide comes at a strenght of just 3%. This is just enough for wound treatment or cleaning off a fresh and small stain. The stuff you can buy at your hair dresser comes in concentrations of 5-15%, above that it is of little use to them. Pool grade peroxide however can come as high as 50%. It often requires a permit of at least leaving a copy of your drivers license to buy such high concentration but well worth it price wise. The downside of anything above 5% is a risk for your skin, eyes and airways. So when handling hydrogen peroxide you should waer long sleeve rubber gloves, safety or better swimming goggles and make sure that you don't create vapour by spraying it against the wind direction. Having water at hand to dilute and spillage on your skin is always good. What happens to me if things go wrong? Well, if handled correctly nothing should go wrong but of cause the worst would be eye contact. Getting concentrated hydrogen peroxide in your eyes means extreme pain and even with rinsing it out asap eye damage is more than just possible. Again: wear proper eye protection and if spraying use a filter mask, the paper type is enough!!! Nothing immediate happens on sking contact but a few minutes after contact the skin will turn slightly brown or goes white. This is caused by the oxygen release into your skin cells, if washed off quickly after noticing the discoloration will fade after a few hours. Prolonged exposure of the skin can cause skin cells to fully discolor and living cells might get damaged - a burning sensation is usually the sign that you need to wash the area now ;) Enough bad stuff said, let's see what we can do in the garden.... Fungal infection of your old roses or on your fruit trees? Sometimes the weather does not like our plants and by the time we discover a fungal infestation it is usually pruning time. There are commercial producta available that work quite well but especially the copper based ones tend to do more harm than good in th long run. An alternative is a solution of 10-20% hydrogen peroxide. Spray generously over all affected parts of the plant, leaves, twigs, stem and all. Make sure everything is properly wet! In some cases the fungus can act as a water replellent and it seems impossible to get any of the solution to wet these areas - a drop of dish washing liquid into the bottle will fix this! Watever runs off can be left as it only helps to get oxygen into the soil but of course you should not soak the area... Leave it on for about an hour, around 20 minutes if it quite warm. Rinse all off with clear water and repeat every 2 days for 5 treatments all up. After this time wait 2 or 3 weeks and check if the fungus still gows in some hard to reach areas. If so then repeat the treatment there until satisfied but wait another 2 weeks every 5 single treatments. In some areas of the world certain types of fungus on roses are refered to as "rust". ----- Moved into a new home and the garden beds smell really bad? The last house I moved into had a previous occupant with a big dog but no time to clean after his pet. The garden beds looked dead and I mean so dead that I could not even find weeds in them. And the smell was a distinct mix of old dog poo with lots of fresh cat poo mixed in it - the perfect outdoor pet toilet :( Trying to dig it all under made me recover that the top soil was more §$&*# than soil. I had to get rid of the bacteria of all the poo and somehow neutralize a lot of the unwanted "nutrients". The solution was to first loosen all the soil as deep as I could go. Then I added rice straw (but anything straw like or dry grass will do) to mix it through. At this stage I wished I had a gas mask LOL All up the contaminated garden beds covered about 20square meters. I got a 10 liter canister of pool grade hydrogen peroxide, from this I diluted down with 20 liters of water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid to help with the soil wetting. All was applied as evenly as I good with a watering can and then the area was covered with some tarp to try keeping as much oxygen on and in the soil as possible. A day later the tarp was removed and all beds watered with hose to drowning point. This watering was repeated every 3 days for 3 weeks to drive out all the excess and unwanted nutrients from the poo. The smell was already gone except for some cat urine residue which disappeared after some rounds of watering. Three months after the initial treatment I did some soil tests, added nutrients were required and the next season I had vegetables growing :) ----- Planting? Whether from seeds or seedlings, give hydrogen peroxide a try! I use a 5% solution to soak the potting mix I use before putting my seeds in it. Not only does it kill a few of the unwanted things that might still be in there but it adds a lot of oxygen into the soil, which gives the seeds a much better start. For seeds I use a 5% solution as well but only leave them in for about an hour before placing them between some wet paper towels until they start germinating. This way I can be sure all harmful bacteria and fungal spores are dead and I can use a sterile seed to keep going. Might just be my opinion but I think the germination rate is better and seedling in comparison start growing faster and stronger. Home uses.... As we learned before hydrogen peroxide, at least in higher concentrations is a powerful way to remove fungus. In our bathrooms we often have the problem that the ceiling starts to develop black spots as in the colder times water condenses here and takes a long time to dry off. If you now go to your favorite hardware store they will recommend the use of a chlorine based product, basically bleach... And although it does the job it also means your house will stink for days and if you scrub the ceiling you will get it on your sking and stink too. Hydrogen peroxide at 20% or higher concentrations can be sprayed onto the cleiling :) Of course you will need good protection for this and all things color should be removed, like towels or floor mats. By protection I mean a minimum of swimming goggles, a tyvek suit or similar to cover all exposed skin areas and at least a paper dust mask, better a filtered respirator like you use for spray painting or using insecticides. If you have a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle then a stream is far better than a spray mist!! Not only is your exposure far lower but it much easier to wet the ceiling quickly. Wet all affected areas, then leave and the room, close the door and take off all clothes you used t protect you. The clothes can be left out to dry but double check that you had no soaked spot where your sking might have been in contact - if so rinse the skin with plenty of water! It will take some time to work and then dry, so best to do this in the summer time or if during the colder times you need to make sure the room is porperly heated and aired out to dry! Repeat until all black spots are gone, really bad areas will leave a permanent discoloration looking like a slight brwonish color is the ligh it right otherwise you won't see it. Once fully dry it is best to scrape off all lose paint and then to use a acrylic based sealer before giving the ceiling a fresh coat of white. The sealer will prevent the water to penetrate more than the paint level and if you get the fungus back on the paint it is far easier to clean ;) ----- Carpet cleaning.... When moving into a new rental with carpet on the floor you often are left with areas indicating the carpet might be "clean" but the underlay certainly is not. You can fix the underlay but you certainly can make sure all harmful stuff is gone from the carpet. Carpet cleaning machines can be hired but often much cheaper if you buy the "recommended" cleaning product with it. Rent is usually based on a daily base and price depends on how much cleaner you need. If you only want to desinfect the carpet which otherwise looks mostly fine than go for the smallest pack available and use it to spot clean areas you want cleaner first. For the desinfecting part I recommend to test how high you can go with the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide before using it on a big scale - keep in mind the carpet will never be fully dry and the remaining peroxide will continue to act! Test a 10% solution first before you go higher as you don't want to buy 30 liters or more of pool grade peroxide - just trust me on that one and only try to buy this much you do want to get into trouble a few days later! If 10 percent solution left on the carpet does not cause any bleaching of the fabric (unwanted bleaching that is) you can try higher for spot cleaning in demanding areas. A good spot to try the solution is under the cover or duct outlets, under these joining bars where carpet changes to tiles (if you can lift them off) or in wardrobes if the carpet goes inside. There are two way to treat your carpet once the general cleaning is done. a) use a garden sprayer or similar to wet the carpet This is good for single room treatment like for the baby room but especially on thicker carpets it requires a lot of solution and can become costly. Once wet leave for at least 30 minutes so the peroxide can do its thing, then use the machine with either the solution filled or just to dry off the carpet. I recommend to use the peroxide solution in the machine as it allows for better penetration and it will remove more soiled solution this way. If your catching container starts bubbling like mad it means you have a lot of §$%&#+ in the carpet and it might be best to first clean it all with the normal carpet cleaning agent before using the peroxide again - again tesing on smaller areas can help wasting the peroxide. If you need to store prepared solutions than it is best in a cold place. It will take several hours on an otherwise clean carpet for the peroxide to fully disappear so it best to use shoes and prevent skin contact during that time - especially if a baby crawls around ;) ----- Toilet.... We don't want to talk about it but everyone needs to clean their toilet sooner or later. For most things in there using the toilet brush when it happens will keep things clean and healthy. But what if someone in the house is sick or with a weak immune system? You could use all sorts of commercial cleaners and desinfectants but a wipe with wet towel or cloth soaked in a 10% solution of hydrogen peroxide will quickly eliminate all harmfull things on your seat, lid or bowl, including the buttons to press and the door handles ;) Just wipe and leave it wet for a minute or two then wipe again and ry - done! Personal use I always pack a small bottle of supermarket grade peroxide when going off road or camping trips. Although we now have modern desinfectants that won't stink or otherwise harm you I still prefer the old stuff ;) If you are far from civilisation than the last thing you want to need is medical attention for something that started as small as a scratch or graze.... Out in the unkown wilderness you will never know if the rockk you just crash landed on was used as a urinal by a fox the night before... A bit of gravel left in your skin might contain harmful bacteria... A cut with your own knife?? - What did you all cut since the last proper cleaning of the blade? You see where I am going here, a small thing might turn into something really nasty a day or two later. If you clean a freash and minor wound properly and then rinsie it with hydrogen perodixe most if not all harmful leftovers will be killed by the releasing oxygen. Of course this pretty much useless on bleeding wounds or where it is obvious that you won't be able to remove all debris from the wound - here it means you trip is still over in favour for proper medical treatment. The thing is that hydrogen peroxide was basically abandoned for all wound treatment once the modern "cleaning aids" became available as the peroxide will not only attack harmful things but also living tissue. The claims goes as far as causing bad scar tissue, damage to blood vessels and even "burning" of the tissue. One big problem I have with all these claims is that they were never really mentioned until the new meds came out. IMHO exposure time and how you use it it the key - common sense if you ask me. Noone should ever soak a wound in peroxide, if it is that big that you need to soak it you need medical attention anyway. And as said you should rinse the wound, that means all remaining liquid should be allowed to flow off - this will only leave a minor amount of peroxide in the wound and the exposure time will end with once all oxygen is released. For minor wounds I only use a paper tissue or cotton bud soaked in peroxide and wipe the wound.... ----- Smelly feet? Ok, maybe not the best way to start a conversation but we all know what sneakers do to our feet in the summer... Insoles with copper and activated carbon will help a lot and at least "cure" your sneakers while they are off your feet and have time to dry. But the smell is actually cause by bacteria growing from everywherey in your sneaker to your sking, actuall starting at your sking... If you wear your sneakers for long periods of time time or even whenever possible and also suffer from a bad smell hydrogen peroxide might be able to help you. Most sneakers will tolerate a machine wash and should come out germ free, if that is no option pack them in a sealed back and leaven them in the freezer over night - this will kill all bacteria and remove the smell. Now to break the endless cycle you need to remove the bacteria from inside your skin. So daily sock changes, freezing shoes and washing feet is a must! Your feet will really benefit from a foot bath in a 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide. To keep costs at a minimum use a container that is just the right size for your feet and prepare the solution from pool grade peroxide. I an ideal case you should not need more than 2 liters but all used product can be stored cool and re-used the next day, after that you need to make a new batch. Keep your feet submerged for at least 10 minutes. This will allow a deep penetration of the skin but might result in some white spots that will disappear after a few hours. Consenquent foot baths can be reduced to 5 minutes. After about a week you should notice that wearing your sneakes no longer causes and bad smell and you can stop the treatment. Freezing the sneakers over night, dialy (or more) sock changes and daily, proper cleaning of your feet should prevent any further bad smells :) ----- Bleaching your hair Althoug it was done for many years I really can't recommend using hydron peroxide for this purpose! Any concentration strong enough to have a proper effect in a reasonable time will at least cuase skin irritation. Back in the days they said your burning scalp is what you need to endure to get blonde hair :( And as said already you really don't want to get that stuff into your eyes... General uses If you have a fruit based stain then cahnces are hydrogen peroxide will remove it, especially if fresh. Even at supermarket concentration repeated application and proper drying off with a paper towel or similar will remove even red wine or beetroot stains. ------ Blood... On you skin blood is easy removed with cold water, same on other surfaces but washing off is no option a wet cloth or cotton piece will work fine. Hydrogen peroxide is good if things need to go fst or if the surface is porous, here the releasing oxigen will drive out the blood with the bubbles. ----- Fish tanks... If you love your tank then you really hate to medicate or even worse have a bad algea infestion, especially the stuff of the black kind. A change to activated carbon filter material is always recommended after a medical treatment to remove all leftovers from the system. However, certain medication simply won't be affected by a carbon filter and stay in the system until fully used or broken down otherwise. Especially in bigger tanks a partial water change is often out of the question as it would cause too much additional stress to the fish and plants. Hydrogen peroxide can help to break down most if not all remains of the used medication while at the same time adding more oxygen to the water. To be sensitive and safe in all enviroments I recomment to calculate the concentration based on the volume of your tank and to add the required amount of peroxide very slowly into the outgoing water stream from your pump. By slowly I mean in terms of a slow drip if using solutions over 10% to be added to the tank. If in doubt remove a suitable amount of tank water into a bucket and add the concentrated peroxide to reach the final tank limit. I strongly recommend to stay below 2% in favour over additional treatments a few days later if required. That means the diluted solution you add should be entered into the tank slowly if in doubt add a glass full every few minutes. For the treatment of the dreaded black algea you do the same 2% solution but be prepared that it will take several treatment until you see them die off. If you can then it is best relocate the fish for a few days so you can use a stronger solution of 5-8% just with the plants left in the tank. When transporting fish in a bag it can pay off to add a little bit of 3% peroxide to the bag to give additional oxygen for transport. I do this maually for every fish I buy from a store so I can be sure all fungus and bacteris is killed of before I introduce it to my tank. Really helps to prevent loosing a lot of fish just because you added one or two more to your tank ;) For the normal sized transport bags I use a good shot glass full of 3% peroxide in case you wondered. ----- Fridge and freezer Be it after long use or because you bought one second hand - once empty and warm some of our colling gadget just smell bad. A good clean with a hot water and your favourite cleaning agent is a good start, no need for aggressive stuff ;) If clean but still smelly, like after a power failure with fish in it you might want to go one step further. Best option is to use a spray bottle and a peroxide solution of at least 15% here. Use proper protection as mentioned above and spray all surface with the solution until soaked. What you can take out you take you take out, clean properly and then wipe or brush with the same peroxide solution. Bare aluminium should be handled with caution as in some cases it can oxidise badly, leaving a white and not removable crust behind. Here it is best to wipe and then wipe again with a cloth soaked in clear water to limit exposure time. No need to dry out - wipe out and check if it still smells, if so repeat and wiped off all areas as good as you can with a solution soaked cloth. Once the smell is gone dry out and enjoy smell free use from now on :) ----- Fruit and vegetables Unless you know exactly what happened to it you might want to clean your vegies and fruits properly before using them. Pesticides, herbicites, fungicites.... Not mention normal fungus and bacteria on the product.... On a commercial base hydron peroxide baths are often used to clean products for sensible people, hospital use or long term storage. For a personal use this only makes sense if you have free and unlimited access to the peroxide. An alternative are ozone bubblers. Expensive models can eb bought in shops or online, complete with timers or even a gauge showing the concentration in a room. On a hobby level for the kitchen sink we can use an ozone generator, air pump and bubble stone from the aquarium store ;) Let the pump bubble out the ozone for a minute or two, fill the sink with the fruit and veggies and move them around every few minutes. Best of course with an open window to limit you exposure to the ozone! Rule of thumb: If you can smell it is already too much in the air! The ozone in the water does the same as the peroxide: It breaks down harmful things with pure oxygen. The downside is that it is very harmful for your airways and body in general, so against all what youtube can offer I actually prefer to treat my fruit and veggie in a sealed bag. Place them inside, push out as much air as you can and then fill up with the ozone from the generator. Once the bag is full leave for about 30 minutes then wash and use or place the things in the fridge.

