Friday, December 8, 2017

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash - What's Best?

I would like to share some experiences and observations with you concerning Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Dash and hopefully cryptocurrency newbies and cryptocurrency evangelists will both be able take something interesting away from this post.


Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency is, of course, the most expensive cryptocurrency to move between wallet addresses. I have been paying around $4.00 (0.0003 btc) to send Bitcoin in a relatively timely manner recently. At this fee it seems to take about an hour or less to successfully send Bitcoin from one wallet to another. Check the transaction fee that your wallet is set at so that it is not too low or too high. If it is too low it may take hours or days to go through. If the transaction fee is set too high then you will be throwing away money but getting a fast transaction. If you're in line at the store and paying with Bitcoin, then a high transaction fee is what you would have to pay to complete the purchase in a timely manner. But I don't suggest paying for small items at the store with Bitcoin. The other coins I talk about below would be better for that. In the near future Bitcoin may be paired up with something called the Lightning Network which will make Bitcoin transactions cheaper and faster but so far this is not near implementation as they have only done testing on it, so Bitcoin in 2017 and much of 2018 is better for holding or trading as an investment or for buying big purchases or moving larger amounts of money from one place to another. (One BTC is about $15,000 on 12/8/2017)


Bitcoin Cash is a child of its parent Bitcoin, though if it were up to the Bitcoin developers Bitcoin Cash would meet an untimely death. Since the Bitcoin community could not come to terms with its problems, Bitcoin Cash was created as a fork off of the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitcoin Cash is really Bitcoin 2.0 if you ask me. It is Bitcoin improved. It has much lower fees, sends faster, and has larger blocks on the blockchain. I have been sending Bitcoin Cash using fees that are pennies and the transactions are blazing fast indeed. Bitcoin Cash is certainly a great candidate to supplant Bitcoin as the payment method for everyday purchases. It is so much cheaper and faster to use. While it has proponents pushing its use in the marketplace Bitcoin Cash has no central governance structure and so its acceptance in the marketplace is reliant on no one in particular, making its adoption as the future go-to coin kind of sketchy. (One BCH is about $1375.00 on 12/8/2017)


Dash (Digital Cash) is the other cryptocurrency that has real potential to become the cryptocurrency for everyday purchases and money transfers. Like Bitcoin Cash, Dash is very fast and very cheap to use. Not only that but it has a great smart phone app that is a multi-feature wallet which makes it extremely easy to send and receive Dash. Unlike Bitcoin Cash, Dash has sort of a corporate structure, which is funded by the coin transfer fees, that can market the coin's usefulness to consumers and businesses alike and seeks to make partnerships with businesses. This makes Dash the most likely candidate for wide marketplace adoption compared to Bitcoin Cash which does not have any single controlling entity mapping out where it will go in the future. Though decentralization is good and part of the appeal of cryptocurrencies, as we have seen with Bitcoin this leads to indecisiveness, bickering, infighting and lack of direction when it comes to adoption in the marketplace. Dash's corporate-like control will ensure a better marketplace penetration and adoption, leading, I believe, to eventual dominance as the cryptocoin for everyday transactions. (One Dash is about $700.00 on 12/8/2017)

The future is not clear at this moment as to which of these coins, or perhaps one of the other dozens of coins out there, will become the dominant cryptocurrency for everyday transactions. Maybe there is room in the marketplace for multiple players just as there is in the credit card market or the cash transfer marketplace. It is an exciting time, however, as the process evolves and plays itself out. 

Check out Crypt0's youtube channel for informative and fun videos about cryptocurrencies. Omar's take on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is definitely worth your time.

Coindesk.com is another good source of information concerning Bitcoin news and prices.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

On Bitcoin Mining 8

Here we go, just another chapter in a Bitcoin mining adventure.

So, I had a perfectly good Bitmain Antminer R4 earlier this year and when I saw how much I could make selling it compared to the heat, noise, electric bill and slower return on investment I decided to sell it. What I made was almost double what I bought it for (and for a lightly used miner) that's how hot the market for Bitcoin miners in May/June 2017 was and still is. 


The Antminer R4 was my favorite Bitmain product because even though it is a powerful miner it is pretty quiet compared to other miners. Why they stopped making it is beyond me but I have a feeling that they wanted to concentrate on making, noisy but modular, Antminer S7's and S9's which they could sell to mining farms by the thousands and hence make a better profit, sort of giving up on the home-oriented miners market.


At any rate, since there was a more immediate profit to be made for me by selling Bitcoin miners as opposed to mining Bitcoin with them I decided to buy a couple Antminer S9 Bitcoin miners from Bitmain and resell them. There was a wait to receive them in June but it was only about a month or so at this time. Buying from the Bitmain company in China was (and is) not a simple process, as most people will tell you who try to buy miners from them - one of the reasons that people are willing to pay more on eBay or Amazon. It is simpler there and less of a hassle. The communication is inefficient with Bitmain, which is understaffed in their sales department. In addition, they are always changing the accepted method of payment, sometimes it is with Bitcoin, sometimes with bank transfer, and now with Bitcoin Cash.

Anyway, eventually I received the two Antminer S9's and wanted to test them to make sure they were operable before I listed them and shipped them to a paying customer. Luckily I had a 1375 watt power supply, so I hooked one up and tried to find it on the network. It seems like this is always difficult when you first turn on a miner and try to find it on your network. When I did find it and assigned a mining pool to it, the machine started mining and I was treated to the trademark Antminer "jet engine" noise that I discovered with my Antminer S7. I don't know if the S9 is louder than the S7 or if they are the same but there is no way I would be keeping either one of these loud ASIC miners since I only have a garage and not a mining farm. Both S9's operated well, hashing away at around 14.5 TH/s. After my brief testing was complete I listed these on eBay and eventually sold them for a 70% profit. Not bad.

Since this fiscal adventure was a success I decided to do it again. However, the next time I wanted to buy some S9's to sell I would have had to wait two months to receive them, so I decided to look elsewhere, if possible, for Bitcoin miners that I would receive sooner. (Apparently other people were having this idea too.) The company I settled on was another Chinese company called Canaan who were making and selling a nice miner called the Avalon 741. Unfortunately, they were just as hard to communicate with as Bitmain, also being woefully understaffed to meet customer demand. But once the back and forth about price and shipping were taken care of and the bank transfer went through, they shipped and I received the machines within two weeks of my initial contact with them. This was probably the last good experience anyone would ever have with them as the company was beset with orders because people wanted and needed miners and Bitmain became even more backlogged. Now Canaan would be backlogged too. 




But for now this first buying experience from Canaan was pretty good. They accepted bank transfer, shipping cost from China was reasonable and I received the machines fairly quickly. This time I bought five machines and controllers and tested one or two of the Bitcoin miners. Within a couple of weeks they all sold and though there was a profit it was significantly less than on the Antminers. The reason the profit was less was that these miners didn't have the same reputation in the mining world as the Antminers do. Also the Avalon 741 hashes at a slower speed than the S9 and so for these reasons it was somewhat less sought after. One of the controllers and miners I had sold did not function properly and were sent back by the customer. After refunding him I determined that one of the hashing boards was inoperable. Canaan support was very helpful and sent me a new hash board which was pretty easy to replace. I was then able to sell the refurbished miner.

