Generation DIY

Worldchanging takes an interesting look at the DIY revolution we’ve seen over the past few years in “Generation Fabrication“. For the first time in ages, perhaps for the first time ever, it is possible for the average European or North-American or other first-worlder to create good-quality content and to distribute it to a wide audience. One no longer needs tens of thousands of [insert currency here] to build up a set of tools good enough to make things with machined parts, as one can use free CAD software to design objects and have them machined by sending an email. One can take stunning photos with digital cameras that cost a couple of hundred bucks, and get pretty good at it because not having to pay for film means it’s that much easier to get lots of practice in. This applies to digital video as well. Technologies and services such as podcasting and Flickr mean that distribution of content is almost as easy as thought. Personally, I’m loving it. Being able to create pretty much any type of content with minimal cost outlay is severely awesome.

I recommend you read the Worldchanging article, and bookmark the main page or subscribe to their feed. Every time I check their latest output I am blown away by some new progress or some insightful view into what is changing our world and us. I really can’t speak highly enough of them.

Boreas

Boreas is my laptop, and today I realized yet another of the nice things about having a portable computer: I was at work today emailing back and forth with some friends on a fine point of gaming and I was actually able to look stuff up in the hundreds of gaming books I have scanned and on my computer. Normally it would be “I’ll look that up in the BVD when I get home, but no! I have it right here!

Carbonfund/Terrapass redux

So for some reason my posts about Terrapass [website] and Carbonfund [website] got some unexpected attention. People from both organizations wrote in to clarify points in my post. To recap, and highlight the differences between the two:

  • Terrapass and Carbonfund have the same goal: to offset people’s carbon emission by spending money on processes that will reduce the amount of carbon emitted by industry.
  • The way the two organizations spend their money is different, leading to a difference in price (Terrapass is a little more expensive). Here’s the breakdown:
  • Carbonfund is non-profit, while Terrapass is for-profit (explanation)
  • Carbonfund has a more flexible set of payment options (you can count in your home energy use as well as vehicle energy use, for instance), but Terrapass has a friendlier interface that makes it easier to figure out how much you ought to offset.

First I heard from Eric Carlson, from Carbonfund. He let me know that the two organizations do essentially the same things, but in different proportions. He also pointed out the price difference, and the fact that Carbonfund is non-profit. Then I heard from Tom Arnold, from Terrapass, who clarified that the reason Terrapass is more expensive is because of a heavier emphasis on wind energy. I am very appreciative of both representatives for taking the time to comment here.

Conclusion: if you want to offset your carbon emissions in the most cost-efficient way possible, you are probably better off with Carbonfund. If you want to pay attention to where each tonne goes, compare the use ratios of the two organizations, and Terrapass might be more to your liking (if you like the heavier emphasis on wind power, for example). If you can’t decide, I’d suggest a hybrid option: pay Terrapass for your car, and Carbonfund for your home.

Headaches

I’m having headaches again. I go through a mental checklist of the things that cause my headaches, trying each remedy in turn.

Dehydration. Drink some water. Wait a while. Drink more water. Feeling any better? A bit? Wait a while. Drink more water. Still got the headache.

Caffeine withdrawal. I haven’t had any caffeine today. Get a coffee. Get a Coke to drink while the coffee is cooling. Drink the Coke and half the coffee. Feel better? No.

Hunger. No, I had a good-sized lunch. I was quite sated.

Protein deficiency. Nope, had lots of protein last night and today. And iron as well, as long as we’re counting.

Discounting the possibility of my just having caught some bug, this leaves one more cause: stress. My headache is probably caused by stress. And the bastarding thing about it is that there’s nothing I can do right now to fix that. The weekend’s coming up, so I’ll sleep then. Perhaps getting four hours a night all week wasn’t so great for me. But for now I’ve got to keep working for another hour or two and not think about the possibility that I’ll have to come in over the weekend.

Quick Meal Ideas

I am all about simple, easy-to-make meals that taste godly. A lot of the meals I make when I’m by myself involve rice with some stuff mixed in, in a bowl. This is severely yummy. For example, here’s what I made tonight:

    Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of rice (or 1 cup if you’re a pig like me)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped large
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup mushrooms
  • Sambal Oelek or other hot stuff, to taste. Or not, if you’re not into capsaicin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • olive oil
  • soya sauce

Here’s the way I make rice. It always works out perfectly for me, but different people try different ways. I have tried this with a variety of different kinds of rice. If you have a tendency to make crunchy or soggy rice, give this a shot:

  1. Put the rice in a smallish pot with 1.5 times as much water as rice, and put in the tumeric. Put the pot on the stove, at full temperature.
  2. Keep a close eye on the rice. The second it starts boiling you want to put it on a low flame, stir it up, and cover it. If you have a gas stove you’re laughing, but if you have an electric stove that takes a while to cool down I suggest you swap burners and put the other burner on low.
  3. It takes about 20 minutes for the rice to cook. This varies depending on what sort of rice you’re making and where you are in the world (no shit). Thing is, it’s important to not open the lid up too often. If you do, steam escapes, and your rice winds up crunchy. Once the pot stops steaming so much (after about 15 minutes) sneak a peek by lifting the lid up just a bit on one side.
  4. The way you will know the rice is ready is that you will not see any water in the pot. You should be able to tip the pot to a 90-degree angle, hold it for a few seconds, and no water will accumulate.

While the rice is cooking, chop up the garlic, onions and mushrooms. They all should be chumked about the same size — large for garlic, small for onions, and just about normal for mushrooms.

Fry up the onions and garlic in some olive oil, over a hot flame (or element). Add some soya sauce and stir until the onions are starting to get transparent. Then throw in the mushrooms and stir it all up well. Scoop a big ol’ spoonful of your hot stuff in and stir it all up. Then cover it and let it simmer, stirring occasionally.

Once the rice is done simply dump the mushroom mix into it, mix it all up, and serve it in a bowl or on a plate. Alternately, you can put the rice on a plate and put the mushroom stuff on top, but I like mixing it all up.

And there it is. Hot and delicious, filling and proteiny, and the ingredients probably cost you about $2 or something. Enjoy!