Tuesday, October 23, 2007

'Fire blogging' tech expert on how fellow evacuees and networks are holding up | NetworkWorld.com Community

'Fire blogging' tech expert on how fellow evacuees and networks are holding up | NetworkWorld.com Community: "Local media did a great job of telling people that the most efficient way of telling others where they were or assuring those people that they 'were safe' was by texting, which has a lower bandwidth demand than voice.With 250,000 people turned into refugees by the fires there was a lot of stress on voice networks. I only got a "network unable to place call" message twice yesterday on I-15 as I went zero miles an hour.

The other piece of technology I rely on and carry in my "go now" bag is a Belkin Skype wireless phone. It's sturdy and small enough to nestle safely in my bright red backpack and it finds Skype and connects automatically wherever there's an 802.11 network. I keep all my portable electronics fully charged and ready to go. My Skype wireless phone has become an integral part of my mobile equipment and it's a great backup or primary communications tool."

Interesting take on the Go-Bag. As we see again the cell phone network bogs down in a crisis. Testing is a good way around that, though.

I am not exactly surprised that a shelter in Southern California would have 802.11 WiFi I have doubts that one here in Colorado would. Though as a Ham I am going to start thinking about it a bit more because that, obviously, would be very useful.

From Slashdot

E-mail from an inferno: How we escaped the fire - CNN.com

E-mail from an inferno: How we escaped the fire - CNN.com: "It is truly amazing what becomes important under such terrible circumstances; but I think we got 95 percent or more of what really mattered. Everything else is replaceable clothes and furniture and TV's and computers and refrigerators and china. "

They are quite fortunate they had lots of time to get ready to go, they even got to make two trips.
I wrote about evacuations just yesterday so go back there and read up. Getting that much time is not guaranteed.

EO Newsroom: New Images - Wildfires Strike near Los Angeles and San Diego

EO Newsroom: New Images - Wildfires Strike near Los Angeles and San Diego: "Wildfires Strike near Los Angeles and San Diego"

The current fires and where other fires have been in the last few years and how they are overlapped. This is a pretty cool site.

from Chaos Manor

Monday, October 22, 2007

Evacuation planning

Gathering Plan

Unless you work at home, homeschool your children and grow your own food, most of us are away from home for a large portion of the day. We may have to find a way to gather everyone together. Disasters aren't going to come convenient to our schedules.

1: Figure out where everyone is during the day. You should have done this when creating a communications plan, but do it now if you have not. This is contact information for work, school and play, including address, main and direct phone numbers.

2: Decide on a local alternate gathering place that is not home. You won’t be able to go home if it is burning down. Choose an alternate: a nearby park, church, school or family member’s house.

3: Decide on an out-of-state contact, phones will often be overloaded during a disaster but you may be able to get a long distance call out of the disaster area. If everyone is calling the same place information can be exchanged. Setting up a family blog is also a way to find each other after a disaster, Do it now at blogger.com which is free and make sure everyone has the web address in their wallets.

4: Setup a distant evacuation point. This can be in-state but further is better. As we saw with the Blizzard of 1997 and Hurricane Katrina, disasters can cover multiple states. If you can travel 500 miles (about 2 tanks of gas) you will generally be out of the disaster area.

5: Scout out alternative routes. Everyone will think to use the interstate but that will clog them completely plan and practice alternative routes. During the evacuation for Hurricane Rita in 2005 many people used the county road system to escape at a much higher rate of speed then those who used the interstate. Be prepared for blocked roads so have a detailed maps or good GPS to find alternative routes. State Highways are usually better then an Interstate and County Roads are often the least used routes. Going North, East or South from Denver is pretty easy, going West can be a real challenge. Eisenhower Tunnel and Loveland pass are the routes most people think of, you need to think of a different way.

The Go Bag

For an evacuation it doesn't make too much difference if you're running from a wild fire, hurricane or tsunami. You really just need to grab the same things and go. Evacuation plans are a big deal if you have to go. You usually have very little warning. Ideally you want just one bag per person that you can grab on the way out the door. Really it probably won't be quite that good.

