Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You keep using that word...

CNN ran a piece about a hippie in Florida who is so much more self righteous than you or I that, like some New Age version of a Fifth Century Stylite, he swore a mighty oath to live without oil.

The article leads with a picture of his electric bike, with its lead-acid batteries in their plastic cases and a great big plastic tub on the back.

Apparently these are made of a special kind of plastic, consisting of a mixture of unicorn fur and smugness, or something.


TotC said...


You point out their hypocrisy and they go and inhale some more unicorn farts.

Blackwing1 said...

If it's an electric-powered bike, then we can just refer to it as "coal-fueled" to further irritate them with a harsh slice of reality.

Bram said...

I think I would rather be sent to a Gulag than live in Florida without air conditioning.

West, By God said...

Ya know, as much as I hate hippies, it is kinda lonely over here in Iraq without 'em.

There are plenty of people here to make fun of, but it just isn't as satisfying when the object of your deprecation has an AK-47.

Anonymous said...

My long-term goal is to do something similar and I'm far from a tree-hugging hippie. Another benefit of providing your own energy is getting off other folks' systems of support and giving less money to .gov in the form of energy taxes and such.

There are a lot of self-sufficient types who do similar things but aren't mocked because their motivation is different.


"Patrick Vanderwyden uses solar power to run his water heater, hot tub, air conditioner, fans, and his refrigerator at his home of 24 years."

"Critics of electric vehicles point out that electricity is mainly produced by coal-powered plants which, in turn, create large amounts of greenhouse gases.

...Instead, Vanderwyden drives his electric bike charged from his solar panels as often as possible"

Anonymous said...

Soybean oil?

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...


"My long-term goal is to do something similar and I'm far from a tree-hugging hippie."

It's not his attempt at self-sufficiency I'm mocking, but his attempt at self-righteousness.


"Soybean oil?"

Oh, of course. Harvested by solar-powered tractors, no doubt.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

And soy beans fertilized with cheap and plentiful tropical bat guano.

Anonymous said...

Now if he can harvest the energy in these filthy, foul, fucking (heh) lovebugs, he'll have all the power he needs, the undying gratitude of millions, and then go island-hopping about the caribbean in a big ol' motoryacht with bell jet ranger heli accessory. AT

Anonymous said...

"air conditioner, fans, and his refrigerator a"

A solar array that can run those things?! Nifty. BIG. $$$$$

Also, standard roof shingles - petroleum, it just goes on and on.

fast richard said...

I have an electric bicycle that I cobbled together a few years ago, an I've been fascinated by photovoltaic panels ever since I was a little kid. I have yet to find anyone selling solar panels that make enough power to justify their cost, unless they are to be used someplace where the regular power grid is not available. Most of the people who promote such "alternative" power sources for widespread use, use economic smoke and mirrors to justify their proposals.

Desertrat said...

Hey, they make plastic from veggies. Really. The insulation on Ford wiring harnesses were (at least at one time) made in Brazil from veggies.

Rats and mice call such plastic, "Yummies." So do rock squirrels, I've found, since the little (bleeps) love the insulation on the power wires of my solar-pannel/battery-powered bird feeder.

BobG said...

Funny how all these people with their great Gaia-saving ideas all seem to live in nice warm places like southern California and Florida.
I'd like to see him try that lifestyle here where I live. His bike wouldn't be too good during winter, slogging through a half foot of snow and his solar panels wouldn't do for shit when it's 5ºF outside and you have an inversion shutting off the sunlight for days and weeks at a time.
I applaud his creativity, but it's not really that practical for most people.

Frank W. James said...

NJT: The bat guano would only be needed for phosphate and potassium. Soybeans 'fix' their own nitrogen requirements from the air because they are a legume.

Come to think of it, isn't bat guano low in phosphate and potassium, but high in nitrogen? Not sure about that?...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Andrew said...

Wow, Frank doesn't know s#!t...


WV: heedlyst -- you must obey!

George said...

'MAJOR BAT GUANO, if that is your REAL NAME?' (to all with apologies to S. Kubrick)

og said...

"Apparently these are made of a special kind of plastic, consisting of a mixture of unicorn fur and smugness, or something. "

It's called "fucktardium"(Fu) It's the element right after "Butt Uglium"(Bu) (the material a Honda Element is composed of) in the periodic table.

Fucktardium is an element common in certain areas of the planet, with large concentrations around major metropolitain areas. Fucktardium smells like Patchouli, and can be used to annoy anyone. Fucktardium has no known value.

WV: Scurgove. Where fucktardium is mined.

monkeyfan said...

Organic zombie survival tip: If the hippies achieve their communitarian utopia and use all the bat guano to fertilize the crops that feed and power the new people's republic, the survivors can always get nitrates for their muskets by pissing on compost heaps.

theirritablearchitect said...



Man has been using carbon-based secretions, liquids and rocks for building, modifying his environment, keeping warm, blah, blah, blah...since before he could accurately keep any sort of record of it.

You are at the top of the food chain because of it. Quit apologizing for it.

Now we have incredibly cheap and reliable means for doing little more than tapping the ground in the right spot and syphoning off what we want, for use in making our lives better and/or easier.

