Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lincvolt Project update from 1/9/2009

This is an update on Neil Young's continuing Lincvolt project, which I believe has been ongoing for a number of years can get a better idea of it in the vid below.

It's also worth checking out some of the related videos on this project.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lincvolt in action

The Lincvolt Project explained

The following is the first of a series of three You Tube videos about Neil Young's Lincvolt Project, filmed a few months back in September of 2008. It looks like he's taking time between dates in an ongoing tour to work on this.

It's a little bit exhaustive, but should serve as a good foundation to figuring out some of the mechanics of what the project involves. Auto techies should especially take note...this sounds like innovative stuff!

An Introduction to Neil Young's Lincvolt Project

The following is a clip of Neil Young on the David Letterman Show talking about, among other things, mainly his project of taking a 1959 Lincoln Continental and converting it from a 10 MPG gas guzzling beast into a hybrid that runs efficient enough to get over 100 MPG.

It's a combination of using a new and experimental generator and blending of alternative fuels...really interesting stuff...we'll be keeping an eye on the progress of this! See below.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ahhh, it's called the PENNY FARTHING!

If you read the last post, I thought I was dealing with what was referred to as a grandfather bike.

Apparently they're officially called "penny farthings."

Mystery penny farthings are all over the internet.

There's a few current makers online who manufacture replicas of the bike, which had its heyday in the 1880s, it appears. You can get one for between $1-3K. Not cheap! The models are backed up with parts too, which is nice.

Apparently they're really hard to ride, and really bumpy. New riders spend much of their initial time not even riding the bike, but learning to mount it -- which is performed only with a running start, and some balance on a peg that's attached to the frame.

How about that? As if we needed to manufacture more situations to make us vulnerable to injury...why not try to mount a penny farthing?

That's what she said...kidding! Nevertheless, you'll probably die trying...literally.

One question remains. What's up with the weird design? Who invented this thing?

Maybe they thought of mounting horses and the wagon wheel, and took it from there...just a guess. I'm sure wikipedia might lend something to that, but I haven't looked yet.

I can see myself getting one of these. If I do, I'll have to bring out the top hat, put on the three piece suit with my pocket watch, and grow out a handlebar mustache.

Right? Uh, yeah...let's have a seance and contact Timothy Leary while we're at it.

The P-cubed Corner -- Grandfather bikes are NOWHERE to be found!

First off, allow me to explain this...and no, I'm not in the middle of some opium-induced binge.

I've always been fascinated with the City Beautiful movement, which canvassed the period from the early 1890s (specifically the Chicago World's Fair) up to America's entry into World War I.

Blame part of it on my career as a city planner, although I found out more about its significance doing reading on my own than what was presented to me in college...or maybe I missed that day of class from drinking a keg of beer.

This was a period of time when the auto hadn't quite taken hold yet, and our nation was making great advances in train, early light rail, and street car technology. In terms of transportation policy in the States, it was a fork in the road, so to speak.

Ideas and invention flourished. We were still riding the momentum of the course Lincoln had set for us in the 1860s. The telephone had just been invented, and use of electricity was growing.

Style and dress wise, the period is also an assault on the senses. Images of three-piece suits, top hats, handlebar mustaches, and those funny-looking muscle guys in striped exercise outfits with those big round dumbells come to mind. The only recent pop culture reference I can think of to the dress of this period is perhaps a photo shoot on the back of a mid-90s (that is, 1990s) CD by the band Phish (of course, why not?).

It was also the era of the grandfather bicycle...however an online Google search revealed ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on this antique form of transportation. I found nothing on wikipedia either.

I'm totally fascinated by this, which makes the search for a grandfather bike even more intriguing. This item is totally turning out to be an enigma of sorts...but nothing online about it? Nothing?

Let me know if any of you find out or know of any resources available out there.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Don't refrigerate Nutella!

Yes, that's what I said.

While I'd heard of it before, I didn't try it until I was in Italy a couple years back, when all the b&b's had it. As a breakfast or snack condiment, I'll start out by saying that NUTELLA F'N ROCKS! It's really, really tasty stuff.

For many of you chocolate lovers out there, you'll probably do back flips after tasting it for the first time. However, despite it's tasty flavor, it's a bit tempermental when it comes to storage.

It's one of the misconceptions of our time. If you put Nutella in the fridge, it will harden. Many American folks will probably run into this issue because:

  • They're new to Nutella. It's more commonly used in Europe.
  • Assuming they know to buy it (it's very tasty); if they do use it, they get it in the large quantity double pack at Costco.
  • The first instinct, once one uses it, is to think of it as something like a jam; thus, refrigeration must be required.
  • What's even more frustrating is that even when you don't refrigerate it, you pretty much need to use it rather quickly; otherwise it will slowly start to harden and crust up on you...and the lid will get this greasy consistency on it, which is probably from evaporation of the liquid inside, I guess?
So here's what to expect when you take Nutella out of the fridge, and procedures in how to deal with it.
  1. When you take Nutella out after it's been in the fridge, it's hard. Really hard.
  2. Put the spoon away, as you're gonna need a knife. A strong butter knife is preferred.
  3. It will be like mining for limestone. You'll have to saw around the sides of the desired piece before trying to extract it.
  4. It may fly out at you. When I dealt with the extraction part of the process, the Nutella wanted to launch itself into orbit.
  5. Once you manage to get it on your bread, don't bother trying to spread it. You'll destroy whatever you just put it now need your handy microwave.
  6. Throw your specimen into the microwave for 30 seconds...don't go beyond that or you might risk "overcooking" the Nutella. You're just trying to soften it.
  7. Hence, bubbling Nutella from microwave = bad. Softened Nutella from microwave = good.
  8. NOW spread it with the knife.
  9. Put the lid back on and secure it tightly.
  10. Uh, maybe place the Nutella back in the cupboard this time.
  11. Thank yourself...and thank you!!!
So there you are...have a Nutella of a day. Good night, and good luck.