• Copies of your important documents (insurance cards, photo IDs, proof of address, deeds, bills, etc.) in a waterproof and portable container, double bagged in plastic zipper bags is fine.
• Contact and meeting place information for your household, and a small regional map.
• Keep a list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages. Medication information and other essential personal items. If you store extra medication in your Go Bag, be sure to refill it before it expires. A spare prescription to refill anywhere can be kept here.
• Extra set of car and house keys.
• Credit and ATM cards and cash, especially in small denominations, at least $50-$100 on hand, or enough to put the family up for a few days in a cheap motel.
• Bottled water and non-perishable food such as energy or granola bars.
• LED Flashlight and extra batteries wrapped with a couple of feet of Duct Tape.
• Battery-operated AM/FM (optional Weather/TV audio) band radio and extra batteries.
• Communications systems: Two-way radios of some kind: cellphone, FRS, GMRS, CB, or Amateur radios, and list of numbers or frequencies to call on. And extra batteries.
• First-aid kit.
• A multi-tool or swiss army knife
• Some parachute cord, chained for compactness.
• A couple large trash bags which you could make into a poncho if you have to.
• Paper and pen/pencil.
• A wide brimmed hat to keep sun and rain off.
• A Red bandanna has many uses including signaling.
• Child care or other special care items:
This would include things such as diapers, formula, toys, books, diabetic supplies, or anything else that may be needed to help sustain life.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

We Went on a Fox Hunt! A Ham Fox Hunt

A Ham Foxhunt is an activity that Amateur Radio operators do where a transmitter is hidden in the community and you have to go find it. This is an important skill to learn as you can use it to find people who are lost or a crashed airplane or even an illegal transmitter.

So we (about a dozen of us) met at a parking lot and got our instructions. As we just got our licenses and haven't been able to build or buy a directional antenna we were lent one. We all got our first bearings, in the NNW direction. The signal was too weak to even hear with our handheld.

My wife and I hoped on the interstate and ran a few exits to shoot another bearing at a big box store that had some open space next to it, that I knew of. After getting a nearly West bearing we just took off down the street to try and box in the contact. We knew the next major street north was the boundary of the search box so we could box it in as we got closer.

With my wife watching the signal strength meter on our handheld she saw it rise and fall. So I turned North and came back on the boundary street to see if it had been north or south of the previous road.

Well, it pegged the meter as we drove past a supermarket. I turned and headed south to see if it dropped off after we passed a golf course. We went back to the supermarket and there was a little plaza that just seemed to say "It's right here." Just as we pulled in I saw a couple of the others wandering around with their Yagis, so we knew we were close.

While my wife kept our daughter entertained and out of the parking lot with some of the other children, I went looking for the "Fox." We knew it was a green ammo can but we were so close that the meter was pegged no matter which way we pointed. So I got out our little handheld and a baking sheet to try to find a null but there were too many reflections from the buildings us to go any good. We had been instructed that we could replace the regular antenna with a paperclip but we could find ours, we still needed to find a way to strongly attenuate that signal.

Then I remember we had covered the potato salad with aluminum foil. I wrapped our handheld in the foil and that worked great. Moving South toward the golf course it went down, tried west down again, back north and it got stronger.

At this point I realized I needed to use my eyes instead of my radio. Sure enough hidden in the junipers next to a tree was a little green box with an antenna.

It had taken us 44 minutes to find it. Second place. Most of us had come to the parking lot at virtually the same time. The leader had only gotten there about 2 minutes before. The last place team had caught a building reflection on their second bearing and that had sent them in the totally wrong direction. It was funny when we finally saw him, as we were wondering where they were, he was on the hill behind the store pointing his Yagi right at it but it was the rear lobe that he was catching it so he was looking the wrong way. Then we all went to the picnic.

Some lessons learned: We need a directional antenna to do this kind of work. An attenuator to help with the close work or a really lossy mini directional antenna out of paperclips or something.

Afterwards at the picnic we were looking at the "Fox." Written on the outside was a simple message explaining to people that it was a piece of Amateur Radio Emergency Training equipment. It doesn't come out and say it isn't a bomb but it turns out these kinds of activities get peoples attention, my wife answered a question of a passersby during the event.

The Fox itself was an old handheld modified with a hacked digital timer, a few other electronics and a large battery to run at 400mW or 1.4W. We were discussing making some of our own, this one was bought from another ham. All it does is send a morse code signal in FM for a short period of time. We brainstormed a bit and we figure a microcontroller could do most of the work of generating the signal and controlling the timing, we could hack one of those iPod FM transmitters up to our band and an output amp to boost it to 1-1.5 W instead of the 100mW as is typical of those iPod FM modules.