The Avalon 741 runs quieter than the Antminer S9. This is because it has only one variable speed fan and because it runs at half the speed of the S9 (7.3 TH/s vs. 14.5 TH/s). It is a good, sturdy and steady Bitcoin miner with a good user interface. It uses a controller (Raspberry Pi) which you have to buy, hook up and power separately and this is unappealing compared to Antminer's onboard controller. I did run the Avalon for about a month and made some pretty good Bitcoin with it, above and beyond electricity cost, so it was a positive experience overall.

As of December 6, 2017 it is almost impossible to get a Bitcoin miner unless you want to pay at least double the price. Bitmain has a 2 to 3 month waiting period and only accepts Bitcoin Cash. Canaan doesn't even bother to sell to individuals any more and their distributors either have a waiting period, no miners to sell or sell out as soon as they put them up for sale. Jhejiang Ebang, who makes the Ebit series of miners, which I will talk about in the next blog posting, is having the same problems. They don't respond to e-mails after you make an order and apparently don't want to deal with individual buyers.

With Bitcoin's precipitous rise in price I think I am back to feeling that it is better to mine for Bitcoin if you want to make money from Bitcoin rather than selling the machines -- that is if you can get your hands on the latest version (or any version) of a Bitcoin ASIC miner. Just buying Bitcoin and holding may indeed be the wisest strategy, even at this point when it is 12,783 dollars for a single Bitcoin.
 

The next blog post will cover my Ebit E9 plus Bitcoin miner experience.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Great Gasbag - Review

No surprise here. The Great Gasbag is another Trump-bashing book by another liberal Republican-hating media star. Nothing new and only one or two funny comments. But I do love the title of this book by the host of "The View", particularly the title page which says "Joy Behar The Great Gasbag" She couldn't have done better than to self-title this incredible waste of paper, waste of ink, waste of fuel, waste of resources, and waste of time. Thanks for adding to global warming, Joy. The book is the same Democrat rhetoric you can find every day on "The View", MSNBC, NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, etc. Save your money, save the trees and save the climate by not buying this book.

Behar starts out the whispy tome with the admitted "alternative fact" that her agent begged her to write the book and promptly proceeds to rely on alternative facts throughout the book (read: lies). She also states in the beginning of the book that she is a satirist, as if that excuses her alternative facts, her lies, her hate, her disrespect of the president of the U.S., as if being a satirist is some kind of carte blanche for spouting garbage and vitriol about another human being (eg., his shit-eating grin). In the "A" chapter she says that 65 million Americans get acid reflux whenever Trump appears on the TV. (That must be why Tums and Prilosec are selling so well. Another plus for the Trump economy!) How do you think, Ms. Behar, the rest of us felt when Mr. Petulant Crybaby came on TV for eight years? I couldn't even hear his voice on the radio but it would ruin my day. Her definition of Vitriol in the book is well applicable to her and actually moreso. The book is nothing but vitriol aimed at Donald Trump, Republicans, Tea Party members, Mormons, social conservatives, evangelical Christians, straight people, white men, etc. It is political hate speech posing as satire.

So many lefties are always promising to go to Canada or Norway or Saudi Arabia (haha, no not really) or Mars. Why don't you just go instead of lying about it over and over? Another point: Can you, Joyless Behar, and the rest of the liberals finally get it through your heads that Republicans are not against immigration? It's such a hackneyed joke to point out that Trump's relatives or anyone else's are immigrants. That's cutting edge analysis right there. Now if you pointed out that they were illegal immigrants you'd be getting somewhere. Republicans are against illegal immigration, people who break the law and the rules to get into or stay in this country. We are also against the enablers of people who break the laws and rules. We are for immigration as long as it is legal and restrained (restrained, as in we don't need a million new foreign people a year! And we don't need potential terrorists.). Behar goes on to associate neo-nazis with President Trump and Republicans but doesn't offer any proof of this. Additionally, saying that Steve Bannon runs a website for neo-Nazis is a bald-faced lie. Breitbart News is a news website that leans conservative, populist, nationalist, all of which have nothing to do with neo-Nazis even if you say it one hundred times.

Joyless Behar constantly suggests in the book that there is something improper in the relationship between Donald Trump and his daughter. Maybe that is the satire she was talking about? She also complains about Trump's golf and his vacations when President Obama golfed 170 plus times while he was president and his many vacations (with separate travel arrangements for his wife) cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. There's your definition of hypocrite, Ms. Behar.

Behar is transfixed on Vladimir Putin mentioning him 45 times in a short book. She says she is more afraid of Trump and Pence than ISIS. That's just brainless and this seems to be a common theme with Democrats. They are less frightened of people who burn their victims alive, drown them in cages, run them over with tanks, cut off their heads, than they are of two Republicans who will hardly be able to get their job done for all the obstruction they get from other Republicans and Democrats in congress.

For all its negativity, vitriol and hate, the best part of Gasbag Joy Behar's book is all the tweets she reprinted from The Donald's Twitter feed. #Thanks! #NotSad

Monday, October 23, 2017

Las Vegas and Other Mass Shootings - Possible Responses

The Las Vegas machine gun shooting of 10/01/2017 from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel was the carefully premeditated and inhuman murder of 59 innocent people trying to find a moment of joy in an increasingly difficult and violent world at a music concert. It was also attemped murder and wounding of hundreds of others trying to find the same moment of joy. Truly a sick and cowardly deed. How many of the couple thousand people who were there will have PTSD from this event as they go forward with their lives?

On October 23, 2017, more than three weeks after the shooting we still do not know if this guy was crazy, or whether he was radicalized by Daesh (they say he was their soldier). We don't know if perhaps violent video games and movies motivated him or dehumanized other people to him. We don't know if he hated America, or Las Vegas, or country music, or Republicans, or just hated people. Did he have a brain tumor? Did he have a drug or alcohol problem? Was his brain easily susceptible to negative manipulation? Or was he just seeking to become famous for murdering the most people in the shortest amount of time? Where is his manifesto or statement of action? Did he write the plans for his heinous act down somewhere? Did he plan to do this alone? What do the people in his life know about his actions or mental state? I hope we start hearing some answers soon. The families require it. The rest of the United States needs it too.

With love and respect to all of the victims, those who have passed and those who were injured and traumatized, I would like to suggest that in this case (Mandalay Bay shooting) and other future cases, that there is a method that may have worked at stopping or slowing the shooter and reducing the terrible damage that was done. Remember that some concert-goers, maybe many or all, eventually knew where the gunfire was coming from. Some people were able to key in on the sound to locate where the shooting was coming from. In the dark the muzzle fire may have been visible to other people. In videos from that night, people were looking up at the hotel windows and cursing the shooter. I suggest that if one or a few people had a moderately powered laser (from 5 to 500 milliwatts or above) and aimed it up toward the shooter they may have blinded (temporarily or for longer) the man and brought on some relief from the deadly situation. At any rate he would have found it impossible to shoot at targets on the ground with one or more superbright lasers shining up toward that window and his eyes. A gun from down on the concert grounds would have been almost useless unless it were a rifle in very capable hands, but the laser light would have been instant and accurate and the spread of its terminal spot of light at the distance of 300 yards or more would have been enough to cover a wider area in the window more likely flashblinding and at least frustrating the shooter. This may have worked in the Orlando night club shooting, and the Batman movie theater shooting too. In certain other mass shootings a laser will not have worked.