Oh, and all of that other fancy, shiny technology that is supposedly going to save us...yeah, the much vaunted PV-array, that was developed and built with coal, oil and natural gas, so quit with the sanctimonious finger-wagging. Get it much closer, and you will lose it.

If you don't like it, piss off.

Kristopher said...

Dumbass is using lead-acid AGM batts.

If he had a clue he would be using Lithium Iron Phosphate. Much lighter, holds more power, and doesn't have Peukert effect sag issues.

Oh, and everything he owns, including the clothes on his back, required Gaia to be shagged good and hard.

Hippie ... please ... just shut up.

GuardDuck said...

This guy is barely a blip on the ironic self-righteous-o-meter compared to the pacific northwest's soy latte, recycled napkin, eco-friendly shopping bag, whole foods, Toyota Prius, urban composting, sort your own recycles, fixie riding, six thousand miles of roadway turned into bike lanes, hemp fiber, medical marijuana, dreadlocked, it's for the children, earth liberation front, animal liberation front, mass transit and on and on ad infinitum.

Windy Wilson said...

It would be so cool to get this guy, or perhaps some smug Pacific Northwesterner Leftist to volunteer for a sort of Green/Ecological "Clean House" episode where all the "global warming' un-ecological non-green stuff was taken out of his house, starting with plastics and anything that required electricity or refining through chemicals or heat. He might be left with a scraggly indigenous plant to shelter under, a breechcloth made of hemp, and a pointy stick to get ready for Winter with.
It would be amusing to do this to Ed Begly, Jr., but I think his lawyers are too smart to let it happen.

Ed Foster said...

I won't even try, what with Og, Frank James, and Architect covering the ground so well.

Kristopher has to get kudos for the Peukert drop ref too.

Tonight gents, I'm just sitting back and admiring good work. And sucking a Guinness. Thank Y'all.

Desertrat said...

Batteries? Lead? Lithium? Did somebody say strip-mining? With diesel-powered equipment?

Aluminum? As in strip-mining for bauxite? With beaucoup electricity required to make alumina? Leaving monstrous piles of slag? Followed by more beaucoup electricity to turn alumina into aluminum?

Yeah, let's have that battery power with no environmental impact.

And then there's nickel...


fast richard said...


Can you point me to a supplier for those Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries? I would be looking for about 12 to 20 amp hours at 36 to 40 volts and a maximum of $150 for the assembly, to be competetive with AGMs.

Laughingdog said...

Maybe I'm missing something. But I don't see that guy say anything about being completely oil free. Just because the "journalist" titled it "three years without oil" doesn't mean that's what the dude thinks he's doing.

But I guess beating at a straw man makes it more fun for you.

GuardDuck said...

Beating a hemp man is fun Laughingdog,

See, he says it's his 'personal mission to cut his energy usage by switching to alternative energy', and it is fun to point out that he is only cutting his energy usage at the local level while ignoring the significantly higher usage of energy needed globally in order to produce and make workable those 'alternative' energy sources.

When they say 'think globally, act locally' and you triumph-ally show how you cut your energy usage to zero while ignoring how many amazonian rain forests were clear cut and how many baby seals were slaughtered in order for that to happen then you are doing it wrong.

og said...

Straw man?

He makes it extremely clear in the video that he wants to live "off the grid" so to speak. And yet his truck has to be plugged in to operate, his solar panels are full of products made with oil, his house is full of products made with oil and without the chemicals from oil, gas, and coal, and the electricity produced by those things, he'd be living in a damp depression in the ground, covered with smelly woven hemp, stirring his hollowed-out-rock full of macrobiotic fuckstick flakes with a spoon carved (Hopefully) out of a poison ivy vine. Which is all any of us are saying. No straw man here, it is this idiots clear actions that we disdain.

randian said...

Instead, Vanderwyden drives his electric bike charged from his solar panels as often as possible

Apparently, carbon dioxide is a horrid pollutant, but metallic waste from solar panel manufacturing is A-OK.

unix-jedi said...

Yeah! Instead of imported oil, let's rely on imported lithium!

Kristopher said...

Fast Richard: Best place to get A123 Systems LiFePO4 cells is a Dewalt service center.

Ask them if you can have any dead customer trade-in 36V powertool packs.

Each one has 10 3.3Volt-2.2Amp-Hour cewlls in it, and their piss-poor BMS boards generally kill only one of two of the cells. The whole pack then gets shitcanned, even though it has 8 or 9 good cells in it.

Do not wear any finger-rings or other jewelry while cutting the tabs with tin-snips, lest you get your hand accidentally spotwelded to the pack.

You can get the cells from new packs, but that gets expensive. Make your own BMS.

More info can be had here.

bluesun said...

At the town that I go to school at, there is a big silicon plant. It uses the same amount of electricity as the city of Billings (~130,000 people). And that is just one stage of the process to make solar panels. TANSTAAFL.

fast richard said...


Thanks for the suggestion. That might make a good project for sometime this summer. The new packs are too expensive, but scrounging cells from old packs might make sense.

theirritablearchitect said...


My glass returns the tip, in your general direction, sir, and, nice choice for your libations.


Matt G said...

I liked his coal-powered pickup, though.