Fun stuff.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Newsvine - Living Paycheck to Paycheck Gets Harder

Newsvine - Living Paycheck to Paycheck Gets Harder: "The average family of four is spending anywhere from $7 to $10 extra a week — $40 more a month — on groceries alone, compared to a year ago, according to retail consultant Burt Flickinger III. "

Things are changing and this is just a symptom. Food prices are up in general, I've noticed it in all the supermarkets around here. It makes sense to sop at multiple stores when you can save a buck going to Sam's Club compared to Safeway and forget the 7/11.

Is Your Home an Asset or Liability?

Is Your Home an Asset or Liability? It depends on some of the other things that you leverage about your home.

If all you do is use your home to sleep in and store a bunch of stuff you don't use in productive ways then yes a home is not all that good a deal compared to a rental.

We had to sell our home after piling up debt due to medical bills and loss of my job so we are renting again. The thing is we lost a number of things that we could do with our home we cannot do in an apartment.

The major thing is that we no longer have any capability to grow our food. We had a huge garden that was a major supplement to our grocery bill and tasted way better too.

Another thing was that we could process the food we grew or bought from the farmer's market. We helped my nephews family can about 6 bushels of apples at their house. We had a station for cleaning and cutting apples, another to cook them, another to process into applesauce and finally another to do the actual canning process for putting up. The kitchen in our apartment is so laughably small two people can't do anything together in there. Doing applesauce would have taken forever as only one person could do anything in our pathetic little kitchen.

While I never had a chance to do it we were planning on solar panels to go for energy independence and having a well for water independence.

By itself a home is not much of anything at all except four walls and a roof, but it depends on what you do with it. A home can be far more then a storage facility and if that is all you'll use it for then if makes no sense to buy. A small apartment will be a much smarter idea.

Monday, October 15, 2007

NASA - Giant Waves Over Iowa

NASA - Giant Waves Over Iowa: "'For one thing, we believe undular bores can amplify tornadoes.' He cites as an example an F5 tornado that struck the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama, in April 1998. 'At first the tornado was doing relatively little damage. But our research shows that, just before the tornado reached Birmingham, it was hit by an undular bore.' The wave spun up the twister, increasing its intensity and size; the tornado went on to wreck more than 1000 homes and business totaling $200 million in damage. Tornado-wave interactions are the subject of Coleman's PhD dissertation, which he is completing now under the direction of University of Alabama-Huntsville professor Kevin Knupp."

That is a cool bit of weather, but for some reason I was reminded of an Umgubular Slashkilter.

More alternative-energy innumeracy | Tech news blog - CNET News.com

More alternative-energy innumeracy | Tech news blog - CNET News.com: "The Windbelt idea won a 'Breakthrough Award' in the November issue of Popular Mechanics, but not because Windbelt is actually useful or innovative. It looks like the magazine was a bit too eager to jump on the alternative-energy bandwagon, so nobody bothered to run through the numbers"

Too bad, lots of things work on the small scale but fail at the large scale. Look at insects like bees and dragonflys and see how well ornithopters have done.

Michael Yon : Online Magazine � Blog Archive � Achievements of the Human Heart

Michael Yon : Online Magazine Blog Archive Achievements of the Human Heart: "Once abandoned streets are now filled with families and budding entrepreneurs who continue to open new small businesses every week. We have made available grants for small businesses in our area and they have become immensely popular as you can imagine. I cannot walk the streets without children asking me for a soccer ball and “chocolate” (meaning any kind of candy) and adults asking for a micro grant application or for the status of the one they already filled out. They use these grants to open new businesses or improve their existing one and it is working well. "

And we've supposed to be losing!?!?!?!?!!?

The pathetic ones are not in Iraq but in our own country.

from instapundit

Here they come.

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide: "The first Baby Boomer applied today for Social Security benefits, a milestone marking the approaching retirement of a generation of Americans whose eligibility for government payouts threatens to overwhelm the federal budget. Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, a retired Maryland teacher who was born at 12:00:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 1946, applied this afternoon for early retirement benefits. She'll become eligible to receive them in January when she turns 62."

Time flies when your having fun.