It is my hope that people will begin to carry commercially available lasers (of 5 to 500 milliwatts or more. Lasers of less power than 5 mW will be less effective.) with the intent of using them as defensive weapons in a case like this. And, of course concert venues and sporting events, etc., will need to allow them in if found on someone's person. Bad guys need their eyes to see what they are doing and if someone with a laser is in a life-or-death situation like this and they use their laser and it causes the shooter even just to have to close his eyes, that may make a difference which allows someone to take action. It will certainly be something unplanned for by the shooter and may cause him to make a mistake. It may save a life or lives.

I hope that we soon find out the motive behind this spineless shooter's evil murder of so many innocent people, but whatever the cause ends up being, a lesson that we can take from this is that people need to have something to else to fight back with to save their own lives. The police cannot act instantly in every situation (though they were heroic here) and even concert-goers carrying handguns would not have helped in this situation; neither would mace or a Taser. I contend that one or more moderately powered lasers would help in this sort of situation by blinding or temporarily frustrating an attacker.

Wicked Lasers sells more powerful lasers on their website but 5 milliwatt lasers are also easily available on eBay and Amazon.

Disclaimer: This suggestion is for defensive purposes only and in situations where life or limb are threatened. Any time you hurt someone else you are responsible for your actions and possibly blinding someone is a serious action which will have serious consequences unless it was done for the right defensive reasons. Lasers should never be aimed in a frivolous manner toward any plane, car, or other object where a person or people may be at or near the end of your beam. Check local laws regarding possession of laser emitting devices. Eye protection should be worn when in the presence of or when handling powerful lasers.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Trump Witch Hunt

Many of the people who voted for Donald Trump for President love the man, they don't just like him. They voted for him in the general election of 2016 because he said he was going to do things that they wanted done. Fix health care insurance, don't let people in the
country who shouldn't be here, don't lead from behind in the world but show true world leadership, reform the tax system, stop the U.S. from committing billions of dollars toward the manmade climate change hoax, show resolve in the fight against radical Islam, and many other things good for this country. There is also an image of him kissing the American flag. I don't remember President Obama ever doing that. He wanted to fundamentally change the U.S. Additionally, Obama wouldn't wear a flag lapel until pressured to do so. Donald Trump clearly respects and thanks the military and the police for protecting us. Obama did not clearly do so.


So Donald Trump has already made good on many of his promises, whereas other Republicans, other politicians, make promises and never come through. That's why people love him. He is a fighter. Mr. Bush wasn't a fighter. Romney wasn't much of a fighter. McCain wasn't a fighter. That's why people love Trump. And he defends himself.


If it ever turns out that Donald Trump did something wrong enough to warrant his removal from office, the people who voted for him aren't going to blindly continue to support him. They will be disappointed in him as they have been disappointed in other Republicans and Democrats before him. They wanted a leader and someone they could trust. If President Trump ever turned out to be found guilty of a PROVABLE criminal offense his base would drop him like a hot potato. Why not? Mike Pence would be a great President too!


But there is no fire here, and the smoke is all created by the media and Democrat smoke machine. The poor, helpless media, which Trump bashed throughout the campaign because they bashed him, that poor, helpless media has a mission to destroy him. It is so clear that that's all that is going on here and the Dems are just on the bandwagon, willing partners with the media. They print stories that have no verification to create the smoke based on hearsay or that's attributed to unnamed sources.


The leaders of both parties in Congress need to call off the dogs that are hounding the president, say there is no "there" there, and let
him and the Congress get down to real business. Disagreements can be worked out through the political process as they should be rather than trying to get your way by destroying a man. If you have an argument against Trump's stance on, say, illegal immigration then put forward the argument -- don't try to win by trumping up phony charges against your opponent. It's no different than a figure skater hiring a hitman to break your opponent's leg.


The political dysfunction in the United States is married to hate right now and you can see where the hate takes us after the shooting of the U.S. Congressmen, aides and Capital police at the baseball field on Wednesday, June 14.


Let's hope that, moving forward, the virulence and the violence abates. But leaders on both sides of the aisle need to make it happen.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

On Bitcoin Mining 7


The Antminer R4 joins me on my Bitcoin mining journey and it is still too early in my experience with this miner to tell anything but a short story about it. But I can say these things right now: It is significantly quieter than any other powerful ASIC miner and it is more electricity efficient than any other miner.


When the R4 is running at 8.7 terahash (TH/s) it still puts out quite a bit of heat using about 950 watts compared to something like 1300 watts for the Antminer S9 (13 TH/s) and the previous model Antminer S7 (4.7 TH/s).

At the moment it is creating the equivalent of about 0.15 Bitcoin per month (in a mining pool) but this will go down at the next difficulty increase.

I really like this machine and though it is not as quiet as the Black Arrow Prospero it is much more powerful, productive, and expensive (unfortunately). Also unfortunately, I see on Bitmain’s website that they have been out of stock for a while and I am wondering if this means they will not produce them anymore. If not, then miners who want a powerful Bitcoin miner that is relatively quiet will have to buy whatever is available on eBay, which is mostly used stock. If you want a powerful miner and don’t care about the noise then get the Antminer S9 which you can get new from Bitmain, on eBay, and on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

On Bitcoin Mining 6

The next inning in my Bitcoin mining adventure was my ill-fated Bitmain Antminer S7 acquisition. It was ill-fated not because of the perfectly adequate machine that it is but because of what I did with it. Prior to buying it I had no idea how loud this device was (I could hear it outside the garage of my townhouse and so, I figured, could my many closely proximate neighbors.) but I did run it for a while. Finally I decided to run it at a much lower speed so that the fan would run at a much lower (and quieter) speed. This was okay but not optimal. Why have a 4.7 Tera hash bitcoin miner running at a fraction of its design speed?

Then I heard about hosted mining. This is where you send your bitcoin mining computer to someone else who puts it in their building, runs it on their cheaper electricity, and charges a monthly fee that is less than the amount of Bitcoin generated. I did my research on hosting companies and cost and decided on an outfit called ASICSPACE. I and they signed a hosting contract and thus began a nightmare relationship.

I boxed up my Antminer S7 and its EVGA power supply. Both of which cost me $800 back when S7’s were more expensive and there were no S9’s yet. Then I sent the S7 to Tennessee. The company is in Washington state and the pictures on their website of their hosting site are in Washington state so I thought it was odd but I figured maybe they have a satellite site, so I overlooked this little Tennessee detail.

After receiving my miner they told me I didn't send a power supply and of course I told them that I did and described it and sent a picture, etc. After some time they "found it". After this snafu and a period when the owner was "out of town", it took 3 weeks for them to turn the bloody thing on. Once they finally got the miner running it would run for a while and then take days for them to turn it back on or reboot it after it went off. These were days when it wasn’t earning money. Critical time in the Bitcoin mining world. Then it wouldn’t turn on or reboot and that was additional time not mining. Then they stopped trying to turn it on saying that it was only putting out 1/3 of the hashpower. I asked ASICSPACE and Robert Van Kirk, the owner, to return the miner to me after that and he kept stalling or saying that he would and he never did. Then he said that someone else had the miner (!) and I should call him to get it back, only that person never answered the phone.

So almost a year later I still don’t have my miner or power supply back which I basically consider as theft of my property. The company is supposedly defunct but their website is still up, so I am worried that someone else may be taken for a ride by this guy.