Topic by Downunder35m    |  last reply


A couple questions

Hey guys, I want to bug you's again. Instead of trying to ask about different things in one of my other topics, I wanted to start a new one. I went to the local dump today, and one of the first things I spotted was Three, not just one, booster packs. You know, the ones you can charge up and boost a car with, and some of them have inverters built into them so you can run small appliances. Well I snapped all three of them up, thinking that at the very least, the lead acid batteries inside them would be OODLES of help towards making a full scale wind generator (I plan to build one or two full size wind generators with car alternators, whenever the good weather comes and I can work outside). Well, I got them home and cracked them all open. Turns out that only one battery is good to me (pictures below). The two identical units have 350 watt inverters built into them (I've removed one so far), but the batteries were bulging and the sides were split open, although not leaking, which was good, less mess to clean up. The third booster pack I opened appeared to have been already attempted at being opened. 4 of the 6 screws had been drilled out (which is beyond me as far as why they would do it? They were only phillips screws), but maybe they weren't successful? It had a couple wounds of electrical tape around it to hold it together. Needless to say, whatever cutting tool they used, cut into the battery itself (they cut too far in, dumbasses...), and so my main question here is, is the battery safe to charge, and use? I took some macro's of the damage and some of the cut marks seemed to have gone far enough in to cut into what appears to be a white plastic lining inside, as the white crud on the sides of the battery feels more like burnt on plastic from a cutting disc than it does acid that oozed out and dried up, so the damage doesn't appear to be that bad. What's the worst that could happen anyways? Also, the battery has about almost 8v left in it, and another question is, is that too low for a 12v battery? Like has it been discharged too far? Also, aside from the battery. I found this plate with a transformer, giant capacitor, and a pcb that looks like it was some kind of voltage converter board (I would take a picture but I've since cut a few things off of it and I won't even bother now) The transformer puts out 25v and you can see in the pictures what the capacitor is rated for (I would like to know what I can use this capacitor for, or if I should save it and wait till I can make a bank of capacitors for a tesla coil project or something) What I can't figure out, is what is this square device I found that was plugged into one of the output leads of the transformer? It only had two leads coming off of it, one is marked + and one -, the other two terminals don't have marking on it. No model numbers or anything. Does anyone know what this is? Also, last in my pictures is one of the inverter boards I pulled out of one of the power-packs. I cut the second outlet off and wrapped the first one in tape just to make sure I dont' shock the hell out of myself. I have my truck battery sitting inside over the winter, and with a good 12.71v, I thought it would be the perfect battery to try the inverter on. I brushed the wires onto the top terminals of the battery and although I could hear a bit of sparking, I saw nothing and the indicator light on the power switch didn't light. The volt meter also showed nothing from the 120v outlet. So I tried shoving the wires into the bolt sockets that the truck's wires bolt into, and I quite literally startled myself as it emitted a really loud BEEEEEEEEEEP, I nearly jumped through the roof. The indicator light turns on when I flick the switch to I and I can hear the transformer making a little buzzing sound. However, when I measured the AC voltage from the outlet, I didn't write down the voltage, but it was around 3v? Not even quite that much. I'm not sure if the inverter is screwed or if it has something to do with the switching nature of power inverters causing my multi-meter to not read it right? One other thing I will note is that I had to cut the power switch leads to remove it from the case, then re-solder the switch. The switch has 2 black wires and one red, I tried my best to make sure that each black wire went to the terminal on the switch it came from, and I assume if I didn't hook the switch up right, it wouldn't have lighted up or anything right?? I don't want to try plugging something into it for fear that it will blow up in my face, at least not until I know it's functioning like it should be, however I doubt these power packs were throwing out for failure of the inverter... *On the side note* I apologize for these (sometimes) rediculously long posts or just mundane questions. However, I like to be thoughrough with my questions so that there are very little questions asked, about my question, in the first place. As it seems to waste a lot of time asking for details about this or that problem, when you could just throughly explain it all in one go. This is what I try to do, so there are no blank spaces for you guys to try and "assume" where you don't know the proper information. Secondly, I've really appreciated the help, and sometimes just the helpful and creative ideas I hear from others, makes me feel good, like there's actually some people on here that know what they're doing and I can trust their answers (Nacho, kiteman, caitlyn's dad, 1010100100, all of you regulars, have been great help to me) *End of girlish requiem*

Topic by Punkguyta    |  last reply


The more natural way of cleaning things...