Westminster Hazard Assessment

The City of Westminster already has a list of possible disasters and their level of frequency and impact on the community. The Westminster Ward can use this information to implement a ward emergency plan. The primary focus of this plan is to insure the survival of the ward families with special needs: medical conditions, limited mobility, and those with limited reserves at home. By focusing on those with special needs as a primary factor the ward can react most quickly to support those at the highest risk during a disaster.

For the sake of this plan we will focus on Frequency. The most common hazards are:
Hazardous Materials Spill: Highway
Utility Service Failure
Winter Storm
There are two major reactions to any disaster:
Evacuation aka Scoop and Run aka Flight
Shelter In Place aka Stay and Play aka Fight

A Hazardous Material Spill will often require a small scale evacuation around the site of the incident, often with a radius of 1-2 miles. If ward members who have limited mobility are in that area having evacuation assistance available would be highly increase their chances of survival.

A Utility Service Failure and Winter Storm can often be ridden out at home. A generator to keep the refrigerator or furnace running, a 72 hour kit and some food and water storage is often enough. But members that require life sustaining medical support like oxygen and dialysis will need additional help to get to their specific supplies or treatments.

The key to any successful plan is proper communication. Winter storms often leave people home bound for days. A communications plan is the key issue that needs to be dealt with. By already knowing who has special needs we can setup systems to make it easy to communicate with them and make sure they are well or what needs they may have that need to be fulfilled. Phones will work pretty often but are often overloaded during major disasters. It is often easier to call out-of-state then in-state or into-state. The stake and region is developing a ham radio network for such occasions. An alternative, dependent on the distribution of ward members and ham operators, is to do a quantity buy of Family Radio Service (FRS) radios within the ward to allow short range communications. By using Ham operators as block captains it would allow an alternative to the phone system for members without amateur radio licenses, this does require that block captains be centered in 1-2 mile radius blocks.

To successfully implement any plan there much be a clear and detailed line of command. This generally follows the priesthood authority, obviously the Bishop is the top person in the Ward. We merely need an up-to-date list of the leadership.

This plan should be reviewed and updated about every quarter. The City of Westminster Emergency Management Office http://www.ci.westminster.co.us/res/ps/em/emer.htm has evaluated which disasters could potentially strike our community. You may be aware of some of them; others may surprise you. The following is a summary of their Hazard Analysis. Each type of hazard is evaluated based upon frequency, and impact estimates, and an evaluation of the necessity of evacuation is added:
Low: 0 to 5 significant events in the past 25 years.
Medium: 5 to 10 significant events in the past 25 years.
High: 10 or more significant events in the past 25 years.

Low: Exposures have been partially or fully mitigated or minimal risk exists. The threat to property or population is considered minimal.
Medium: Exposures have either not been or can't be mitigated. The threat to property or population is considered possible.
High: Exposures have not been mitigated. The threat to population, widespread property loss, and damage are considered highly likely.

Low: Not very likely to need to evacuate. Specific areas may be required to evacuate, most areas are not affected.
Medium: Moderately likely to need to evacuate. Specific areas are required to evacuate, most areas should be prepared to Shelter-In-Place.
High: Very likely to need to evacuate. Large areas are recommended to evacuate.

Some potential disasters are seasonal and plans need to be adjusted for them.

The Threats

Aircraft Accident

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  Medium
Evacuation: Low
Season: Any
The volume of air traffic over the City is very high. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport™ is one of the busiest airports in the region and Denver International Airport has holding patters over Westminster airspace.

Dam Failure

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  High
Evacuation: High
Season: Any
Failure of any of Westminster's five dams could cause property damage, injury or death within the flood plain areas of the City.

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  High
Evacuate: High
Season: Any
At least four major faults exist along the front range including the Jefferson County.  The Major earthquake faults are located west of Interstate 25.  Earthquakes are very unpredictable and will be unexpected by the majority of the population.

Flash Flood

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  Low
Evacuate: Medium
Season: Any
Waterways and gulches that are normally dry pose an extreme threat during heavy rains. High numbers of visitors and recreational enthusiasts may increase the number of people that may be affected and need warning and evacuation. Major drainage basins potentially at risk are Big Dry Creek, Little Dry Creek and Coal Creek.

Hazardous Materials Spill: Business

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  Medium
Evacuate: Medium
Season: Any
Businesses that operate 24 hours a day, such as gas stations may expose a risk at any time. Less than five businesses have reported significant hazardous chemical inventories to the City.  Examples of businesses that may utilize hazardous materials include Rocky Flats, water treatment plants, swimming pools and gas stations.