My advice to you if you are considering having your miner hosted . . . DON’T!! Try and deal with it yourself.

In the next installment I’ll talk about the Antminer R4.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hillary's America - A Review of the Film

Hillary's America is a well-done documentary by Dinesh D'Souza about the Democrat Party and about Hillary and Bill Clinton. It is an eye-opening description of the Democrats' dark history involving slavery, the Indian's Trail of Tears, Jim Crow laws, the KKK (founded by a Democrat) and much more. If you want to see why she is called Crooked Hillary, you will find out here. The documentary also shines a light on Republican efforts against all of these negative Democrat policies. The movie also delineates all the reasons that installing Hillary and Bill in the White House again will be bad for America and good for them.

Watch the documentary at iTunes, Google Play or Amazon before voting November 8 if you can. It is worth it just for the emotional renditions of "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner" at the end.

See the trailer...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

You Should Be Wearing Orange

Here is an equation for you: Rain + low light = Poor visibility.

It seems like a lot of drivers don't know their basic math.

If you drive in the rain when it's dark with your headlights off then you are either lacking brain functionality or you are malicious verging on evil. You are an accident waiting to happen and the sad thing is that someone innocent is going to be involved in the accident with you.

I am not saying that 50 percent of drivers drive without their headlights when they should use them and I am not saying that 10 percent of people do this, but if it is 1 percent or less doesn't make it any less heinous or dangerous.

Get a conscience and turn on your headlights. It's against the law to drive in the dark without headlights on and in many states it's against the law to drive without headlights in the rain. These laws are there for a reason and if you have a driver's license you should know the law. It's a matter of safety and thinking about your fellow travelers on the road. It's also a matter of how drivers with mild visual impairments may not be able to see you or young/newbie drivers who may not know to look for dark vehicles.

I don't know if police are concerned with giving tickets for this infraction, but since it is such a dangerous offense I hope that they do, and I hope the ticket is expensive and comes with 4 points (and a dope slap).

Friday, October 21, 2016

Vote to Make America Great Again

The U.S. election is just days away and there are very few people who won't be happy to see the whole spectacle put behind us. The presidential race has sucked up the news cycle like a Dyson in a sawdust factory.

The last eight years are another spectacle that many will be glad to put behind us starting with a disrespectful, haughty, petulant, campaigner-in-chief/golfer-in-chief who took more vacation and played more golf than any servant of the people should, except that he was not a servant but really more like a lord. He was the first president of half of the people of the country, continuously expressing disdain for Republicans and conservatives. Race relations didn't improve under Obama in his eight years - they got worse. I don't want to go through the laundry list of his ill-conceived policies but in relation to this election we are going to just get more of them with Hillary Clinton. The reason not to elect Hillary isn't the 33,000 emails she deleted, or the thousands (including secret) that she let fall into foreign hands. It also isn't the fact that she lied about Benghazi to the American public and didn't protect her embassy staff. It also isn't her failed foreign policy where much of the world is now at odds with us and where ISIS was allowed to grow and prosper. And it isn't her gathering of money from overseas power brokers for the Clinton Foundation.

The reason not to elect Hillary Clinton as president of the United States is that she will continue Barack Obama's fundamental transformation of the U.S. and on some issues shifting into high gear while doing it.

She will continue to weaken our economy and our safety by drastically increasing the flow of illegal aliens into the country, legalizing all those who reside here and came here illegally, and by increasing the numbers of refugees from the middle east who will harbor among them hundreds of terrorists. She has promised to raise taxes which will harm the economy. She will continue to make poor deals with other governments and lead from behind. Terrorism will not decline because it won't be met with a firm response.

A Hillary Clinton presidency will be four more years of the messy Obama world we live in now and even worse. We are really on the wrong track and your vote will make a difference in the most important election in the country's history.

Vote for Donald Trump for president of the United States and we will have a stronger economy, reduced debt, a safer country, a safer world, more friends and better partnerships in the world. Vote for the outsider - not the Washington insider.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

On Bitcoin Mining 5

It turned out that we would not be in my sister-in-law's house as long as previously thought. They were returning home and we needed to move out to a townhouse that we owned by January. This meant that I would not be able to bring the BFL Monarchs with us. For one thing they were too loud for a townhouse environment and too hot. They were also not very efficient in terms of electricity consumption. They are rated by BFL for 0.65 to 0.85 watts/GH but I measured them as using close to 1 watt per Giga hash including the power supply and the necessary laptop.

Bitmain Antminer U3 version 2
Looking for quiet, townhouse friendly miners, in October I bought two Bitmain Antminer U3 miners. This ASIC miner is very similar to the Rockminer R-box 1 (37GH/s) miners. The U3 however runs at 55 to 62 GH/s. Like the older Rockminer, the U3 is basically silent and put out little heat while using about 50 watts of power (plus wattage of attached computer). The problem is that every day or so these miners would become "zombies" meaning that they would stop working. This requires a hard reboot of the device (unplugging and re-plugging) and restarting the mining software. It's a hassle and not on a schedule of any kind so you don't know when you'll have to do it. So as quiet as this was, the fact that it had a problem like this and that I felt the hashrate was too low I kept looking for a better solution.


The better solution in my situation was the Black Arrow Prospero X-1 (X-1.5). The X-1 hashes at 100 GH/s or better and the X-1.5 hashes at 140 to 190 GH/s. This miner is unique among ASIC miners - for one thing it has a large fan which dissipates the generated heat very quietly and effectively. For another thing it has an Android-based touch screen for interfacing with the miner. The miner is also WIFI capable which means that you can place it anywhere in the house and it doesn't need an ethernet cable or a computer attached to it to run the mining software. It is truly a stand-alone device. Perfect! As it got closer to moving day (again!) I sold the two Monarchs which turned out to be pretty solid hashers - if a bit inefficient - and bought two Black Arrow Prospero X-1.5s. I also sold one Antminer U3 and kept one in the box as a backup. I ran the two Prosperos near the dining room in the townhouse for most of the winter and spring of 2016 and appreciated their silence and their heat generation. 

The nice thing about mining for Bitcoin at home is that for part of the year the heat that Bitcoin miners generate can (and is) used to heat your living space. One hundred percent of the heat generated will go into the air in your home. For instance, if my two Prosperos raised the temperature of the downstairs portion of my townhouse by two degrees Fahrenheit, then that is two degrees that didn't have to be heated by the furnace (electric blower and gas fueled) thus saving that much electricity and gas from being used to heat our home. This means that the efficiency of the miner doesn't matter very much in the winter or on cold days in the spring and fall because you are basically running a heater that is mining Bitcoin. It's another story when the hot weather comes but the efficiency of Bitcoin miners is going to be better than rated over the course of a year if they are used in environments where their heat is used. (Now if they could make Bitcoin miners that generated cold air we'd be all set for the summer!)

I'll cover my experience with Bitmain's Antminer S7 in the next On Bitcoin Mining.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

On Bitcoin Mining 4

To continue the story from On Bitcoin Mining 3, in early 2015 I had a stack of 6 Rockminer R-Box 2 110 GH/s Bitcoin miners in my living room (which my wife didn't complain about as long as I kept them quiet) and while the heat they generated was appreciated in the winter and reduced the gas bill somewhat, it was now late spring and some of the days were mighty hot which in turn made the living room too hot. So, it was either turn off the miners (which I did do on many days) or relocate them. I decided to try the attic and add an external fan.

