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WindTapper's Blog

May 2011

Charity for Cold Indians

I just got a call from a charity asking for help for old Indian folks in Montana. My heart bleeds for them, but it is not my fault that Indian culture does not more successfully take care of its elders. Thanks for tobacco, Indian culture. How's that working out for you?
This dreamy afternoon, after trying to catch up on sleep I missed last night, I think of going to Montana to show Indians how to make wind-powered electric generators from inexpensive materials. Then I started dreaming of electric blankets because that's how I got on their list of people to call for donations. I donated $25 because their folks were freezing last winter. Mind you, I got interested in how Indians live because I found college courses in Anthropology interesting, fun, easy, and relevant to archaeology. Too bad our university doesn't have a graduate program in Anthropology. That is where I would have gone. But I didn't have the money to go to a different school....
So I drifted into Computer Science at our university, Indexing at the Open University, then into Electronics Servicing at a local vocational school.
So anyway, back to my mystical dreams of helping the Indians out West. I imagine there is plenty of wind on The Plains and in the Mountains.... So I was thinking of a flat panel of heating elements I picked up somewhere. Perhaps it came with a waterbed I owned back in the 1980's, and I thought of electric blankets. I wonder if you could heat a house with such flexible arrays of heating elements?
I dreamt of sitting huddled under such a device, or using it for walls of a sort of inside teepee. I got to thinking about how one could put such panels up on walls, and where on walls they would work best. Of course, lower down on the wall is best because heat rises, but the upper corners of walls are usually most bare, and would have the least wear and tear.... Underneath floorboards might actually be the best places -- in crawl spaces....
I got to thinking about alternative places to put such devices as add-ons to one's heating system(s) -- connected to wind-powered electricity generators and not connected to the grid or to the regular house power system.....
So now I am wondering how one could start fabricating heating elements inexpensively, and lo and behold, I'm contemplating home-based electric blanket manufacturing for Indian homes!
Later Note: I started searching the web for flexible heaters and found -- among other things -- a nice site that lists 12-volt electric blankets. This one is for truckers and includes 12-volt coffee pots: . Also, the site has nice info about "How long will my battery last?" at

Slow Times

During our trip to San Diego I sprained my right thumb. Now things are going pretty slowly, as you may imagine. I've been "playing with the pencils" so to speak, waiting for my thumb to heal, before I can wind coils for my electricity generators. Going to movies and unwinding are my basic activities among bouts of trying to do yard work....

While watching Jurassic Park yet again last evening I noticed that the Brontisauri had front legs hinged "backwards" from ours. I also had photos from the San Diego Zoo with similarly backwardly hinged legs -- on the Pink Flamingos:
So, I got to thinking -- while "playing with the pencils." Our arms are hinged "backwards" from our legs. I had always thought of birds as having wings instead of arms, with the flanges (fingers) much longer. I think this is true also of bats. However, if you notice that the Flamingo legs are hinged as are arms are, perhaps you'd consider their legs to correspond, instead, to our arms.

Notice, also, their heads are attached to necks rather low on their bodies. The long necks bring their heads up, but perhaps we should think of flamingos as walking on their "hands," while the wings actually correspond to shriveled legs with long toes.

I will have to check out bat skeletons to see if they also have "backwardly" hinged "knees."

Dear Diary

I am considering closing down this website for a while. My credit card has too many charges on it. I am not quite sure how or who charges the fees for this website. Intuit charges me and I don't recall why I might have signed up for their monthly charges that are separate from Vistaprint charges. I will have to think on this.

Also, nobody e-mails me at this website. No comments other than spam get uploaded here. Why bother? Is this just another vanity press? Why pay for it until I actually have a product to sell? $250 per year is a lot of cash.

I just purchased some goop for insulating the individual windings on my coils, btw.... I just sold books and DVD's on Amazon that will pay for the goop. Whoop-de-doo!

If I do shut down this website -- which I doubt -- I will leave a forwarding e-mail address the day before I decide to quit. OK. Here it is: Put "Windy" in the subject to get my attention. Otherwise your email will probably get screened out.

Later Note:
Checking out my account I see that the subscription has already been charged for a full year, as of May 14, so, I am here for another year, dudettes and dudes.

Potential Part

My policy for designing wind-powered electricity generators is to seek out pieces of this puzzle that are inexpensive and available "off the shelf." Recycling is another side benefit to this policy, but finding a way to house a stacked set of coils inexpensively is what came to mind when I saw the following plastic leach bed devices stacked outside our local Carter Lumber. Each one is $16 and it would take at least two to make a nearly round stand.

These two fit rather snugly together -- spooning as it were in the first picture, shown from the side.

In this light they appear metal, but are merely black plastic, I assure you.

They have vented sides, so that water can escape from them as they lay down in leach beds. Vented, however, is how I view them, say, if laid down with the round side up. The venting and hump, plus screw holes strategically placed -- as is -- make them also to be potential covers for rows of batteries. The pinnacle of the humps are solid, so they could shield batteries from rain. The vents could release -- or rather NOT hoard -- the potentially explosive hydrogen gas that batteries typically give off....

As coil holders, we must investigate the dimensions. The seven coil platforms measure 44 inches in height -- too tall for most corners of our house. The width or longest diameter of the platforms is 33 inches, while the perpendicular radius is only 12 inches. We have a potential elliptic if two are faced and connected together with the hollow inside.

However, I imagine that a solid 4-by-4 on each end of the half platforms would provide plenty of structure to attach the two facing each other. Or even two fence posts could do the job. The two 4-by-4's would have to be pointed on their ends and driven into the ground to provide stability.

For shorter spaces, I imagine I could cut these seven-platform sides down, perhaps getting four platforms times two from each piece.
The coils would not, then, be continuously round, but rather, half rounds, because the surface for connecting the pieces to the fence posts destroys the ability to use whole hoops. However, cutting hoops in half is the least of my worries.... Besides, it is far easier  to coil wire around an open-ended curve than a closed loop.

Family Reunion

My husband attended a conference in San Diego this week and I went with him in order to reunite with relatives I hadn't seen for a long, long time. San Diego is quite a gas! Parts of it remind me of the Pier at Key West at sunset, because of various street entertainments. We ate in several kick-ass restaurants. I say "kick-ass" for their beyond 10-rating flavors, but of course the prices were beyond anything but a once-in-a-lifetime fling. The rest of the time I tried to make due with trail food -- especially on the Amtrak to Glendale from San Diego.
What a lot of wonderful architecture, not to mention historical architecture, lol. I should share a few pix, just to be neighborly, I guess. Which reminds me of what a fellow who sat behind me said, "You take 800 pictures and you might get 10 [or 12] really good ones." His traveling companion was snapping away almost constantly with some fancy equipment that was plugged into the wall of the train. There are grounded plugs about every foot on the Amtrak trains that my aunt and I rode.
In lieu of captions, let me just say that we flew from Houston to San Diego and caught many [auto-contrasted] photos of terrain. I also did the San Diego Zoo, share a few pix of San Diego, and finish with landscape architecture and upholstery from "the other half."

Click on any of the pictures in my blog that you would like to see enlarged.
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