Hazardous Materials Spill: Highway

Frequency:  Medium
Impact:  Low
Evacuate: Medium
Season: Any
I-25 is a designated transportation route for hazardous materials, radioactive materials, and nuclear weapons. Hazardous materials may be transported on any road while being delivered to local businesses. Radioactive materials and nuclear weapon components have been transported for more than a decade.

Hazardous Materials Spill: Railroad

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  High
Evacuate: Medium
Season: Any
Fifteen to 30 trains a day cross many major thoroughfares and commercial and residential areas of the City. The majority of cargo is coal. However, shipping records indicate a daily presence of hazardous materials being carried in bulk by rail.

Mass Casualty Incident

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  Medium
Evacuate: Low
Season: Any
City roadways are the greatest threat for a mass casualty incident. High speeds, foul weather and the sheer volume of vehicles provide a setting for an accident capable of injuring many people. Airplane crashes and rail related incidents also provide risk for mass casualty incidents.

Terrorist Incident

Frequency:  No Record
Impact:  Medium
Evacuate: Low
Season: Any
No area in the United States is immune. The City has few areas that are considered potential targets. The threat to the City would most likely come indirectly on an attack in the Denver metropolitan area.

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  High
Evacuate: Medium
Season: Summer
Although tornados typically occur between April and June they are possible during other months of the year. According to the National Weather Service, the north metro area has averaged one confirmed tornado each year since 1950. Most tornados occur to the east of Westminster.

Utility Service Failure

Frequency:  Medium
Impact:  Low
Evacuate: Low
Season: Any
A reliance on utilities has produced a life safety threat should any services be disrupted. Extended outages cause problems with food storage, communications, warmth, and travel. Disruption of service may include electric utilities, natural gas, and telephone services.  Disruption of communication systems may impact ability to warn of other hazards or pass vital information to the public.

Open Space Fire

Frequency:  Low
Impact:  Low
Evacuate: Medium
Season: Summer
Open space and undeveloped property pose a threat for brush fires throughout the year. Most are contained immediately. Drought conditions, periods of low humidity, lack of precipitation, and high winds provide ideal conditions and increase the potential for these fires.

Winter Storm
Frequency:  Medium
Impact:  Medium
Evacuate: Medium
Season: Winter
Heavy snowfalls can seriously disrupt transportation, communications, and complicate emergency response. Although not an annual event, the City is extremely susceptible to heavy snowfalls.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Family Emergency Communications Plan

Most families are dispersed over a large area during the day. Parents are at work and kids are at school. Having everyones telephone number in one place will allow you to more easily contact each other during a disaster.

Phones tend to be jammed during a major incident. It is often possible to make long-distance calls out of an affected area, so even having prepaid calling cards in everyones wallets is a good idea with a common out-of-state phone number printed on it.

Finding alternative means of communications are recommended. Ham Radio, CB, GMRS, and FRS are all alternatives to the telephone system. Create a family band plan of 3-4 frequencies/channels to attempt to communicate on.
Don't forget Am/FM radios too. Your city should have a Primary and secondary Emergency Alert Stations.

The internet is also a good communications medium. By setting up a family blog now on a free service like Blogger and giving everyone the URL, they can leave comments there, if everyone is separated, to let everyone know they are okay. During Hurricane Katrina many families were separated and this is an easy way to contact each other to come together again.

Others may need to know your status and having their numbers are important too; like work and church leaders.

Make a list in a Word Processor and print out copies for everyone.

Make a list of everyones phone numbers, and addresses that can be useful. Include everything:
Work direct
Work main
Work Fax
School main
School Fax

The add things like:
Local police/fire/ambulance/hospital
Utility companies
Insurance companies
Apartment owner/HOA president
Car dealer
Real Estate Agent
Taxi/Bus companies
Poison Control
Road Conditions/Weather
Funeral Home

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter which road you take.

The 5 Secrets to Success | Nubbytwiglet.com: "The easiest way to begin the process is to make a list of goals and achievements. It sounds terribly cliche, but it works! "

I am re-evaluating what I am doing with my life. After loosing an good engineering job and ending up in a call center where it was so awful I couldn't remember what I had done all day. I guess my mind was just trying to protect itself for the horror of the job. There are a few memories of that place that have stuck but they are mostly in the lunch room or some office and not the floor. It was too horrible to return to after a week in the hospital.