The attic had a pull-down stairway which made access to it easy. As you may know, attics get hot on warm days and this one could reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) or more. For this to work safely I had to set things up right. I placed the miners in stacks of 2 on non-flammable porcelain tiles, placed the power supply also on a porcelain tile, aimed them all towards the center of the attic where their heat would rise to the roof vents and aimed a fast blowing fan at the back of them. I also replaced the quiet fans I had earlier installed with the original more-noisy-but-more-effective-at-cooling-fans back on the miners. Then I monitored the temperature of the attic and monitored the temperature of the miners. On cooler days and at night the miners ran from 50 degrees Celsius to 65 degrees. On hot days the miners would run in the 70s. If they approached 80 degrees (which they did on really hot days) I would shut the miners down. This setup allowed me to mine in the summer and the noise and heat were out of sight. The down-time was minimal.

Oh, and I almost forgot about the laptop PC which I had to have attached to these six Rockminers. This laptop had to be in the attic too since the miners are attached to it via USB cords and the software on the PC runs the miners. After some research into the operating temperature of laptop lithium batteries I opted to remove the battery from the laptop and allow it to run only on AC power. It certainly wouldn't be good to have a rechargeable lithium battery exploding in the attic. 

Of course, this is not an optimal setup and if you are careless maybe even dangerous. Miners can fail if they run too hot too long. But these miners did not fail, and did not run slower. I kept them under 80 degrees and they only had to last until August like this as we were moving into my sister-in-law's house to take care of it while their family had "moved" out of the country for what was supposed to be a couple of years.

This meant I would have a basement in which to place my miners and in a solar-powered house. Nice. Hello, almost-free electricity.

BFL Monarch 650 GH/s Bitcoin Miner
At the same time I had noticed that the prices had come down on the water-cooled Butterfly Labs Monarch 650 to 700 GH/s bitcoin miners. If I got just one of these it would replace the six I had and give me the same hashing power. I bought one of them off of eBay and plugged it in. I had trouble getting it to hash at the rated speed. I was only getting about 500 GH, not the 650 advertised. It turned out that I had to use a special version of the Bitcoin mining software BFGminer. Anyway I spent dozens of hours trying to work out the problem. Butterfly Labs' own software EasyMiner never worked for me. Finally I got everything ironed out and the thing was running at 650 GH/s. I decided to get another one of these (actually a 700 GH Monarch) and sell the 6 Rockminer R-box 2s. 

Due to the fact that the Monarch's are liquid-cooled, the two fans on the miner are not as loud as fans on many other miners (like the Antminers). They are also potent heaters and the basement was soon very warm. This wasn't an issue though because it was a basement and not a living space.

This is the 1300 GH/s setup I had in the late summer of 2015 and going into the fall. But, as ever in the world of Bitcoin mining, things never seem to stay the same for very long. More to come....

(Some Black Arrow Prospero Bitcoin miners for sale here)

Monday, June 27, 2016

On Bitcoin Mining 3

Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Level Rising
Bitcoin mining is a nasty game. It involves heat. It involves dust. It involves sometimes VERY-difficult-to-figure-out mining software. It's a game that continuously gets harder to play for increasingly less reward. Every few weeks, the difficulty for solving a block changes - usually it gets harder, sometimes it gets easier before making an even bigger jump in difficulty. This increase in the difficulty of solving a block has the effect of pushing the little guys of the Bitcoin mining game out. It also has the effect of making little guys into big guys as they (stubbornly?) commit more resources to the project. 

So, in general, it constantly gets more difficult to solve a block (solving a block is what generates Bitcoins). This means that if you keep the same equipment that operates at the same electrical efficiency that it will take you 3 weeks to earn the same BTC that previously took you say 2 weeks before. So if Bitcoin mining is more than just a hobby, you need to upgrade your equipment every now and then. If you want to keep earning Bitcoin you must increase your hash rate. Now, because I live in a townhouse/condo, noise is an issue for me. I don't have too many empty unused areas where I can put a Bitcoin miner and not have to hear its constant droning. As such, I can't go "all in" getting the best Bitcoin miners out there because those top of the line ASICs are noisy and heat producing and not at all "home friendly". 

Rockminer R-Box 32-37 GH ASIC miner
With noise in mind, my next miner, while still having the 2 BFL 60's was to get the Rockminer R-Box 32-37 GH ASIC miner. I loved this miner! Two or three houseflies would be louder than this miner. It was (and is) quiet and small and put out a tiny amount of heat compared to the BFL 60's. The wattage was also fairly low being between 40 and 50 watts, I think. I soon sold both of the Butterfly Labs 60's (at a loss) and bought another Rockminer. This is a great entry-level miner and at the moment they are dirt cheap on e-Bay.

Unfortunately, with these two Rockminers my total Giga hashes were now lower than before and my rate of earning Bitcoin pretty much halved - that and the difficulty is always increasing. Having these two quiet miners was Heaven compared to those loud and hot BFLs so you would think I would have doubled down on just these great little miners. Maybe I should have, but that isn't what happened. 

In my dealing with the Rockminer company I became aware that they had another miner that produced 110 GH/s at better efficiency. The New R-Box 2.0 miner is 3 times faster than the "old" R-Box, at a more cost-effective price (ie., the watts used per GH is better). More GH and more Bitcoin with less heat and less electric use per work done made buying these units a done deal for me. Add to that a few people online said they were quiet too. I ordered one to try it out.

It was not very quiet. Quieter than a lot of miners, yes, but noisy enough for a condo. Following my earlier experience with the two BFL Singles, I decided to swap out the two original internal cooling fans for two quieter fans. The fans were indeed quieter but also a little slower which meant that the unit ran a little hotter than when I got it but well within the safe operating temperature range (maybe 10 degrees C warmer). Now I had a 110 GH miner which ran pretty quietly and with just moderate heat output into the room. That heat output was appreciated anyway since it was winter and the heat added to the warmth of the house. Win-win.

So with my new favorite miner installed I moved to sell (reluctantly, but I had to get the funds for the new miners) my first BFL 10 GH miner and the two slower Rockminer 32 GH miners and replace them with however many of these Rockminer R-Box 2's as I could afford. Over the next couple of months I built up to six of them.

I set up two stacks of three each on top of our unused gas fireplace in the living room and they warmed up the place for the rest of the winter as well as providing about 650 GH/s. The electrical usage of this setup, including power supply and a small laptop running 24/7 computer was probably 800 watts or so. 

All was well until spring and the warmer temperatures outside became more frequent. Find out what happened then in the next installment of On Bitcoin Mining...

(Some Black Arrow Prospero Bitcoin miners for sale here)

Monday, June 20, 2016

On Bitcoin Mining 2

My first Bitcoin mining computer when I heard about Bitcoin and Bitcoin mining in 2014 was my PC and that is probably the case for many people when they hear about Bitcoin mining. But even in 2014 a personal computer was woefully inadequate as a Bitcoin miner and even expensive and powerful PC graphics cards were on the way out due to the rise of specialized Bitcoin mining computers known as ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). These special mining computers could do so much more work and much faster than graphics cards or CPUs. But using my PC was just a way to see how the process worked. So I got an account at a mining pool called Bitminter and tried out their Bitcoin mining software and saw how hashing for Bitcoins worked, even at the very slow rate my computer graphics card offered. I was hooked.