At my workplace we basically have a specific cleaner or cleaning product for every task you can think of. From glass over stainless to plastics and desinfectants for lots of different surfaces. After a quick look into my cleaining cabinet at home I started to wonder if I am doing something wrong as I only have a few cleaning things for my use. Asking my friends also showed they have a big bunch of cleaning chemicals, plus the bottle of bleach that everyone down here has. So I though: Your grandma only had a few cleaning products and you learned most of things you need to clean from her. Considering I grew up healthy I guess she must have done something right.... Let's clean up with the cleaning myths, shall we? 1. What cleaning chemicals do you have? For quite a few people the list would start something like this: Dishwashing liquid, window, cleaner, bathroom cleaner, soap scum remover, floor cleaner, oven cleaner, several desinfectants.... If that is true for you too than we might be on to something already. 2. What cleaning chemicals do I really need? This is a good question as everyone is a bit different but I assume a healthy household here. Of course we need certain things to clean our various surfaces properly but it is far less than waht you have been told by the TV commercials.... These days we like to think if there is a special cleaner for something then of course we have to use it to clean properly. Unless you have trades people walking through with their wet dogs several times a day and see dust storms at least twice a week you really only need a few things. So let's get to the basics: 3. Old style cleaning and what you need for it - really the only stuff required to keep all clean and sanitised. a) Methylated spirit b) Clear ammonia - cloudy ammonia works too but be aware that the added soap can be a problem that leaves streakes c) Hydrogen peroxide - pool grade to be cheap in the long run d) Orange oil - citrus oil works great too if you prefer a different smell e) Soap - just basic soap, these stinky, slightly yellow and hard bricks - no fancy smelly soap ;) f) Several cleaning brushes but you should already have those g) Windows cleaning tools - the basic microfibre cloth and squeegee will do h) Several microfibre cloths - bigger ones for floors and walls, smaller for windows and the rest I) Yesterdays newspaper j) Baking soda With those few things we have everything to clean whatever comes up and if bought in bulk comes down to a few cents per bottle compared to a few dollars when you buy all the stuff you don't need. Lets figure out what the stuff does and how to use it: 4. Mixing and what to use it for.... The alcohol is a really good remover for everything greasy and also desinfects the surfaces. A quick spray and wipe on your bench is all that you need to remove oily residue or the mess from the kids. Mixed with a bit of soap and water (about 50-50) also removes sticky stuff like jam or syrup. If we use about 50ml of alcohol, 50ml of clear ammonia and 900ml of water we get one liter of really good window cleaner. The modern way is to use microfibre for the cleaning and a squeegee to get it dry, the old way just uses a cloth and then the window is "polished" with some old newspaper. The black ink reacts with the alcohol and form a mild abrasive while the paper soaks up the moisture, the result is a prefectly clean window in under 3 minutes. Orange oil is not only a powerful degreaser but also lifts old dirt or even glue residue. Used directly it will get rid of the remains from sticky tape, stickers and everything that other cleaners fails to get off - smoth surface and non soaking of course. 50ml of it with 50ml of ammonia and 100ml of alcohol per bucket makes a good florr cleaner and your house smells nice when done. Works best if you can use a microfibre cloth or floor wiper to dry the surface with it. In the kitchen we can find a lot of surfaces that are greasy and we already covered that bit, so lets get to the though stuff. The kitchen sink can become dull looking although it is not scratched. This is due to hard water, food residue, soap and other things. Best is of course to wipe it and dry it after use but who really does this every day? A pot scrubbing pad with some baking soda on it does the trick here. Make the pad nly moist and sprinkle the baking soda on it. Rub over the stainless and if too dry add a few drops of water. Once done rinse off and enjoy the difference. For hard to clean or badly turtured sinks you can try a ball of aluminium foil and coke - use it like a polish. The oven is often our worst nightmare. The cooktop is not far behind. But even here we can have a chance to clean without too much hard work or bad chemicals. Of course the best way is to prevent these spills and boil overs ;) For the cooktop some hot water and baking soda will soften the baked on stuff. Simply remove what you can with the hot water and then sprinkle the surface with baking soda. Cover all with the paper towels and if not wet enough add a bit more hot water so all shets are soaked. Leave ove night and wipe clean the next day. The oven is a bit of a problem once the side and back wall are filthy. If baking soda with a pot scrubber won't do the trick get some of these steel pads with soap in it. The soap in them is special in terms that you only need a little bit of water to remove almost anything with them - and they won't scrath enamelled surfaces. On the bottom we often have badly burnt in things that are next to impossible to fully remove. I suggest to cover the same way as the cooktop but also to add some orange oil. Just make a thick paste of baking soda and orange oil and wrok it into the soiled surface. Cover with wet paper towels and leave over night. Now you don't want to flood your oven, so that means you need to use a sponge or thick cloth that is big enough to wipe off the surfaces you soaked the day before. As the orange oil really is oil it pays off to use some alcohol in the cleaning water to get rid of the oil and grease a bit easier. Don't expect to see a clean and shiny surface after one treatment if the oven was badly misused, you might have to repeat the procedure a few times. If in doubt use the soapy steel pads for last clean and before soaking over night again. Three to four treatments are usually enough to clean even the worst disaster that can happen in an oven unless you baked it in for months... 5. Desinfecting and mouldy spots.... As said, the methylated spirit is basically just pure alcohol and kill almost anything that might harm you. But sometimes that just is not enough. And who really wants to spend an hour or longer to clean some mouldy spots in the shower or try to cover the smell by spraying room freshener? As a lst resort for everything I use Hydrogen Peroxide. The supermarket grade is only 3% and usually badly overpriced, so I suggest to get a small canister of pool grade peroxide. Do yourself a favour and ask them to install a tap on it - you don't want to do it yourself unless you already know how bad pool grade peroxide is! For your own safety when handling it I strongly recommend wearing long rubber gloves, nitrile is better but please no latex as it could start to burn when getting in contact with the peroxide. For high grade desinfecting or the removal of mouldy areas I recommend to dilute 1:5, one part of peroxide to 5 parts of water. Only for the mould removal on tiled, plastic, glass or metal surfaces you can use the peroxide pure from the container - but please add face protection when cleaning! Some spray bottles work with peroxide some just start leaking badly, if you want try an old bottle of chlorine based cleaner after really flushing everything out. The peroxide breaks down any organic material it comes into contact with, so not just the mould you want to remove but also your skin or eyes if you allow contact. On the skin you see white areas after contact and they won't go away until all the oxygen in the skin is gone that was left by the peroxide. If you act too late it means you might loose some skin flakes. The sure sign of overlook exposure on your skin is a burning sensation in the area - this only happens when the amount was big enough or your clothes got soaked. On your surfaces to clean you will notice bubbles forming quite quickly - this mean the peroxide is reacting with something, usually organic material. Let it bubble... Once it stops bubbling the surface is either sterile or the peroxide is used up, if it bubbles when adding fresh peroxide onto it then there is still crap left ;) It really helps to brush off the surface after each treatment as a lot of loose material will be flushed out when rinsing off. Once it looks and smells clean again it usually means it is clean :) 6. Special case: Wood... Be it wooden floorboards, furniture or just your chopping board - always try what the manufacturer recommends first! Untreated wood should never be cleaned with anything wet! Sealed wood, like floorboards or things with varnish on it to make it water proof can be cleaned the same way as mentioned above - but I would leave out the ammonia as some wood treatments simply won't tolerate it and might go dull instead of returning nice and shiny - spot testing required if you think you have to use ammonia as well! Orange oil itself makes a great furniture cleaner if the surface is smooth and sealed, but if it is not it means the oil soaks into the wood together with the stuff you want to clean off! It also takes off several paints and types of varnish if you work it hard enough and give it some time, so avoid this and be quick instead of forgetting to finnish the job ;) Always try to wet the surface as little as possible and wipe fully dry as soon as possible! Ok, good start but what is the real benefit? For me the actual benefit is that I know what I am using and exposing myself to. Just reading what is in most cleaning products we find at the supermarket makes me want to clean again after using them, just to remove their residues... I admit it might take some time to get used to mixing and just having a few ingredients for the cleaning but it does work great. Especially if you or your kids are already sensitive to certain chemicals or just of poor health in general you might see the benefit quite quickly. Some people really don't like the smell of ammonia but unless you are sensitive to it there is nothing to worry when using the household grade as we always dilute it down massively anyway. A good way to avoid the worst stink is by mixing it outside with the wind from behind. I won't say that certain commercial products are bad, harmful or not good enough for the job. Some are actually worth to have in some cases but I just say it is better to only have a hand full of chemicals that are not too bad instead of an endless list of things were we don't even know what's inside. For me the best is your surprise when it actually works better than you expected and report your findings here.

Topic by Downunder35m  


I need some expert mac help!!

Okay, I got a bit of a story, and a bit of a question (Las Vegas, I know you can help me). I've been transfered to a new highschool (not that new to me, I've been to it before) and I've been there for about 3 weeks now. I was given a thinkpad R51 by the school board while I was out of school to use for school work and to take to school. That's all fine and dandy, but the restrictions on their disc image are unbelievable and it makes it next to useless to me other than a gigantic calculator with a shitty battery life. So I wiped it of course, repartitioned it with a 30 and 10 gig partition (respectivly both NTFS, the backup partition, the 10 gig one, is currently in fat32 as I forgot macs can't write to NTFS). So everything works fine, when I got transfered to the school, I asked the so-called "head" techy teacher person of my school for the wep key for the wireless network in my school so I can print my work out in class instead of waiting till I got home (teachers don't like that sometimes). Since I've been to school he's made up excuses like "I know I have the wep key wrote down somewhere, but I know it'll take me like an hour to find it so I can't right now - I've been told that on 4 different occasions on 4 different days. Funny thing is that both he and I know that their wireless isn't actually pure wep mode. It's a wpa enterprise mode of some sort with a required username/password combination to log into it (that's fine though, it'll still work if I have the password). Oh yeah I forgot how I took my ibook to school one day, then the next day (no not the day I was showing him my ibook) he tells me that the wireless will work on my ibook, but not the thinkpad, which, like every other fucking laptop in the school, is a model R51 type 1829 with the odd old R40 laying around. It's excuses after excuses, my mother wanted to call in and give them hell for leading me around but I told her no, I'm curious to see how dumb this teacher thinks I am (and so far I've been playing dumb). NOW he tells me that I need to now, re-image my thinkpad with their school disc image they use on their machines, which I don't have to agree to doing because the laptop didn't come from this school and so it's not theirs. There was absolutely no reason it would not work as I even used the exact same wifi drivers/software and even the same profile management software they use on theirs. Now, I'm almost done but let me explain the last bit of why I'm even posting this lenghty (and possibly waste of time) post. I recently re-reformated as somehow I contracted a nasty trojan downloader onto it, and it was due for a clean up anyways. Well wasn't that a rough ride, since the reinstall I've had to wrestle a video driver onto it, fiddle around with all the other drivers to get them installed, and I still can't get a wifi driver to install. Even if I force install one from the "manual" option when XP asks for drivers (yes XP does have generic Intel Wifi lan drivers for my card) and it wouldn't go, just gave me an error 10 code (device cannot startup). Okay, so the driver isn't compatible? Well Lenovo only has 3 different wifi driver packages for different wifi internal cards for my "one" model/type of laptop (the type "1829" is lenovo's numbering system basically for revisions, and when I went on their site for drivers, it askes me for this, model, and a specific 3 digit number on the bottom (order code I think). So why it can't just tell me the specific card in my revision (as I'm sure there's probably only one card for my revision) is beyond me. I downloaded all three, the first two were just small driver/utility packages (I think they were only 802b drivers too, at least one of them was). When I tried to install them, no luck, first appeared to install it, although the drivers never installed apparently. So I uninstalled what (still) there, and tried the second, same thing, except nothing installed, but it appeared to install. So I went on to the last one, it appeared to be succesful. Not, for some reason, windows could list me all the ap's around here, but couldn't connect to them, or mine, and I know I put the right key in. And when I tried to use Ibm's utilites to connect, it kept crashing, and it was even crashing the wireless zero config windows service thing every time I tried to power on the wifi or such. However I don't even care about windows right now at this particular time or fixing the drivers, for all I know there was a scratch on the install cd and it's botched (very unlikely as I know the install would halt and say it can't read) Now because my teacher has been literally screwing around with me (I'm not assuming here that he's lying to me and making excuses, I know he is because it's just too obvious, you guys tell me). Plan? Install mac os x on the thinkpad and ask him again if it'll work and if he says no, I will probably rip him a new asshole right there on the spot, seeing as he's told me multiple times it will work on my mac, but not the thinkpad, so if I have mac software on there, shouldn't be a problem (hehe). I really want to do this to get back at my teacher because he doesn't believe anything I tell him and he thinks he's pretty smart, just generally another guy with a too-big ego for one person to handle. I downloaded the iAtkos disc image as directed by instructions I found through google (yes, torrent, illegal, don't harp on me for it, jobs makes enough as it is with ipod sales). It's supposed to be pre-patched, and also supposed to include additional driver packages of some kind (that's a plus). And to boot, it's supposed to boot off the dvd (lawl) without any tricks (like usb drives and that smutz). It all seems pretty sweet, and it did boot when I popped it in, but It went to the mac loading screen (the white one with the grey spiny thing) and just sits there with absolutely no activity. I booted it with the -v/-s command(s) and this is what comes up when it stops loading and sits: "Extension "com.apple.driver.ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin" has immediate dependencies on both com.apple.kernel and com.apple.kpi components; use only one style." My understanding is that the plist file might be missing some components the driver is calling for, but the "use only one style" part doesn't make sense so I know it's something else. Although it didn't say, I presume the kernal was already patched as it was supposed to be a pure pop-in-and-go image. I was hoping to try installing the EFI patch after too if I can get it going in the first place. And yes, I did quite a bit of googleing before I came to here. I could find information on R40's with mac os x installed on them (or was it x40?, I know those are newer, the r40's are old) and other models inbetween but nothing on thinkpad. I don't even care if it's fast or works 100%, I just want to do it, I do also know that the atheros chipset in my wifi card is native compatible with tiger apparently and should show up as a standard airport card. I don't know if I'll be amazed or not when I post this finally and see how many pages long it is, but I do really need a hand, because this will be the final step before I go to the VP and tell him that this guy has been screwing around with me and blowing me off. I deserve and education dammit!