Now it is time to try it again. I have had enough of interim or temporary or "just get a" jobs. I am tired of moving backward.

I want to move forward. To change myself and the world. I want to alter the very structure of reality itself. That statement all by itself empowers me, I feel the coals in my heart blaze a little bit.

For a long time I was scared that the fire of my soul had gone out. It wasn't, just buried under a pile of ash. I just needed time to gather fuel and build a new firepit.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Your Outboard Brain Knows All

Your Outboard Brain Knows All : "My point is that the cyborg future is here. Almost without noticing it, we've outsourced important peripheral brain functions to the silicon around us."

This has been an issue for a long time. Heck the ancient Greeks were decrying writing as the youth were noticed to not remember as much as their illiterate forbearers. But then without writing we would never have found this. I love the internet and all but I still save a lot of stuff I feel as important to my harddrive as .pdf files so I have access for al those times I don't have access.

I often go to the local library for some time away from the desk and their internet access is not very good but I still have plenty of material with me as well as all the books around me. It is a good sized library but it is limited and I have a lot of stuff on my computer they just don't have in or at all.

It is funny though, in college my dorm room had 6 of us in science and engineering and we constantly had people coming over for topical help. I remember one person telling us that "You've forgotten more math then I've ever learned."

Now the Internet is a Knowledge Multiplier that is just amazing. My biggest issue is that it is too easy to get lost in the fun.

Friday, October 05, 2007

How to Continually Sharpen Your Skills

How to Continually Sharpen Your Skills Freelance Switch: "Whether it’s 30 minutes a day, or an hour a week, it’s important that you set aside a regular block of time to learn about your profession."

I know I am constantly learning about what I do and what I want to do. Spending on books is one of the few things we don't hold too much back on. It only has to wait until the ones we have have been read which is nicely self-limiting, but at 2000 wpm it doesn't take all that long to read a book anyway.

I was wondering what others had to say about how much you should spend on self-improvement and so after some searching hit on this guideline.

"Invest three percent of your income in yourself (self-development) in order to guarantee your future."
-- Brian Tracy, Author

Brian Tracy is a motivational and business speaker and writer, he studies successful people and explains how they did it. So I think his guideline sounded pretty good. I ran some quick numbers to see how much that would turn out to be. If you're making $30,000/yr you should spend about $900/yr making sure you are getting better at what you are doing.

We've been stretching that by going to the library or buying books cheaply on the net rather then full price at a local store. But really I don't think I've spent that much on self-improvement and that needs to change.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

This Day In History: Oct 4, 1957 Sputnik I

The start of the space was only 50 years ago. The Russians launched a little satellite with a Ham Radio transmitter in it. The fun thing was to help make it easy to find they set the transmitter to just above the National Reference Frequency so it was easy for Ham Radio Operators to listen for it.

Now there are Ham Radio satellites up there you can link with.

Some major milestones in space history:
Sputnik the first artificial satellite was launched in 1957
2001: A Space Odyssey came out in 1968
Apollo 11 landed men on the Moon in 1969
Apollo 17 the last manned mission to the Moon was in 1972
Voyager 1 and 2 were launched in 1977 the same year as Star Wars came out and are still transmitting

A lot of investment was made back then but somehow things have gone astray. Where are the giant wheel space stations and lunar cities? Taking the long view it is unwise to leave all our eggs on one basket. We really do need to have some of our species off of this world, just in case.

There is plenty of hope left. The space X-price was just won and they are working on something better. God-speed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oct. 1, 1908: A Basic Car for the Great Unwashed

Oct. 1, 1908: A Basic Car for the Great Unwashed : "The Model T was the first mass-produced automobile in history; approximately 15 million were built during a period lasting nearly 20 years. It achieved exactly what Henry Ford set out to do: to 'build a motorcar for the great multitude.'"

One of the most important changes in our society was the introduction of cheap and easy transportation. Not to say we have completely mastered the technology of the car but we are getting better at it.

The problems we have with the car aren't the cars but the designs of our cities. Cities changes slowly but there are buildings and whole sections of major cities that have stood since before the introduction of the car.

There has to be smething to be said about how much things changed when Ford used technology to reduce the assembly time of a car from 12 hours to 24 seconds.

from Wired.