Butterfly Labs Jalapeno My first credible Bitcoin miner was the Butterfly Labs BFL 10 GH/s ASIC miner. (GH/s is Giga hash per second or billions of hashes per second. Hashes are calculations.) It actually averaged about 11 GH/s. At the time it was $350. This was a very good entry-level USB miner and worked well with Bitminter's mining App. It does get a bit hot for its size and it is a little bit loud too but not too bad. Butterfly Labs is still selling these apparently and they can also be found on eBay for very little money. These are very good miners for hobbyists who want to see how Bitcoin mining works but there isn't much chance of making any profit. It's still a fun, low impact way to get into mining (meaning low impact on your electricity bill and not technically challenging). I actually wish I still had that first Bitcoin miner rather than selling it to reinvest in other equipment.

After using this for a couple weeks by itself, I decided I wanted to increase my hashing power. Because I was happy with the USB connectivity and the compatibility with Bitminter's App, I decided on getting a couple slightly used Butterfly Labs BFL Single SC 60 GH/s ASIC miners off of eBay. This increased my hashing power to about 120 GH/s. This increased hashing power increased the amount of Bitcoin I received. The only problem was that these miners were as loud as jet engines when they arrived. Loud and hot! There was not much chance my wife would put up with their noise in our condo for very long. I read some posts on forums online about how to deal with the noise and the heat that they produce and it was suggested to take the casing off the miners and let them work "naked". They were a little less loud like this because the inlet and outlet grills created much of the noise, but the cheap fans were also equally responsible for extra decibels. So I searched for quieter fans and found some. I swapped out the old fans with the new quieter ones and though the units ran a little hotter because the fans were slower, they were still within the safe operating temperature range of the miners. 

Summer was coming and the miners which added warmth to the house in the cool spring were adding a lot of unwanted heat as the hot days multiplied. I needed a way to get rid of the heat. What I did was to make a contraption using heating and cooling hose and other ducting accessories from Home Depot to vent the heat from the miners directly out a nearby window. Problem solved. I wish I had a picture of the setup for you but I didn't think I'd be posting about the subject in the future and didn't take any pictures of it.

Of course, I wasn't happy to stay static in terms of hashing power or equipment. I talk about my next miners in the next installment of On Bitcoin Mining.

(Some Black Arrow Prospero Bitcoin miners for sale here)

Friday, June 17, 2016

On Bitcoin Mining 1

We haven't discussed Bitcoin or Bitcoin mining on this blog before and I have decided to spend a few posts discussing the digital currency. Hopefully you'll find it informative.

If you don't know too much about Bitcoin, there are three ways to look at it.
  1. It's digital money. If you want to buy something or send someone some money (worldwide!) without paying the high fees of PayPal, Western Union, and banks, then Bitcoin is a great way to do it. Transferring money with Bitcoin is very easy (once you have some) and there are no limits and only very TINY fees. Buying things with Bitcoin is also super easy (once you have some). Some places you can spend Bitcoin: Bitcoin Shop, Newegg.com, Overstock.com, TigerDirect.com, purse.io, spendbitcoins.com, Expedia.com, CheapAir.com.
  2. You can buy Bitcoin as an investment. If you're interested in Bitcoin as an investment, its price today (6/17/2016) is 753 dollars per 1 Bitcoin (BTC). Just a few weeks ago it was $400 or so. It has been rising steadily recently and one can only guess as to why, but one reason may be that the reward for solving a block in the blockchain will soon be halved from 25 Bitcoins to 12 Bitcoins. (The blockchain is the record of the transaction.) If you do want to buy Bitcoins it is getting easier than ever. You can buy fractions of a bitcoin as well, if you don't have $753 for a full Bitcoin. These are some places to buy Bitcoin

3.  You can mine for Bitcoins and use those mined Bitcoins to spend or send or use them as investment capital. To mine for Bitcoins you need to buy a special computer that's made especially to mine for Bitcoin. Bitcoin mining is one of those areas in life where you have to spend money to make money. You really need to go "all in" if you want to profit from mining Bitcoin. The biggest miners spend tens of thousands of dollars. Don't expect to make a profit if you spend $20 or $100. You can certainly enjoy Bitcoin mining as a hobby at this low investment but if you want to profit from Bitcoin mining you need to shell out at least hundreds of dollars and have a relatively low electricity cost. I will go more deeply into Bitcoin mining in subsequent posts.
In the following posts, I am not going to go into the history of Bitcoin or its creator or any other material that some other websites do a fine job covering (but I will try to point you to where the info lives). In these posts, I'm just going to discuss Bitcoin from my point of view, which is mainly the mining of Bitcoin for investment point of view. I hope you find it interesting!

(Some Black Arrow Prospero Bitcoin miners for sale here)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Letter to Amazon.com

Letter to Amazon.com,

I have been an Amazon customer since the beginning of the Internet I think. Today I have seen some news that disturbs me greatly.

If CEO of Amazon.com and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos decides to pursue this idea of hurting Donald Trump's campaign for president (and/or drop his products) I will divest myself of my monetary relationship with Amazon. I will drop my Prime membership, buy from other online stores instead, delete Amazon Video from my Roku, sell my Kindle and get a Nook, delist my books from KDP and Createspace and any other dealings I have as well.

Keep your politics out of business or lose customers!

Monday, May 9, 2016

15 Reasons Why I Am #NeverHillary

Never Hillary

Hillary and Russian Foreign Minister
The following are some of the reasons that I would never vote for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States (in no particular order).

She supports raising taxes on the wealthy.

She supports amnesty for all illegal aliens.

Condones the breaking of federal law in her support for illegal aliens.

Supports extending Obamacare to illegal aliens.

She wants to build on the Obamacare fiasco.

She supports abortion.

Hillary supports paid family leave which raises taxes to pay for employees extended time off.

She wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $12.00 per hour and supports communities raising it higher than that. This is something that should be left to market forces and not imposed on businesses since it has the effect of creating layoffs for thousands of people and making products more expensive.

She supports the climate change hoax and taxing oil companies to pay for green energy schemes.

She supports increased gun control. 

Hillary supports free college, which is financially unrealistic and ruinous in a country with debts and deficits like the U.S. In my opinion, college should not be free but something that has value to the student, something that needs to be worked for and cherished. Look at the free public education system and how that has failed. Do we want college to go that way too?

Hillary Clinton kept a computer server on her own property which received and sent classified e-mails and which put United States classified information at risk. This server was very likely hacked. General David Petreus was convicted for a much weaker offense. Her aides deleted 32,000 emails from the server dated during the same time period, that she regarded as personal and private before turning over the server to the government. This alone is obstruction of justice.

Hillary participated in a lie/cover-up of the Benghazi terror attack which killed four Americans including an ambassador who repeatedly asked for her help. She knew it was a terror attack (it was on the anniversary of 9/11) but lied and said to the American people that it was retaliation for a You-Tube video. As Secretary of State there was at least incompetence involved and perhaps malfeasance. 


Clinton pursued a disastrous strategy to topple Kaddafi in Libya by supporting rebels with weapons and American and NATO military power which has destabilized the country and the region. Statements like the following alone should disqualify her:
"We are currently doing everything we can to bomb, strafe and use missiles to carry the rebels into power in Libya. We want them to win. We just don’t know who they are.” Hillary Rodham Clinton

She voted for a military solution to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and later changed her mind.