Topic by Punkguyta    |  last reply


"Knex War?" (The Math Bit)

Hey guy! Sharir1701 here and I just want to start off by saying that I'm not back into Knex warfare, but I have something to show you. About a year and a half ago, I posted this forum topic. There I explained why, in my opinion, just adding more rubber bands to a gun will not actually produce an overall better gun (past a certain, low point). I'm not getting back into that discussion, but I simply wanted to share something regarding that. Don't ask me how or why (I don't know, myself), but a few days ago I suddenly remembered that old assumption I made. Being a perfectionist, I hate leaving things unfinished or unexplained (particularly math and physics related inquiries). Back when I posted that topic, I had little to no formal Physics knowledge, and the beginnings of an understanding in mathematics. Now, I have a much broader understanding, much more knowledge, and an ability to explain and evaluate what I once couldn't. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, back then, I didn't have the tools to prove my claims. I firmly believed in them, but I couldn't confirm them. It's nothing complicated, but, like I said, just something I'd like to share. I also want to point out that, although I personally don't enjoy spending days upon days perfecting a little plastic mechanism for firing (mostly) non-aerodynamic plastic projectiles, anymore, there still is a warm spot in my heart for the craft I once loved. More to the point - this is a small article just showing something I did in a few minutes the other day, that helps me to better understand how a Knex gun works. I hope that in writing this, more people that are still building guns, will think about more accurately calculating certain things about their guns to help improve their performance and hopefully produce more efficient guns. The final note I have is that I'm about to show you equations, all of which can be plugged with real, measurable numbers, to calculate to a high degree of accuracy, the forces at play. This means you can actually calculate the most efficient layout for a gun, and also that in designing your next, you will be able to use these equations, and many others, to find optimal solutions to your problems. So, what's all this fuss about? Well, basically, I just proved with a few, painfully easy equations that my conjecture about the forces in a gun, working on the pin, is true. I'll just get to it: First, Hooke's Law states that the force necessary to change the length of a spring or a (tense) rubber band is F=K*dX, where F is the force, dX is the distance you want to change, and K is a constant number, that each rubber band (or spring) has. You can quite easily measure both of these. For rubber bands connected parallel to each other (assuming they are the same type of rubber band, which ever is your chosen standard), this equation becomes F=K*dX*N, where N is the number of rubber bands used. dX and K are both constant in the regards of the pull of a pin on a standard Knex pin gun. Therefor, the amount of force required to cock a pin (pull it back to it's full length) is linearly correlated to the number of bands you put on your gun. Next, if we examine Newton's equation of work and energy, W=dE=F*dX, where W is the work, dE is the change in energy in your system (input from an external force, i.e. your hand), F is the force applied along a length of movement, and dX is that length. Let us define the base position of the pin (not cocked, minimum tension on the rubber bands, fully in the barrel, etc.) as having 0 energy. This then means that the work applied to the pin by cocking it is equal to all the potential energy it has. From this, plugging in the force, we get Ep=K*(dX)^2*N. Let us assume a perfect world, where we neglect the effects of friction and air resistance, and assume all the momentum of the pin is transferred into the bullet as it fires (I will briefly mention in the end, why everything we're neglecting here just strengthens my claim in reality, but let's continue for now). After being released (in other words, shot), the maximum velocity the pin reaches right before the end of it's journey can be found using the equation for kinetic energy Ek=1/2*M*(Vmax)^2, using the fact that (again, neglecting energy wasted as heat due to friction) the energy is conserved, as no external force is working on the system, which then means that Ep,start=Ek,end => K*(dX)^2*N=1/2*M*(Vmax)^2 => Vmax = sqrt(2*K*(dX)^2/M) * sqrt(N). The first sqrt term in the final equation is all one big constant (again, K is the ratio associated with the rubber band, dX is the distance the pin travels, and M is the mass of the pin), meaning we can conclude that (C for constant) Vmax=C*sqrt(N). Finally, force applied by a moving, massive object can be calculated using Newton's second law, F=dP/dT (P is the pin's momentum, T is the time it takes for the pin to go from velocity Vmax to 0, transferring all it's energy into the gun and the bullet, but as I said, let us assume all of it goes into the bullet), or F=M*dV/dT (M, mass of the pin, dV is the difference in velocity, Vmax-0, which is simply Vmax. This is because P=M*V, which means dP=M*dV, ignoring relativity). So, F=M*C/dT*sqrt(N). The time varies slightly, but insignificantly, so let us assume it is a constant. So that's it. The force exerted by the pin on the bullet is some constant (calculatable, as mentioned and as shown), times the sqrt of N, the number of rubber bands on the gun. So there you go. Just a little something I did out of the blue the other day and thought I would share a proof of my conjecture from what feels like eons ago. I hope you enjoyed. Finally, I would like to tell you guys, perhaps as a little tease, since I'm not sure if I will ever upload it, but I have made 1 more gun after I stopped posting. I have already slightly teased about it in my user info. I guess I'll tell you guys what it is if I'm already posting something here again :) Possibly my most enjoyable, most well received, and quite innovative gun of all time? The REMPAR-2. I built the REMPAR-3 (I was also going to call it S5 when I thought about posting it). In a brief summary, it's a pump action, chambering (or bolt action as I and many others falsely used to call it), magazine fed rifle, that's only 5 layers thick all over, except one tiny area where it's 8 layers thick (1.5 extra on either side), as a reinforcement, not necessary if you use less rubber bands. Oh, actually, there's another small necessary area where it's 7 layers thick, but it's tiny and doesn't make the gun look bulky at all, and who cares. Plus, the one is around the pump, which looks quite natural, and the other is "disguised" as a detachable sight (not really detachable) that also looks fine. It also looked fairly good for a gun that I made, it used (if I remember correctly) a grand total of 0 broken pieces, which is a big accomplishment for me (the mag has some broken white rods, but fuck off), and it worked flawlessly, reaching ranges over 80ft and being able to go at 2-4 rounds per second, depending on your skill level with it. In other words, I could shoot 4rps; My girlfriend, with no experience or practice, could do 2rps, which says something about the gun's comfortability and ease of use in my opinion. It shot blue rods up to an accuracy of about 5x5cm (2x2in) over 30ft, which is amazing for a Knex gun, and it was truly super comfortable. It wasn't even long at all, which is saying a lot, looking at some other people's attempts at 5-wide pump actions (I may also be guilty of an attempt several years ago). Being quite short and only 5 wide, it is also quite light. I'm sorry, I just really liked this gun, I think it was truly my best creation ever (of course, the S3 is by far the most innovative gun I've made, but it's mostly a concept gun, not meant for real effectiveness). I may post it in the future, but I'll make no promises. I suppose I won't leave you guys completely hanging and take a picture of it. Oh yes, there's also a neat, fun little thing I did, originally because I saw no other option, but then I actually really loved it. I'm talking about the mag-lock. It locks automatically (there's a band on it, but it ripped a long time ago, so...) and the mag cannot fall out. Then you pull on it with your middle finger, similar to a trigger, and the mag just drops right out. Love it :)

