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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Life is a struggle | Embrace nature

Here is another beautiful shot from my adventure out to Wyoming to finish my degree of geology and earth science. Life can be hard sometimes, I feel it helps to take a moment and imagine yourself here at this spot and try to imagine what you feel. The ripples of the water as a breeze picks up, the sounds of the bugs skimming the water that sort of thing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Things I scavenge

Recycled Copper
One thing I really enjoy recycling is any sort of scrap copper I can find. Currently I have only a few pounds hand scrapped. I met with an associate who took me to his old family farm....there I found a whole lot of scrap wire. I have most of it collected but the winter weather has made it very hard.
But remember, there is all sorts of things that can be scavenged from the area and recycled. Just because you do not get rewarded with money does not mean the material should not be recycled.
A very important thing to recycle is old electronics...the little pieces can be reused to make newer electronics.

Recycled Copper
Scrapping metals is a good way to make some additional income but remember to be careful and smart when scavenging. Stealing is never the way to make a quick buck and it never pays. Also getting yourself electrocuted is another potential hazard when scavenging a little too hard.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life moves fast - check out nature

Another opportunity to slow your life down for just a little bit and enjoy the experience of nature. Here is another beautiful landscape taken by myself when I was out in the wilderness. I was not happy to be in Wyoming for the first few days, but it certainly grew on me the more I allowed myself to let go and live in the moment. 
Please take a few minutes to visualize yourself here, feel the cool wind and the hot sun on your face.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beautiful Mountain Landscape

Nothing like taking a minute out of your busy life to look at a beautiful mountain landscape. You could almost imagine yourself right there hiking along and turning around to see this behind you. 
The sun is hot on your skin, but there is a breeze that cools the sweat and you take in a deep breath of that fresh, clean air and you feel at peace.

Wyoming Mountains

Friday, August 22, 2014

Backyard landscaping DIY style

Doing yard work is never fun, but it can be rewarding. With a few tools and some hard work you can get your yard space usable and livable. Sometimes you can watch too much of those home network shows and try and go crazy with design plans to over complicate something that should be straight forward and simple.
If you are like me, young dumb first time home owner, then you know that saving money is essential. When I bought this house it had a decent retaining wall...but it was not straight and it was not flat. Eventually I got sick of looking at the bad backyard landscaping and took on the project. 

Here are some Pictures
Backyard Retaining Wall DIY

We straightened the wall and added some plants. Now it looks much better.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mountain Landscape Enjoy Nature

This picture was taken when I was finishing my degree for Geology and Earth Science. I was out in the middle of no where in Wyoming with about 30 other students. Most of the time during our day the work was to walk around landscapes like this and take notes. It was quite pleasant most days.
The Mountains of Wyoming

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Moon is Alive

Interior of the Moon
Okay so how 'alive' can any celestial body really be? I don't know how you would define an alive planet but
our Earth is certainly alive and one of the main reasons is because it still has an active core. The moon also still has an active core! The moon is not a cold chuck of rock floating around the earth. There is still an internal layer of the moon that generates heat due to gravitational forces.
How can scientists possibly know that? can you really know anything?
Well since we can't really get a drill on the moon and put a thermometer into the core we can only use data we can measure and perceive. This means measuring the different deformations other gravitation fields have on a particular celestial body...the physics gets pretty intense pretty fast so suffice to say we can measure subtle changes in the shape of the moon as it rotates around the Earth.
This change scientists can measure is called a tide...the phenomenon on earth we generally refer to as oceanic tides. The gravitational forces between the sun and the moon are so powerful we can easy see the water displaced in our oceans.

As the moon deforms its inner layers transform some of that energy into heat. That heat maintains the soft layer within the moon. The softer the layer the easier it is for the moon to transfer energy into heat....see the cycle?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Simple ways to become a smarter consumer

What does it mean to be a smarter consumer and why do you care?