And for those of you saying that they will vote for her because she is a woman and that we are ready for a woman for president, please remember that qualifications and integrity are what should suit a person for president, not the gender of the candidate. Besides, we have had other women run for higher office who had more integrity than Mrs. Clinton (Michelle Bachmann, Carly Fiorina, even Sarah Palin).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Demonization Machine

Conservative talk radio and Republican PACs have sabotaged the last two U.S. presidential elections and as a result gave us a President Barack Obama in both of them - the most liberal, divisive and constitutionally destructive president in U.S. history. A number of these radio shows continually bashed McCain and Romney during those two primaries and damaged their reputations so much that they could not recover for the general election, and many talk show hosts are again in the process of sabotaging the 2016 election. The PACs (political action committees) are just as bad and if they had held their fire and their tens of millions of dollars during the primaries of the 2008 and 2012 elections we may never have had Obamacare, and Libya, and ISIS, just to name a few. As for radio, I am speaking particularly of Glenn Beck and Mark Levin who are doing the kneecapping and who have very large audiences, but it is certainly not limited to just them.

What the intraparty destruction of other candidates does is make some Republicans and Independents so hate or fear the other candidate that once their guy or gal loses and it comes down to the general election, they just can't see themselves voting for the Republican candidate because they have been painted as so flawed and so evil that they don't vote or vote for a third-party candidate in protest. What we then end up with is a liberal Democrat president in the last two presidential elections. That alone should have been enough to motivate Republicans and conservative independents to vote for the Republican nominee, but as I say, the Republican nominee was seen as damaged goods by such a wide majority of Republican voters (due to the Demonization Machine) that they didn't feel like they wanted to have to vote for the lesser of two evils yet again and so didn't. The result of this is Obamacare, a lower standard of living, a lawless president with a weak foreign policy, etc, etc.

Of course the candidates in this 2016 election year are no better. It is ugly the tactics they use to destroy the other guy. Citizenship has been brought up, accusations of lies and financial mismanagement, character assassination, mocking.

What happens after all of this is that the supporters of each candidate get on Twitter and Facebook and double down on the trash talk. Twitter is the place where ridiculous claims about the candidates go to fester and metastasize into viral slander and unsupported lies.

So whether it is Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio who ends up as the Republican nominee for President, the dirty fight leading up to the nomination is already souring voters in regards to the other candidates. Beck says he won't vote for Trump if he is nominated. What if a couple million of his listeners follow suit? Levin is clearly pro-Cruz and quite anti-Rubio and anti-everyone else. If the nominee is someone other than Ted Cruz will his support for that nominee be like it was when the fight had settled on a Romney nomination after months of kneecapping? Tepid at best? Will his listeners again not bother to vote because they have been schooled in all that is wrong with the nominee?

An Obama presidency would never have occurred if Republicans and independents had held their noses and voted for the "lesser of two evils" because the U.S. certainly has had the GREATER of two evils for the last seven years. The lesson to be learned is first, that there is no perfect candidate. The second lesson is that talk radio hosts (and PACs) have a huge impact on their listeners and ought to consider their culpability when it comes to that influence. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh seem to have had the right tone in 2016. Though one knows who they might favor to be the nominee they don't bring the weight of their influence like a hammer onto the candidates, saving the brunt of their attacks for the Democrat challengers.

Unfortunately, the same thing seems to be happening this time around, but we may just be lucky that the present Democrat candidates will cause the same sort of voter apathy in 2016 which will help the Republican candidate win in November. But if a Republican wins in November it won't be because the Demonization Machine isn't well-oiled, because indeed it is operating as well as ever.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Devil's Poison: How Fluoride Is Killing You - A Book Review


http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-devils-poison-dean-murphy/1112607239?ean=9781425144845

Fluoride is not a vitamin, and not a mineral necessary for human health. It is a caustic, highly oxidative and reactive poison that has no business being anywhere near our water supplies, foods, or in our toothpastes. Fluoride kills and inhibits all forms of life and fluorine is the most reactive element on the planet.

The book The Devil's Poison lays out the facts concerning this much misused element with facts supported by scientific study after scientific study. If you just consider the simple facts that after eating grass high in fluoride, cows are not able to control their muscles to the point of not being able to stand or the fact that "sodium fluoride is used in military grade nerve gasses like Sarin (the same sodium fluoride you brush your teeth with)" and is used in rat poison, cockroach poison and as wood preservative, then you might pause before feeding you or your children fluoride. 


The Devil's Poison illustrates that the effects on the human body at low but daily doses are the probable cause of many human disorders and diseases, just as if we ingested arsenic, cyanide or DDT at daily levels that didn't kill us would likely have long-term chronic and deletorious effects on our health. The author even goes so far as to say in the Introduction that "exposure to fluorine and fluoride compounds has caused more disease and deaths than any other substance known to mankind." He then goes on in the following pages of the book to support that statement.

Read this book and other books and then consider drinking water without fluoride in it and brushing your teeth with toothpaste without fluoride. Just these simple steps alone may go a long way to mediating a number of health problems, most of which are explained in this well-researched book. Thanks to the author, Dr. Dean Murphy, DDS for digging into fluoride's sordid past and shining a light on something in our diets that should not be in our diets. And don't worry about your teeth, the author of the book, a dentist, and numerous studies cited suggest that fluoride is not beneficial for teeth at all and in fact harms the dental substrate, weakening teeth.


The book is available in ebook and print formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Another good source of information on fluoride's risks to health is the Fluoride Action Network.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Leave the Oil in the Ground?


It is the dream of many liberals, and environmental activists, including President Obama, to leave petroleum in the ground. It is a pipe dream, however, and any effort to implement such an agenda before we are ready with other comparable energy sources will choke the United States' economy and standard of living and that of the rest of the world. Solar and wind energy do not have the advantages that oil has such as portability and energy density and may never be the equal of oil in that regard. Fusion energy seems to always be out of reach, but if that source of clean energy ever became viable it would go a long way towards keeping some oil in the ground.

Oil is not used just for burning in our automobiles, trucks, ships, trains, planes, homes and businesses. It is also used in various types of plastics which are in almost every product we use (computers, water bottles, smart phones, toothbrushes, refrigerators, cars, hospital beds, airplanes, toys, shoes and millions more products). Oil is also used in constructing pharmaceutical drugs which save lives and relieve suffering. It is also used in asphalt for roads.

We couldn't leave the oil in the ground at this point in civilization's development unless we wanted to give back 200 years of civilizational development. We will always have some need for petroleum, at least until we can create the molecules we want directly from atoms.


Why is there oil in the ground?

Oil has got to be the most unexpected and greatest treasure to civilization that has ever been found in the ground on planet Earth. Humans had got along without oil for most of their history but it has been the fuel of industry and progress for the last 150 years. Without petroleum we'd still be using horses to get around, firewood or coal for heat and candles for light. It is unexpected because when you look at a planet you don't imagine that there could be oceans worth of fuel buried beneath its surface and over the millennia that we have lived on this Earth no scientists imagined such a thing. Oil has been known of in small quantities and by few people over thousands of years but its potential for use and the extent of its existence was unguessed at. And oil is the greatest treasure because of its unexpected extent, its truly mindboggling quantity (perhaps 50 trillion gallons used so far). The very fact that billions of people for the last 150 years have used oil directly or indirectly and it has not run out, in fact may not even be halfway gone, is a miracle or a coincidence of magnificent proportions. The fact that a burgeoning civilization found a plentiful fuel source just when it needed it (when the internal combustion engine was invented) and that it would last as long as it has is indeed a miracle.