Topic by Sharir1701    |  last reply


TEDxBaghdad - Iraq - violence, dust storms and open sourced manufacturing

Baghdad Iraq. It was once the jewel of the Muslim empire and epicenter of knowledge in the Eastern world. Now it is best known for corrupt governance, bombings, and dust storms. It was also my parents’ home. After visiting once in 1991 as a child the few memories I have of Iraq seemed to be shouting matches as my parents yelled over the phone making overseas calls. Names of Uncles I had never met were mentioned and a phone was handed to me and I was left to nervously fend for myself with my weak Iraqi slang and an Uncle who apparently knew all about me while I knew nothing of him. The country was an impenetrable black box to me that would spit out another refugee somewhere in the world every few years or so. Sixteen years later the first wall between Iraq and me was broken. In 2007 my nuclear family had traveled to Syria and for the first time I met family members who still lived in Baghdad. I knew them now. My uncles and cousins grew flesh and blood. I could feel their prickly faces as we greeted with the traditional Iraqi 4 sided cheek kiss. They could graciously give me their dishdashas as gifts. Names finally had faces, but those faces were deep, sunken and afraid. 2007 was a bad year of sectarian war in Iraq, which is why the Damascas district of Harasta was flooded with Iraqis. The sound of construction continued through the night to keep up with the massive (ab)use of the "tourist" visas. I saw something in the Iraqis in Syria that I hadn't seen before; something that scared me. I saw hopelessness. It was then I settled on a long-term project to return to the country and share something that I had just discovered around the same time: the future doesn’t come prepared -- we make the future. The do-it-yourself attitude that was growing in America was being combined with the culture of sharing that you find in hackerspaces, at instructables.com and in open source technology. This atmosphere made anything possible. You want to build a vertical generator without any spinning parts? Sure! How about a walking quadraped robot with a sofa? Do you want to quit your job, write zines and sell them in the crafting circle? Sure! Start a business! Write a novel! Organize a benefit concert! Sure - sure - sure! “Make your own future” was the message. It was a message of hope - it was the message that I wanted to share in the Middle East, and especially in Iraq. In 2011 the opportunity to work on sharing this beautiful message in the Middle East presented itself to me, so I quit my robotics job and took it (sorry Andrew). A few friends and I started a tiny organization called GEMSI - The Global Entrepreneurship and Maker Space Initiative. We funded ourselves through Kickstarter and our first project was a Three-Day Maker Space hosted at Makerfaire Africa. We were hoping to let people experience the feeling of the Maker Movement first-hand. We collaborated with Emeka and the team from MFA, Cairo Hackerspace, along with many amazing egyptians from all over the country. We had a successful first attempt at sharing the message of "Yes you can!” It was a great start, but Iraq was still an impenetrable fortress to me. It took till 2012 and a chance encounter with friends in Cambridge, MA for me to find my first avenue back into Iraq. Via my friends, I met someone who’s friend was affiliated with TEDxBaghdad. A few steps removed, sure, but when I heard about TEDxBaghdad I knew I had found my way in. I knew TEDx and the types of programs they hosted; I knew they were hopeful, inspired, and shared a vision for a brighter tomorrow. I started communicating with Emeka from MFA, who also works with TED, and he put me in touch with Yahay. After my first skype call with Yahay I knew I was going. Someone else had done it - someone broke that barrier, did amazing work in the country, and survived. It wasn't the death trap my family was telling me it was. There was a new narrative being woven and I knew what I needed to do. I booked my flights before I even finalized any workshops. I needed to meet the TEDxBaghdad team. Later, I called my parents and told them I was going to Baghdad and they said, "Shinu?! Inta Makhabal?!" That probably means exactly what you think it does. Needless to say, they had their concerns, but I was going regardless. Now that the tickets were bought, we started planning. Yahay put me in touch with Abdal Ghany, one of the Iraqi organizers living in Baghdad. He coordinated everything. It was amazing. These guys kick some serious planning butt! Ghany basically told me, “Show up and give your workshop. We'll take care of the rest.” This was a welcome change from the hours of facebooking, planning, and coordination I usually have to go through to schedule events. It really seemed like this was possible. I was going to give an Arduino and 3D printing workshop in Baghdad and I was really excited! I sent an email to Sparkfun and Makezine asking them for open source electronics donations since I knew bringing my electronics box through the airport wouldn't be a good idea. They sent me a nice goodie-bag of beautifully packaged Maker products. These two organizations have given me a tremendous amount of help throughout the years, for which I am extremely thankful. I packed a suitcase filled with 2 3D printers, 25 Arduinos, an assortment of other open source hardware and sensors and headed out looking a bit like a bomb development lab. Yeesh! Somehow I made it through China, Saudi, and Turkey without any serious interrogation. Mostly just really quizzical looks from my unzipped bag up back to me... "You're a teacher?" they ask. "Yes," I say, "yes I am." Turkey was the stop before Iraq. Turkey was brilliant, sunny, lush, and seemed to be comprised of mostly happy smiling people walking by the sea. Coming from the deserts of Mecca, this was a welcome sight. I let the green of Turkey wash away the dust of Saudi Arabia. The mishmash of cultures, sounds, foods, religions gave me a great feeling of liberation. This was a lively place and the two hackerspaces I met up with there, Base Istanbul and Istanbul Hackerspace were fantastic hosts. Furkan and I spent a lovely day together chatting about Maker culture as it spreads through the Middle East and then in the end we had a potluck BBQ with members from both hackerspaces by the rocks of the sea. It was great to see these two Turkish hackerspaces and to be reminded that this movement is truly global. My dream of hackerspaces empowering people globally is really possible – and it’s great to know that it is a dream that is shared by others. I left them full of enthusiasm and flew directly to Baghdad. Landing in Baghdad was strange and a bit concerning. Looking out of the window all I could see was a brown cloud. We were landing in a dust storm. I had heard about the turab (dust) of Iraq, but this was the first time I saw it in person, and it would be one of the things most often on my mind. Getting a visa for me was surprisingly easy, except for the fact I forgot my passport on the plane and two guards had to escort me one to each side back to the airplane to retrieve it. But once I had my passport, I told them my laqab, which is the full name that includes ancestry. Showed them a copy of my dad’s passport and my Iraqi birth certificate and I was in. I was hoping for a nice stamp, perhaps with some Iraqi relic on it. But they took my passport and wrote in it: "Originally Iraqi", so there it goes, it's official. Ahmed, my cousin, was not at the airport when I took my paper work and headed out to the lobby. The airport was sparsely populated and heavily regulated. I barely managed to snap a picture before a guard came up to me and had me delete them from my phone. In the lobby I met a man just released from a Swiss prison. The Swiss had given him the option to be sent back home to Iraq, or be jailed. He chose to leave and come back to Iraq. This becomes a theme later as I see more and more people, all of whom desire to leave the country to become refugees elsewhere. It seems that when hope runs out for the country you live in, the only option is to find a new one. This story is one of a million various stories of struggling to find a new life. Each varies in its details, but all have survival at their core. Ahmed arrives 30 minutes late, apologizing. He's wearing jeans and a polo. His hair seemed freshly cut and his face was serious. We had never met before. The only thing I knew of him was that he thought I was reckless for coming. He had been spending hours on Skype with me attempting to convince me that coming would be a bad idea: "You have no idea how bad the bugs are. Just wait till you see the dust storms. The heat will kill you... etc" But once I saw him in person it all changed. I didn't think I'd grow to like Ahmed, but I grew to appreciate his ways and he became like a brother to me before I left. He took me to Mansour, a neighborhood in Baghdad, telling me stories about Iraq as we travelled. This is the neighborhood where the house my dad designed and family built stands. On the ride home we had our car checked for bombs at least 4 times by what Iraqi's call Saytarat, which is the equivalent of a checkpoint and, to me, seemed a total nuciance. They were the reason he was late. What would normally be a 20 minute drive can become three hours long because every car is checked for bombs. They are everywhere; throughout the city, on every road. We passed the guard who watches over my family’s neighborhood, and he takes his hand off his machine gun to wave at Ahmed, and I begin to recognize that weapons, car inspections and burned out cars are normal here, so they don't think to comment on it - like an empty lot in Detroit, or the homeless in San Francisco. We got to my family home with no time to rest. I had to leave to meet up with Abdul Ghany and the crew at a Cafe in an hour and then conduct the workshop in two. Ahmed comes with me - he doesn't trust people we'd never met before and won’t let me out of his sight. I trust first till proven otherwise, he has learned to do the opposite. It’s a telling sign of how different our lives are on a day-to-day basis. As soon as I met the TEDxBaghdad crew, I felt at ease. MNA, Abdul Ghany and the entire crew were thoughtful, hardworking, and inspiring people. I was really happy to have intersected with them and they helped me in more ways than I could count. We first met up at Everyday, a local Mansour café. Everyday cafe was hyper airconditioned and everyone seemed to think it was hotter than it was. The crew was awesome, they were really a great first introduction to the excited young people of Baghdad and they certainly have the famed Iraqi hospitality. But here's a tip: do not order a fajita in Baghdad ;D. Mohammed Al-Samarraie pulled out their iPads and started showing me video production work he was doing for TEDx. Abdul Ghany comes a little late and we have head out to the workshop. The workshop was held in a two story office building surrounded by palm trees. Looking out the the tinted back window we could see the muddy river run past, winding and dark. Slowly the TEDx people started trickling in. Then I started to get nervous. The checkpoints didn't bother me, the tanks in the streets were not an issue, but here were these people coming to learn something from me. What could I share that would really matter to them when they had so much to deal with daily? What could I share that could be relevant to people who see bombings as I experience lightning storms? I have been to other places in the world to share this kind of information, and some of those places have had political problems and ongoing revolutions. But Iraq was the first country I had been to that really seemed like a war zone. I decided that first I needed to learn from them! What were their projects? What did they hope for? I hoped they would learn from each other and get excited about their projects and I wanted to be able to share things that were relevant to them. Thus, everyone was encouraged to talk about who they are, how they learned about TEDxBaghdad and to share their project, share with us their mission, or share an inspiring story. I was amazed to hear about all the incredible initiatives the crew was doing. From intercultural exchange programs, to street clean ups, to historical artifact preservation, each of them shared and I started realizing something. They were not as interested in new technology as they were interested in arts and culture and after hearing about a few of their projects I started realizing why. Learning about culture and paying attention to the arts gives people the ability to pay attention to details. They can look at another human being and see all the subtleties that make us who we are. We each fall in love, we struggle, we question, and have doubts. Arts give depth to a black and white world. Sectarianism is difficult when we pay attention to the commonalities that tie us all together. What would the world be like if anyone who wanted a weapons license was required to have visited India, could pass an art history exam and could play stairway to heaven on the guitar? We were in a sort of office building near the river which ran by dark and muddy looking through the tinted windows. One by one, they stood up in front and gave their short presentations. There were doctors, engineers, and designers in the crew. They each stood up and told the story of how they found out about TEDxBaghdad and it was incredible. Each of them had a friend recommend it to them, and it was mostly done through Facebook. Some people's projects were related to health, culture, antiquity preservation, and connecting Iraqis with the rest of the world. While they spoke I made a graph of the things that connected all of their ideas together. It was a beautiful thing to see. The common themes were to help Iraq as a country through the integration of new ideas and how to bring a new face of Iraq and present it to the world. To have the news about Iraq be about amazing things, inspiring things, rather than explosions. Being in that room with that energy made me feel like we were already on our way. I pulled out the boxes of donations given to us by Sparkfun and The Make Shed and now it was my turn. I told them about my story coming into contact with my friend Alex through instructables.com, how being in San Francisco and Cambridge opened my eyes to a new way of entrepreneurship using communities and open source technology. And how they could make anything they could imagine if they got together to do it. We discussed how sharing and collaboration was a common value that held the entire system together. I used the concept of the LED throwie, which is a simple idea by Graffiti Research Labs to connect an LED to a coin battery and a magnet. They used it to throw at ferrous buildings as a form of electronic graffiti but once they uploaded it to instructables the idea was out there and people were inspired to take it and derive many other projects. You can never know what will happen when you share something or when you create a tool and share it. People created outlined throwies, LED floaties in balloons and finally we start seeing LED floaties which are sequenced to act like a light show at a phish concert. Hahaha! We then talked about the Arduino an easy to use microcontroller designed for artists. It's a bit of technology that is a simple and easy to use platform to build interactive projects. We talked about how the open nature of the project people can use the Arduino and then use shields to add features like being able to connect to the internet or play MP3s. Open source tools make building new products a lot like using legos. We were in the middle of using some of the sensors The Maker Shed had sent us to make a DIY heart rate monitor when the power went out and all went dark except for the LED throwies we had made. It suddenly felt very intimate. We put all the LED throwies in the center of the room and huddled around it for story time. The feeling of connection was palpable for me. Sure the lack of power meant that we were not going to be able to 3D print, but being in the dark with TEDxBaghdad was one of my favorite memories of this trip. The lights went on and we had a long question and answer session / photo shoot. Some of the doctors were interested to use the Arduino based heart rate monitors to replace the broken ones in the hospital. I heard about this and was flabbergast that the most basic and cheap tools I had brought with me might have a direct impact and may even save lives. Technology might not solve the political problems of the country but it seems that there was a lot of room for development and that the crew I was with was creative and excited to make use of it. I passed out 20 Arduino kits that day, including the Lillypad which is a version of the Arduino intended to be sewn into clothing. Although there were very few engineers in the audience, everyone seemed to be buzzing with ideas and ways to use the Arduinos. What a great workshop! I was super excited because not only had they understood the message, they seem to have been infected with the feeling of capability! Now to seal the deal, we were all going to go out and eat a classic Iraqi dish Simach Masguf. Ahmed has been calling me hourly making sure that I was OK, but I felt safe enough with my new friends so we all headed out to a fish spot by the river. Hours go by, lots of fish is eaten, and lots of juice is drunk. Some of the crew smoke some sheesha. It was like I was with new old friends. My Iraqi slang was improving hourly and although we had just met I knew me and TEDxBaghdad we're going to be working together again very soon. I would have stayed all night eating and chatting about future projects and the problems to solve in Iraq, but the cerfew was about to set in and we had to jet. Yeah, there is still a curfew. On the ride home my head is filled with contradictions. Hope and confusion mix in my head as my family rings 4 more times. I get home safe and decide that the only way to deal with the complicated situation in Iraq was to act with irrational hope and optimism. That's the way TEDxBaghdad seemed to work. And that's going to be mine as well. The next day there were five explosions in Baghdad so TEDxBaghdad and I decided against going out to the Iraqi National Museum even though we had to request permission to go. We meet instead back at Everyday and there we solidify our commitment to working for a more beautiful Baghdad and a country which will become a producing nation once again. Sharing with the world it's art, science and literature like it once did years ago. +BG

Topic by lamedust    |  last reply


The little moonshiner....