Reduce Reuse Recycle
First of all being a smarter consumer means you pay attention to the things you buy in an attempt to reduce waste and help lower the carbon footprint of the population. Lofty goal I know, but if we all do a few simple things being a smarter consumer is not hard at all.
Pay attention to all the disposable things you buy and really try to limit their use. Yes it is much easier to just throw away paper plates and napkins...but watch as your garbage fills and fills. Lucky for you there is a system in place that will remove that garbage every week. Try to imagine the heaps that would accumulate if all you ever used were simple throw away things like plates and silverware.
Pay attention to single use and over packaged items. This one is a little more difficult because you will have to make some sacrifices. This sort of thing means not buying the pre-cut vegetables and fruit at the grocery store. Stop paying for convenience and start paying attention to the amount of packaging you throw away. It really is not hard to cut your own vegetables or fruit.
Here is a list of a bunch of stuff you can live without...I promise:

Paper Billing: I don't know about you but I used to get 20 envelopes a month for bills that I already have automatically scheduled to pay. Take 5 minutes out of your super busy life and sign up for electronic billing. Some companies even offer rewards for signing up!

Land Fill Full of Disposables
Anything disposable: cups, plates, forks, knives, napkins, diapers, razors - do yourself a favor and invest in some decent quality stuff that can be reused again and again. This stuff is really not worth the use in the long run, don't be lazy because you don't want to do a grown up and care about stuff.

Tin Foil: I know its easy just to grab some tin foil...wrap up that pizza and go, but that is an obvious waste we can live without. Invest in some good glass/plastic containers instead.

Non-Reusable Batteries: obviously you use them and throw them away...unfortunately these can be considered hazardous waste - try and use rechargeable ones instead.

Bottled water - bottled anything: If you are not going to recycle the plastic water bottle because it is a pain...then please please please use your own water bottle and fill up at drinking fountains.

Cutting out a few of these things will make a difference.

What does Photovoltaic mean and why is it useful

Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials  
exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity.

The photoelectric effect was first noted by a French physicist, Edmund Bequerel, in 1839, who found that certain materials would produce small amounts of electric current when exposed to light. In 1905, Albert Einstein described the nature of light and the photoelectric effect on which photovoltaic technology is based, for which he later won a Nobel prize in physics. The first photovoltaic module was built by Bell Laboratories in 1954. It was billed as a solar battery and was mostly just a curiosity as it was too expensive to gain widespread use. In the 1960s, the space industry began to make the first serious use of the technology to provide power aboard spacecraft. Through the space programs, the technology advanced, its reliability was established, and the cost began to decline. During the energy crisis in the 1970s, photovoltaic technology gained recognition as a source of power for non-space applications.

Thanks to NASA for putting it so can find the rest if you would like to follow the link.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tanzanite - Azotic Coating and D - Block Origin

The D Block term was used because the best tanzanite supposedly came from that dig.
Actually, wherever they hit the seam, they got great material. I can remember when the smallest piece I could get was over 10 cts., with trays of 20 ct. + material, huge rounds looking like acorns with the deep pavilions they cut them in. The costs then would still easily give you your keystone profit now, despite a 20% drop in value from its highest price.
Azotic coating will give you greater color saturation at the edges than the center, opposite what an untreated gem does.
Under a microscope, put the gem in the cut off bottom of a dixie cup with water just up to the girdle. The difference from eye-balling it will be stunning.
The "blue-green tanzanite, untreated" piece I tested was colorless, table down in the water. I turned it over and the color showed only on the facets above the girdle and the table was still colorless.
If you see any tubules of color filling inclusions, it has been lattice diffused. This process can take colorless rough and subject it to enough heat and pressure that introducing gaseous metals causes the rough to take on color. Crap material to gem material in the lab. A flood of no reserve bids, consistent color saturation and larger gems on e-bay from vendors who are power sellers you never heard of before is a dead give away. That's the deal with all this blue-green tanzanite; cheap because a lab used azotic coating to get color where there was none.
1 ct., emerald cut, VS and $9.99 to open and there's so much, mine was the only bid.
Please. Chinese vendors have pages of something the knowledgeable know was hard to come by and never cheap, but it sells and degrades the industry with every false sale of "untreated" gems.
Some of the faux material was even touted as "D block" origin. Insult to injury. 