Why is there oil in the ground and why is there so much of it there? 

Oil is produced deep underground where extreme pressure on dead carboniferous microbiological life forms results in a sludge which happens to be flammable. There is a smaller school of thought which says that petroleum is produced by purely geologic and chemical actions without biologic input (abiogenic petroleum origin theory). Whichever method produces the oil, clearly there is a great source of material. The production of oil continues as we use it because those same sources for the creation of oil whether biologic or not still exist in large amounts. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the pace of production is probably much slower than the usage of it, so at some point we may run out. If you subscribe to the mainstream theory that petroleum is derived from biological sources then clearly there is a lot of source material for making oil. Bacteria is supposed by scientists to make up most of the life on Earth by weight by far. Add to this zooplankton, plankton, algae and other life from the sea and you have a huge possible source of carbon for petroleum production. Over time this and other dead carbon-based life forms migrate down through the soil and become compressed under evermore pressure and heat in sedimentary rock. Molecular changes occur. That's the theory.

So we are left with the fact that we have oil under our feet - a lot of it. Do we use it or do we not? I look at it this way. Nature produces apples to be eaten so we and many other animals eat them. You could say that they are a gift of God or the bounty of Mother Nature. The same can be said of oil. Nature creates oil to be used or God creates oil as a gift to meet our energy needs. Everything has a purpose, an apple is a sweet and healthy food as well as a method of transporting seeds away from an apple tree. On our Earth, water's purpose is to support life. Oil's purpose is not to hide in caves 1000 feet below the surface but to bubble up to the surface and be used as the gift that it is for energy production and manufacturing of certain products. 


Yes, burning oil produces pollution and carbon dioxide, but cars, trucks and planes are using it more efficiently than ever, and the exhausts from newer vehicles are much cleaner now than they have ever been. Carbon infusion into the atmosphere is down over the last few years. This gives us more time to find fuels or energy sources like fusion and improved batteries that can replace the dirtier fossil fuels. We'll get there. Let's be patient and wait for the scientists and engineers to do their thing before we throw away a potent source of energy that was clearly placed inside the Earth by Mother Nature (or as I believe, God) for us to use in our progression as a civilization. If we don't wait, if we truncate our reliance on  petroleum without something of equal potency to replace it we will sabotage our economies, progress and increase human suffering.

Technology is advancing in spectacular ways in the first 15 years of the new millennium. If we're patient and persistent in our technological progress, I am certain that the energy developments that we need to replace fossil fuels will come. But throwing away a resource before it is actually obsoleted is like flattening your tire on the last pit stop of the race and expecting to win.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Global Warming

Photo Caption: http://abergavennyas.org.uk















The Earth next to the Sun in a comparison of sizes to scale. If there is global warming, I doubt that the Sun would have anything to do with it since the mighty Earth could shrug off any energy fluctuations from the puny Sun.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good-bye Windows 8

Look at that Start button on the left compared to the new Windows 8.1 Start button. Beautiful versus flat and uninspired. The Windows Start button signifies and encapsulates the tale of two operating systems from one company. One great and one not so great.

In that vein, I am happy to announce that I made the decision to dump the carnival version of Windows, Windows 8, and go back to Windows 7 on my personal home computer. I love it. It's like coming back from Bizarro World to reality. The main impetus for me making the trip back in time to a more lovely and functional operating system was the disappearing scroll bar. If'n you don't know what I am talking about, it is the fact that the scroll bar disappears after three seconds of inactivity in many windows and programs within Windows 8 and 8.1. It may be a bugaboo or a mental problem but I really am aggravated by the disappearing scroll bar, especially in Windows mail (where it causes you to open emails you would not have opened because you click on an email expecting there to be a scroll bar where your mouse cursor is. Uggg!) and also occurs in Microsoft Office products like Word. I use Microsoft Word all the time and I want a scroll bar that doesn't disappear after three seconds. I tried finding ways to keep the scroll bar from disappearing in the settings of Windows 8 and Word and found nothing. I Googled the issue and found there is no way to resolve it. And the scroll bar that is foisted on the user in Windows 8, Word 2013 and all the current Web browsers is a flat, 2D, crappy looking scroll bar that looks better gone frankly, except for the fact that I want and need to see a scroll bar. Well, enough of that issue. You get the idea. It was enough to get me to say good-bye to Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows 10 looks like it is not going to take care of that issue either. So sayonara hachi.

Other reasons I don't like Windows 8: 
  • It is all 2D, whereas Windows 7 Aero has 3D buttons and scroll bars and see thru frames. It is functional and lovely. Many portions of Windows 8 actually look the same as DOS program screens (i.e., from the 80s). In many ways it is multiple steps backwards in presentation of the user interface.
  • The bothersome charm bar that appears when you don't want it to and doesn't come when you call it is unawesome to say the least.
  • The new Windows Start button in Windows 8.1 is also unawesome leading you only to the Windows 8.1 "start screen" which should actually be called the Apps screen. Finding an app (or software program) usually takes much longer than when looking for a program in the program menu of the Windows 7 start menu unless it is one of the apps on the first page of the App screen.

Speaking of browsers, the user interfaces of internet browsers have mirrored the look and functionality of Windows 8 lately and since they all have flat, 2D scroll bars now I have gone back to an earlier version of Firefox. (Even Google's logo is 2D now where it used to be 3D. What's up with that?) As far as browser security is concerned, I am not worried because I have an antivirus suite that I pay good money for. You can find previous versions of various kinds of software at www.oldversion.com. You can't go back too far though with any software, especially browsers, or you lose too much functionality with today's websites. I tried using the last versions of Netscape, but it is basically useless on the internet now. Firefox 9 though is working out okay so far and still has the regular 3D, nondisappearing scroll bars.

Sure, I know that you can start your computer from the Desktop and work many of your tasks from there but Windows 8.1 is always lurking, waiting to spring up in all its colorful ugliness and make you interact with it. If you want to read a piece of literature you don't want to have a comic book pop up in front of you while you're reading. But that's what Windows 8 is like. Windows 8 was not designed for computer users, it was designed for people who have surface knowledge of computers. Not everyone wants to have in-depth knowledge of computers or needs to. Maybe this operating system is good for them, maybe not. It's actually more like an iPad interface than an operating system.

What Microsoft should have done if they wanted to have this Disneyfied operating system is also come out with a separate standard professional version for computer users and businesses (like when they had Windows 98 and Windows NT/2000 sold at the same time, or XP and XP Professional). 

To go back to Windows 7 on my Windows 8 HP laptop was turning into a huge hassle and headache. They really don't want you going back, and make it quite difficult to do so, so I bought a new laptop with Windows 7 already on it and sold my Windows 8 laptop. Headache avoided.

Maybe there is some critical mass number that can be reached whereby if enough users do the same thing Microsoft will get the hint and get rid of the Metro interface idea altogether and not just make some halfway fixes for Windows 10 as they are doing now. If not I am going to be happily using Windows 7 well beyond the date when it is no longer supported.

Now if I could just get my employer to get my work computer back to Windows 7.