Found an old topic that someone reactivated with a reply, so I though I do a new one to make it easier. "Moonshine" can be as tasty as any good spirit from the shops. I have done a few liters back in my days... There are a few things to consider right from the start though. What type of sugar is used, e.g. fruits, corn, wheat, potatoes or plain sugar and water. Equally important is the yeast, some prefer natural fermantation, others use baker's yeast, most prefer dedicated yeasts for wine. Even the water used plays a role in the final taste!Hygine is another thing that many people overlook or neglect. Anything that can grow in a warm and sweet enviroment will grow rapidly! That means if your yeast is not good or fast enough, other cultures can take over and sometimes totally change the outcome and quality. In some cases, like with fruits to the better but usually to the worse. Imagine you want to bake a nice cake with vanilla in it. But since your vanilla stick is already quite old and you stored it together with your garden herbs in one jar.... You get the idea of taste I hope ;) Just go from start to finnish like you would prepare chicken meat together with fish - keep it clean, keep it healthy.The still.... Now, if you trust some old blokes doing moonshine since they were kids then it all sounds so easy. But for the hobby brewer there are now tons of options available. Basic pot stills you can put on your stove, electric ones that are basically just an electric boiler with a cooling tube, tower models with several levels of control or the good old "reflux" still in copper. Why is it important to know your way around stills? Again, if you ask a cook then he will tell you why he uses a certain pot for certain dishes or why he won't work with certain materials. Sometimes it is for taste or ease of handling, often just preference. Lets check the main differences in material. We have the modern stainless steel and the classic copper. Stainless steel is easy to clean, won't affect the taste and won't cause any chemical reactions that would alter the taste of your product. That is true only if you trust the manufacturers ;) To compensate for the problems I will explain in a bit they use all sorts of gadgets. I call them brewing helpers and explain them in a bit. Copper on the other hand is now quite expensive and also deemed to be a pain to clean and sanitise. To be honest: how hard it is to clean a still only depends on the design. If you can seperate it into nice straight pieces with good access you can clean anything. But copper was and still is the prefered option for drinking vessels and cookware in a lot of cultures - and it is coming back into our kitchens now as well. Why is that then? Copper has natural sanitising abilities but also reacts with a lot of chemicals. And since copper is considered to be a "good" metal, these reactions usually happen only directly on the copper. Meaning all reaction products stay on the copper as well. Work with fruits or potatoes and a copper still can look dark black and really ugly when done. Do the same in a steel still and then compare the taste ;) Copper produces a far better taste! Especially sufur based compounds react strongly with the copper but also anything causing bad smells or tastes is reduced big time. To flux, reflux not not to flux at all!? A basic still heats the mesh to a set temperature, a cooling coil or similar lets the steam condensate and the alcohol (and everything else) drips out. More complex models have a more tower like appearance and with that allow for a better temperature control. Here the steam will cool down in the tower and at the right height you have the outlet. Brings a much more refined product. The best is still the reflux still however. Here the steam is allowed to travel further and cool down completely. Only a fraction is allowed to come out while the rest runs back down into the heated pot. From first to last model the quality, taste and purity improve. Lets take a closer look on what actually happens inside a still:Once the mix is hot enough that something can turn into a vapor or gas form it will try to escape. That is why we usually discard the first "head" coming out - it contains the most methanol for starters but also the worst of tastes. Again more on heads and tails later ;)In a simple still all steam produced is now turned back into a liquid.One reason why the alcohol concentrations is quite low, around 40%.But also the reason for the low quality taste that can happen.Even with a generous amount of head removed literally everything that is in the opt ends up in the spirit.A good temperature control is a must have and the less deviation the better.And as with all pots running low, once you are low enough all impurities left in your mesh will be concentrated.If the bottom now gets too hot they release unwanted tastes...We skip the tower models and go right to the reflux as the later is just better and includes all there is to say about the tower models anyway.At least on a hobby level a reflux still already starts with a quite tall boiling vessel.It just allows a better and more evenly heating of the mesh inside.While the bottom part is hotter than the top currents form that constantly mix what is inside.The heat is controlled so there is no real boiling, in the best option so that no part of the pot will go over 85° C.When all is hot enough so the first alcohol could run out the system is actually still closed.All vapour has to run back down the tower - which is why some towers even come with cooling fins...As a result all things with a low boiling point will stay in the tower as vapor and once the still is opened they come out first.The heads can be much smaller then too ;)Since the outlet is set at a suitable height and is naturally cooler than the steam, a lot of steam will condense above the outlet.Much more below it and only a fraction is collected to run to the outlet.That means that once the system has reached stable temps throughout that the tower is filled with ethanol vapour only.And since it is constantly re-boiled and runs back down and up all that comes out is already at quite high concentrations.With a good setup as high as 95% vol.It also means that you can have a great level of control about what exactly ends in your ethanol.Depending on how high the outlet is located a different amount of things that can either bond with ethanol or have a similar boiling temperature will be collected.Sole reason why most simple pot stills are designed to work with sugar and clean water only...When working with fruits as a base you often want quite a lot of the flavours and tastes preserved.Only experience and trying will get you tot he sweet spot where the alcohol content is just right and all wanted flavours are included.Go too high with your quality and the alcohol is too pure, go too low and the taste is bad...Which of course brings us back to why you should take your time before the cooking starts!I know far too many people who have no patience when it comes to the end of fermantation.Some yeast might be still active, far too much sugar left over in the mesh or just not enough care in general...You want most if not all of the sugar gone and used.What is not dead in terms of yeast needs to be dormant due to the alcohol concentration.And that can be the tricky part already!You see, once yeast dies off quickly due to the alcohol only the strong survive.In some cases, especially if you re-use your leftovers often, these few can still be active at over 20% of alcohol volume in the mix.The best option is to have a spare fridge and to put the entire container or drum in there.Let it sit cold for a few days, the yeast goes dormant, all sediments settly down to the bottom as no CO2 is produced anymore.Once all is really nice and clear use a hose or similar to remove the clear content only!Be careful here and once the levels are low use a seperate container to drain off!Take out what you can and if in doubt let what you take settle again for a day or two.Doing this time consuming step will make sure you only boil up what brings you the good stuff.On the other hand, when using potatoes, fruits or such you might have to press the liquid out and and add that to what you drained off already.I prefer to do this first and just put it back into the big drum again to let it all settle together.Ok, you only use sugar anyway but what comes out just does not taste or smell right...Would also mean you only use a basic still...As mentioned before the heads are what contains all the nasties.There are ways to actually measure if there is methanol present but for what we do now this is not so important.When the dripping start use shot glasses or such to catch it.Preferably while watching it ;)Smell what it is the glass when you put the next one under.The first glass should smell quite bad anyways.Quickly the smell in the glasses will change to something more "pure" and alcohol like - now start collecting for use.With a simple but good controlled still you will see the flow increases and levels out at some point.When the volume starts to go down your tails start.It is good practise to now use a seperate collecting vessel for the rest until what comes to fully discard.At some point you will notice the difference between just enough and really good temperature control.In a really good system the flow will go down to a slow drip or even stop.While in a dirt simple one the flow will just slow down for a while and then suddenly start running again.This running happens when the remainig water starts boiling...Keep smelling what comes out and once the taste or smell changes noticably again use a different container to collet what comes out. - This is you first tail collection.What comes out until the smell and taste go bad is your second tail collection - now you can turn your still off for a while.Let all what you collected cool down to room temperature is not already.Check what you collected from the heads, helps to have small jars for this ;)From start to last the smell should get better.If the last two or three collections smeel somehow interesting then add them to your main collection.Smell the first tail collection again - it should not be that bad anymore, especially if you let it cool down slightly open.Especially when working with fruits you might to add quite a bit of this to your main collection.If only sugar was used just move on to the last tail collection.In case you still don't like the smell mix the tail collection together and keep in a seperate and sealed vessel.Those tail collections can then later be used to destill them again (with more tails from other runs) to get a decent cleaning alcohol or something that might still be worth adding in small amounts for a better overall taste.However for sugar only mixes it can be considered to be for cleaning purposes only.What you have now is little waste and a lot of almost good alcohol.It still contains more or less amounts of unwanted things that mainly come from the yeast and their by-products.To "clean" you alcohol the best option is to destill it again - it will also increase the concentration quite a bit.Best option here is to use properly filtered and prefeably demineralised water to get back to a full fill of the still.If your still is quite small and what you collected would make for one or two full fills then go for it.Be warned though that you should not fill it up to the full mark, a bit under is better as the mix now will boil far quicker and more violent.Personally I prefer to have the alcohol conectration in the still at around 205% only.As we already discarded the worst of the worst in the heads during our first run only a tiny amount, like half a shot glass should be too bad in terms of taste and smell.Whatever comes after shall be fine.Again, once the tails start try to be carefull and if you can slow things down a notch.You will see a quite destinct reduction in the flow rate once the tails start - use a new container right away.The alcohol concentration should now drop quickly too as another indicator.If you want just pure tasting alcohol add what you comes out from this point to your tails container for later use as you don't want to drink it.Again, for fruits and potatoes you might want to keep the first bit of the collected tails.You alcohol concentration should now be already over 75% even if a basic still was used.The overall volume you collected will be lower accordingly of course - so don't be too disappointed by the liters you got from the second run.In a perfect world you now would use some nice barrel and let your creation age...But since we do moonshine...There is a chance that even after two runs you still taste and smell things you don't want or like.So if in doubt do it all again and get to 90 or more percent...Either way the final stuff should be now either watered down (filtered and clean of course) to the desired level.How to further improve on the outcome....There are little helpers along the way to get far bette results than without using them.If you check ready to go kits then they often contain specialised yest strains, a carbon mix and some "clearing aids".The yeast part is obvious, although I do prefer life prt wine yeast anyway.Carbon or activated charcoal is used to bind some of the bad odors and tastes the yeast produces.Keep in mind they are designed to work together, unlike using proper wine making cultures.Using power yeasts without carbon always results in a low quality.The clearing aids actually change the acidity levels and cause some things to mineralise or otherwise change so they settle to the ground.But they mainly make sure the yeast is dead.If you only use sugar then these kits are your easiest option and just follow their instructions.For fruits or anything else however you might want to try the slow route and use actual wine making yeasts for a change ;)And of course here we do not use carbon at all as we actually want to keep the taste of waht we use.We already had the proper way of getting the mesh to settle down, so that bit is clear.For sugar only you can now try to run your creation through activated charcaol or just add it and mix it.Let it sit and mix again for a few days.You do not need to filter the black stuff out, just drain it carefully and run the last bit through a coffee filter.Nothing will end in your destilled product.Inside the still you can use ceramic bioling thingies of all sorts.They provide a surface for water or mix to boil on instead of just the bottom.If you can't them for a good price then just use the stuff for aquarium filters ;)As said earlier too, copper is good but most modern stills are made from steel.If you can't find any copper wool pot cleaners you can cut some plumbing pipe into small sections.Inside the boiling vessel they will quickly turn brownish black while collecting bad things.Cleaning is easy with some cirtic acid/delimer/coffee machine cleaner...For a tower or reflux still it really helps to have these copper pads or wool inside for a far greater surface area to aid condensation and slow down the run off.I know how hard it is to get the stuff these days so if no other option use stainless steel ones and only loose the benefit of more cleaning through chemical reactions.Tools that come in handy....Monitoring the sugar and alcohol level to know when the mesh is right is quite obvious.What might not be is that you can correct bad level towards the end of fermentation.Yeast already dying slowly but far too much sugar left? Just add luke warm water to lover the alcohol conectration...Yeast going dormant with low alcohol levels? The sugar might be out so chack and if in doubt add some more.A good stir will help the remaining yeast to get more active in a day or two.So these little glass measuring tools should be put to good use from the start.During the destillation a purpose made overflow pipe to hold your alcohol tester is extremly helpful!The destilled liquid goes in through a pipe or hose at the bottom of the pipe.The bottom is closed, the top open to allow to drop the alcohol tester inside.Overflow or outlet should be just under the rim.During your run you can now see directly how the alcohol content changes.It will stabilse once the heads are finnished and get a slight rise just before it drops during the tails section.Improving basic desing of a basic still...Once you are done with a dead simple pot still and buy a reflux or tower model you might wonder why you did not build one yourself.What looked good on the pics and in the shop turns out to be still a bit away from perfect.The outlet might not have any flow control or is located to low/high.The vital overpressure protection might be missing and the thing sometimes runs out like a garden hose...For the later you can slavage some old pressure cooker and use the weight with the screw in counterpart in the lid ;)A simple hole in the top with flat weight on it works too, I used an old rubber plug from my bathtub one (could not find the purpose made one in time).For the outlet you can cheat a bit ;)Wrapping the tower with some insulating material improves on the heat loss - this helps if the still struggles to heat enough to provide a proper flow rate.Cooling the tower with wet towels, running water or similar well help on hot days or if the outlet is located reall high with little chance to provide decent condensation in the lower parts.How to cheat with the barrel....No matter if you just run with sugar or if you prefern corn, wheat, fruits....For some spirits good taste means good age.And well, good age for commercial spirits usually happens by resting in wooden drums.Oak, white oak, red gum and several other types of wood are used.Some small destilleries even use only locally available wood and won't even tell you which tree it was...Means we have a few chocices if we don't want to stick to the well known classics.But how do we make a barrel ?A good one is not just made from any old wood - the wood needs to be of the right age and moisture.To keep it simple just treat it like your firewood and let it rest for the same time.A good barrel is often "charred" - burnt with a flame or by rolling it with burning charcoal inside.This does two imortant things:1: It provides charcoal to bind remaining bad stuff.2: It releases some sugars from the wood plus resins and othe stuff.Both are an essential part of the final product and aging process!Now it becomes clear why a good sprit cost more than vodka...Using a neutral vessel like glass to age your spirit is one thing, preparing the wood the right way another...You see, size matters here in several ways.Big chunks provide a decent surface are without causing too much debris.The also provide more tannins for the color and more resins and sugar.Smaller chunks provide more charcaol for a higher level or binding impurities.But both will soak up far more alcohol than the correspong barrel size would!Obviously, if you are on a small scale on only got about 5 liters of alcohol to deal with loosing much is bad.The best way to char the wood IMHO is inside a clsed can or steel box.Just a small vent hole and a lot of turning with the right eye for when the wood is charred enough to be black and sealed.Opinions vary here but I use about a cup full of wood per 5 liters of alcohol at around 93% vol.Some goes for the storage, apart from dark some can't really agree here.Tossing and turning is as much prefered as undisturbed resting - take your own pick.The thig I do differently after the filtering off is to re-use the wood that is soaked.It goes into a freezer bag until the next run of the still and then the frozen wood is just added to the second still run to get back the alcohol in it, plus some nice taste and smell :)

Topic by Downunder35m  


Is my book good ?

Well i hate to bother anyone but can you please take some time to read this book i worked hard on ? i spent  countless hours of my free time over the weekend developing the plot and creatures so can you please take some time out to read the whole thing tell me what it needs or what would be good i already am 16 pages into the sequel so tell me if this is good so i can post the sequel ! enjoy Times come by Alby Chapter 1- beginning It was the night I would never forget,the night.......i....the......the last night I would enjoy life. It was spring of 2017 the night air was heavy in my lungs and you could faintly smell the BBQ and charcoal smoke from cookouts that died down hours ago I could here people talking and having a good time but I think my drink I grabbed the wrong beer it was Sarah's it was spiked I never would have noticed who did it at least it wasn't her to drink it. I simply enjoyed the sky line of Chicago filled with sky scrapers and mirror like office buildings it all seemed like a Bokeh picture to me the drug is taking affect on my body I feel dizzy . I hopped on the train, it was empty as for the weather gave a good reason to walk but I needed to get home safely. In about 30 minutes I was home. I clumsily walked up the stairs and almost fell it took about ten minutes before I opened the door, I then plopped down on my bed and ran to the bathroom and regurgitated everything I ate that night. i starred at the ceiling. I saw every detail to the nearest centimeter and then blurry the specks the marks swirled in my vision and I felt weightless for a while. I starred at the clock and noticed it was about 4:00 am and cursed myself for going to that bar with Sarah I threw up all over my bed. I tried to grab the phone to call the paramedics but I fell and hit my head on my night stand. I passed out from the concussion i fell into a deep sleep a very deep sleep. Chapter 2 Change I wiped the crust out of my eyes and felt my head a sharp pain rippled thru my scalp it was a Gash about two inches in length. i walked into the bathroom I pulled the faucet but all that came out was a wisp of air. I snatched a baby wipe and cleaned off my face I cleaned my wound with alcohol the sting ive gotten used to I used to get hurt pretty bad in the army, I got shrapnel in my knee and they sent me home the first year. I noticed a dead silence on the street I thought they probably closed it off for some type of repair. I put on my white tee shirt and noticed its softness and how it fit snug on my semi-muscular figure I was in good shape for a twenty-four year old, my mom would always tell me most of the people in America are fat but I guess she loves to tell stereotypes for what they are. I put on my jeans and not forgetting the belt this time either. I snatched my keys off the kitchen counter and headed for the door. I walked outside and paused too look at the empty streets filled with litter and carnage . My mouth wide open in amazement I asked myself what happened and pondered the different reasons riot,panic,fire what could cause such a mess, I walked towards a police squad car and smelled something rancid I slowly proceeded, I instantly veered back in panic I could not believe what I saw a dead police officer lying face down with half a chunk blown clean off his head. There were pieces of it every where splattered on the windshield and door of the police car and some on the concrete. I instinctively inched towards him and thought to myself that something bad is happening and I need protection. I unhooked his holster off his waist and placed it on mine I pulled off his Kevlar vest and put it on weirdly enough it barely was messy or smelled bad. I checked the pockets of the vest and took out a pair of keys I knew it belonged to his squad car. I first popped open the trunk and saw it glistening in the sun a Ar-15 assault rifle. I picked it up and the memories of my army training it just instantly popped into my mind. I guess it applied the same here, I slung it around my back and walked into the silence. I took out the pistol put in the clip pulled the slide back and switched the safety off and cautiously held it. I believe the gun made me more nervous than whats in the shadows, I walked down the narrow street and saw it the skyline of the city filled with smoke and fire. I stood in anger and confusion my home town ravaged broken and charred blood stained the streets and walls, but why.....why....how could this... I mean what could....d..do such a thing. I walked away in the opposite direction and then cut into an alley way to piss and paused as I heard a roar I looked up and saw a quick glance of the belly of a apache attack craft it quickly zoom by and then another. I looked away and ran out of the alley and then down the street to see what direction they were heading. They sped towards the lake area and then I saw a tiny black object fall horizontally from the choppers belly and it slowly fell, then a explosion. I could feel the vibrations. the explosion ripped the lake area into nothing....nothing..but....but...smoke. My heart skipped a few beats thinking what if the next one falls in this area I quickly broke my daydream and bolted as fast as I could as far as I could until I saw a woman crawling on the concrete she was Moaning and holding her stomach. I came up behind her and asked for help. She turned on her back “ Sarah? Ohh my god sarah are you okay ?” and she held a gun in her hand a Glock 22 model the slide locked all the way back and no clip in the gun. I kicked it out of her and and sprung on her she begged for mercy “albert you have to stay away from me im turning” she saw that I was armed and quickly told me the gun was unloaded and that she was sorry she told me she would do anything just get away from her . I told her “Im not here to hurt anyone I just want to help” I starred at her beautiful figure her perfect face and thin hourglass body but ragged cloths and red eyes from crying. How and what did she go thru that could turn her into such a wreck. She got up and put her arm around my shoulder kissed me on the cheek and passed out. I dragged her to an fenced off alley where there was a mattress I put her down and sat next to her .she hugged me and began to cry she than jumped on top of me “Sarah what are you doing no we cant do this now no!” I told her I will help her but I dont think she understood a word I said. She looked at me in my eyes I could feel her touch my soul, her blue eyes glared in the sun. “i dont want to die alone please” I stood up nervously, I was concerned for her health when suddenly I heard a bang then felt a sharp pain in my leg. I collapsed in agony and saw the cause of my pain a bean bag round I looked up and saw a gas mask wearing figure he shot me with another bean bag round in the knee, from his shot gun he then walked over my numb body and. picked up both bean bag's and threw it aside two people in hazmat gear grabbed Sarah and took off her clothing I screamed “what are you doing to her!!!” they did not acknowledge me they looked at her body like they where searching for something. Her passed out figure limp as a rag doll they removed her pants then her underwear I screamed “No!! you son of a bitch don't do it ill kill you” they studied a bite mark on her upper thigh they made some type of hand signal and left. the soldiers then they came and started pouring gasoline on the mattress and her body. the one with the kriss super V took his cigarette out of his mouth and then flicked it at her it rolled of of her shapely belly and hit the mattress her body bursted into flames and she spasmed and kicked wildly. Then the man pointed it me and said in a British accent “ knock that fuckin Yankee an put em in da ACP double time, thoes hungry bastards are comin” Chapter 3 world gone mad I awoke on a bed in clean clothes and a hair cut. I stood up and walked into the hallway and noticed that this was a hospital. Suddenly a hand grabbed me. “aey where do you think your going ya damn runner rapist” I starred at him & his arrogant look and heavily customized ACR bushmaster. “get the fuck away from me im leaving what ever the hell this place is” he then sprung up and pushed the barrel of his ACR into my neck. “look if you want to get devoured by those runners be my guest buddy but dont go exposing this place to the infection” I looked at him like he was retarded “infection what infection and why the hell is the army bombing populated areas” he looked at me the same way. “ where were you 2 days ago ? There was a virus it was originally H1N1 but it evolved up to 10 times now its got Chicago by the balls and its spreading across the world as we speak turning everyone into animals devouring and ripping people to shreds and then the virus takes over the dead body and brings it back as a runner also know as a fresh undead body that has the ability to run or sometimes sprint god forbid but after 2-4 weeks without food the tissue breaks down from constant use without fuel and they start to get slow and shuffle around” my mind felt overwhelmed I wondered how my parents were doing in Dallas. “so what am I supped to do here but be a waste of space” he grinned. “well you obviously know how to use a weapon and our records say you have been in the military. you cant take care of yourself out there so we will make you part of out kill squad. “kill squad ?” “ohh shit you mean you have never killed or seen any infected yet ? that means your fresh you can be put to good use in our kill team” he told me his name was henry the specialist of his team kill team Charlie-mike. He directed me to the staff sergeant who looked at me and said “well well well we got some fresh meat hope you ready for 3 months of hard core trainin cuz this wont be easy now get yo ass in the garage and clean every APC tire the armory I think the kill teams ran over a little too much runners” 3 Months later........ the training was more rigorous than the basic military stuff a the armory where there was at least a 100 others conversing and grabbing into boxes of gear. Henry took me to the gunny of the armory where he helped me choose my gear. I picked up dragon skin Kevlar with implanted ceramic & alloy inserts. I took some gloves which I cut the fingers of. My boots where the basic digital camo color probably a left over from the war in Iraq which ended several years ago when our president simply drew the troops out. And European troops and some Russians finished off the big time terrorists soon after we heard no more from any our genocidal efforts finally payed off. I went to the weapon stand where I had to fill out a ID sheet to make sure they knew I had training with combat rifles. I chose the ACR which was in stock by the thousands as a gift from the weapon companies to the American army. I pulled all the safety clips and then grabbed a eotech scope out of a box and locked it onto the rail system of the weapon. I attached a mag pull the every one of my carbon strength reinforced clips. The gunny looked at me with a grin and we left for briefing. Chapter 4 things get messy we met up in the garage of the hospital every runner hunter of this kill force a total of 300 men and women in the huge elevated parking complex of the hospital, a general arrived in the elevator his chrome glasses shined in the evening light so did the many badges pinned on his suit which fit his old figure rather awkwardly. he had two formally dressed men with him they both had desert eagles on there side holsters but the general had a FN 2000 slung around his back. it was worn and scratched its polymer body was embedded with and insignia that I did not see so well as it was obscured by the scuffs and grime he looked at us and smiled his mouth opened and he flung his cigar off the ledge of the building he then begun and explained in a dominant voice. “there are 40 spec op Humvee's set up in formation ready to patrol the streets of Chicago you all will be in sector 6 the most dangerous sector of Chicago but no need to worry we have full fledged firepower of 4 APC's which will Carrie your kill team to your objectives take as much time as needed the runners arent going any where. you will clear the sears tower area a hot spot for runners. look all you men and woman, its time to revolt and fight back. its time to say we will not be scared, we will not be intimidated, we will win back our freedom!!” the whole complex light up with cheer. As the two men in formal wear took out PDA's and started directing people to there kill teams the first man shouted “ Chavez,Williams,buck, and,Samson go to APC #1” I quickly advanced thru the crowd to APC 1 I slowed my pace and saw its matte paint job of digital camo and its pop up dillan machine gun turret mounted on top. I pounded on its steel behind and its back door unlatched I stood waiting for the rest of my team I saw all three walking in a line towards the door I saw him ,the man with the kriss super V he smiled at me and said “no fuckin way you tha yankee we picked up in tha alley way you mad cus we killed your little runner girlfriend” I sprung towards him and grabbed his collar and punched him in the stomach then elbowed him in the mouth all the color drained out of his face. “ if you wouldn't of shot me with a fucking bean bag I would of blown your brains out back at the alley” he looked at me and with blood dripping down his mouth “i was just doing my job. welcome to foxtrot 3 by my names john samson you can just call me hunter” I let him go and he limped into the APC then another walked towards me he wore a Grey baklava and tight fitting clothing and a vest that barely covered his chest which awkwardly bulged out he walked towards me and took off the mask. She looked at m surprised face and said “what ? a woman cant be in the military” “well I..I...I just did not expect to have such a high rank personnel on our team” she looked at me and frowend “were both specialists grade one my names Kelly williams” “a heavily armored male in a hijab walked towards me playfully he came up to me and pulled off his hijab he was a African American . “hey specialist now look Im basically here to keep the moral you catch me ? I was in the navy im Ricky buckman Just call me squid now what do you want to go by kid?” I smiled “echo” “nice choice” Albert “echo” chavez I thought in my head I figured that sounds good. We all jumped in the APC while a kill team of rangers in a heavy Humvee with a mounted sentry gun rolled behind us as the whole convoy of kill force 6 prepared for battle. I thought about all my training aim for the head,short controlled bursts a shot anywhere else just stunned them. They move fast so they have to be neutralized if you get bitten or infected kill yourself with the poison capsule that was given or a team mate would do it. I grabbed a Kukri blade off the weapon rack that was provided in the APC I looked at its razor sharp edge its brushed steel surface reflected no light I sheathed it and strapped it to my leg. I caught the eye of Kelly who was fiddling around with the UAV control panel she looked at me and smiled. The APC's lights blinked red prompting us that we are in a hot zone. The APC vibrated as the co pilot took out a pack of runners with the Dillon remote controlled mini gun. We all loaded our weapons and packed up some ammo. Hunter and squid looked at each other and they bumped fists. I put a clip in my ACR and cocked it I turned on the eotech scope and strapped on my helmet and then slid on a black baklava. The APC driver prompted a alarm which was the signal that the door was opening, the big metal door slowly lowered its platform to the ground and we all got out Kelly was the last one out she grabbed that control panel and slid it into her bag she ran out and flipped the close button on the APC. We met up with the four other teams in our sector who already exited there Humvee's. A black Humvee that I never knew was in the convoy rode up and a military adviser jumped out and barked orders like some scared little dog and then jumped back in glad that he wasn't us. He positioned eight snipers on the roof who where each divided into teams of four they zip lined up the roofs and soon each team where picked up by two little bird helicopters the rest of us where on the ground either Humvee calvary hit teams or long range grenade support foxtrot was positioned on the magnificent mile at least it was magnificent. We cautiously walked down the street with another team of 6 watching our back and little birds with snipers covering us and telling us where the nearest pack is. It was empty until we got a report a pack of twenty runners where heading straight for us about 3 blocks away we had about a minute to prepare, snipers took out some and only six broke there steady aim and where 5 feet away, I drew my weapon and just before I could fire a Humvee rammed half the pack of runners over my team shot at there heads to finish them off . I stunted back and fell startled by a runner with broken legs dragging its smelly corpse towards me, my team did not even notice as they where pre occupied with finishing off the pack it grabbed my boot and pulled itself onto my chest I pushed it back and hunter tackled it and shot it once it grazed its ear he then rad up to it and curb stomped its head in over and over, like an egg it crunched under his boot he then walked towards me and picked me up and then our comm's screeched with a danger code: sector red REPEAT SECTOR RED!! this is not a drill!! squid looked at Kelly “OH shit radio the APC radio the APC!!” Kelly hastily radioed the APC and it arrived around the corner ASAP she got in and took the panel out of her backpack all the rangers got back in there Humvee's and formed up a line of vehicle's and the APC was in front we all jumped in and squid popped open 3 of the four combat hatches. We took stance and poked our body's out of the hatches while Kelly was typing away at the panel. “Kelly get us that predator drone NOW!!” “on it Echo..about.....NOW!! get ready for some boom boom boys” she said over the comm a predator drone deployed from a building somewhere and roared across the city's night sky. The little birds shot flares into out immediate area and the military advisor said nervously over the comm “formation green zone ASAP make space for one more hummer!!” his hummer screeched into our circle formation at the middle of the block intersection. We all could hear the uproar and the screaming rage of the Runners it was 9:00 PM and my stomach dropped as runners came at us from every angle swarming in between all the vehicles as we took out as much as we can the advisor yelled. “Break formation head for lane 3 of sector 5 Kelly yelled “but thats a dead end we have no where to go !!” “exactly now MOVE !!” we hastily rammed out way thru the crowd of runners it was easily about 200 to 300 runners we reached the street which was a dead end it was blocked by a collapsed building from all the beach bombing runs. We waited for 5 minutes until we saw it our doom three times as much runners appeared and headed for the convoy. The driver looked bewildered “Get ready im breaking position” he advanced the APC towards the crowd its massive tires gripping the rubble and concrete so agile and quick. He opened fire the Dillon mini gun until there was not one round left. the APC swiveled madly like a dog chasing its tail, all the blood and body matter stuck to the tire made it impossible to control. The whole interior rocked forward on impact with the flipped car. suddenly a screech and the APC flipped over on its side. the runners ignored the APC and went for the group of Humvee's ripping the rangers out that had not locked there Humvee door and devouring them. We herd the screams despite layer after layer of Kevlar and Armour of the APC. My radio started to squawk. “ Pindad Panser down repeat,flipped on its side calling in little bird for support !! bring in UH-60 shadow for medivac ASAP!” I groaned in pain the impact was hard,i could taste blood in my mouth my world was spinning. my team mates did not move they where all laying face down. I soon passed out Chapter 5 delta crimson “Delta crimson GO GO GO !!” I awoke in a sweat, I felt normal again I wiped my blood crusted face off. I leaned up and saw them. “Squid Kelly Hunter Your all alive !” hunter smiled “the crowds not givin up. Hurry mate we got to get outta this APC or crimson is just gonna have to save us” Crimson was an elite rescue squad of some of the best rescue force members in the military marines,rangers,green berets, you name em they can save you. Suddenly we heard the roar of helicopters. Then the door of the APC light up and blew of its hinges a soldier in a crimson baklava shined a light me and my team he latched two metal hooks onto our APC and then the helicopter lifted us into the air, this vehicle the best attack helicopter crafted by the engineer crew over at Hudson base they called it the Shadow because thats all it was, a quick killer in the night. A man made machine manufactured to kill and thats what it was best at. I broke for the chopper and jumped in then squid then Kelly it started to take off right before it left ground hunter grabbed the bay door and climbed in. “forgetting something ?” He threw me my ACR bushmaster which started to look like the generals FN 2000 it was scuffed and marked in every crack and crease. A crimson medivac specialist handed us some refreshments and snacks he said he picked it up at his last raid. He gave me some meds, adrenalin shots use them as a last resort of energy he said. I looked at squid who was holding his dog tag “ man echo you see how that APC flipped on us I almost crapped my pant's” I laughed at the joke even if its not funny my team needs the moral. I looked it the pilot he caught my stare. “where going to the main objective” I sighed and looked away hunter looked at me and made some type of hand signal. “hey Kelly you think we could of died back there” “easily hunter luckily the runners did not find our APC interesting” I looked over at Kelly who was looking at the cracked screen of the control panel. “hey Kelly what all did you use that panel for” “i saved the whole platoon with this thing while you where taking a nap, now its gone and base is a long fly away. The screen broke when the APC flipped. And the predator drone crashed without me controlling it” “damn, nothing good ever lasts long does it” “well echo thats not true your still alive aren't you ?” I we both smiled and when the happiness broke it was back to work. chapter 6 Raid The shadow landed on the roof of a building about 3 blocks away from objective R.R.T.R (runner ruled territory raid) our forces had to kill all runners and take back the sears tower. Kelly was stationed on the roof with hundreds of other snipers .with her barret M82 which ripped into 2 to 3 runners at a time with its large caliber amour piercing rounds. Military advisors sent Ground troops they marched the streets for the main attack on the R.R.T (runner ruled territory). Soldiers of all pact creed and faction marched side by side. the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) the IRA (Irish Republican Army) even the CIA and DEA forces were marching along with whole police precincts including the bulk of the U.S military. This battle was inevitable and we are going to win.

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