It sounds like the standard immersion cell examination will reveal that classic color saturation near the facet junctions. I have not seen any lattice diffused goods yet (other than in the GIA NYC LAB), but I know they are out there in quantity. Hope the immersion exam will show that as well...

some coated stones will show a weird iridescence across the PAVILION when you rock/roll it under a light source -- especially some of the coated beryl/topaz/quartz materials, but also when examining stones such as fancy-color DIAMOND. Some it shows up better in diffused light, but some find it easier to see when viewed under more focused light, moving the light around the surface of the stone.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vermicomposting - a better way to compost

The practice of using worms while composting to help break down material into a richer soil

Earthworms can eat their own weight in organic matter ever day

What it is all about:

While organic waste can be composted year round you will find many home owners do now want to take a trip outside in the middle of winter. Also there are plenty of home owners who do now want a large bin full of decaying matter on their property in the first place.
I had a wicked batch rotting in a 5 gallon bucket that I would leave outside...unfortunately I had to move before I could try it out but I will be trying again for the spring time.
Worms have been the recyclers of dirt since soil was soil. Their populations can double each month which is good because they have to do all the tunneling and digesting.
Using an earth worm bin could be your choice for keeping organic rich soil inside without all the stench and icky bugs.
The Process:
Be warned...dealing with rotting material is quite disgusting and not for the weak of heart. These worms will eat and digest and eat and digest food scraps until the material looks like dirt and is full of worms. Once the material passes through the worm it becomes saturated with nutrients and is referred to as 'casting'. These 'castings' or worm manure is the nutrient rich 'vermicompost' that plants love. Use this worm soil as a mulch or a mix with regular soil.
Is it worth it?
Depends....if you are already into composting and would like to speed up the process then vermicomposting would be extremely valuable to you. Worms digest plant material much faster than traditional composting.
Traditional composting can take weeks or even months if the conditions are poor.
Another advantage of vermicomposting is the time release capabilities of the castings. The worm castings have a mucous coating which takes time to break down.
Casting contain:
5X more nitrogen
7X more phosphorus
11X more potassium
than plant soil
(The three main ingredients that help plants grow)

Friday, May 30, 2014

From Forest to Coal a geologists tale

Stages of Coal
 The fossil fuel that we still use today known as "coal" was not always a black rock. In fact coal begins its adventure way back when there were massive forests and giant dinosaurs roaming pangea.


Stages of Coal
As you can see from the diagrams coal starts off as a lush forest or a swamp land. The trees die and land on top of one another beginning a thick layer of mushy carbon rich soil. The process begins when that original mushy layer of carbon rich material gets covered by another layer of sediment....sand or potentially a clay rich layer from the incoming and outgoing sea transgressions.

The carbon rich layer begins to compact and lose moisture. The coal goes through four main stages as it loses moisture and other trace material.

The most primal form is still mushy and loose. this is called peat, then to lignite, bitumen (or bituminous coal) and finally anthracite.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Aloe Vera a healing plant

I have an aloe vera plant in my room and it's been outgrowing the pot. It is not quite as bad as the one in this picture but you get the idea. Some of the leaves have even fallen off. I was curious how I could use the leaves before they shrivel up.

Aloe Vera  also known as the true or medicinal aloe, is a species of succulent plant in the genus Aloe that is believed to have originated in the Sudan.

Apparently this plant is very beneficial for your skin.

To use the plant for skin care you simply cut the leaves and use the gel to cover your skin.
Any affected area on the skin can be healed by the gel.
Sunburns and rashes...even helps with acne!
Aloe vera leaves contain a range of biologically active compounds, the best-studied being acetylated mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides, anthrones and anthraquinones, and various lectins

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sandstone another lesson - Feldspar Origins

What is a Feldspar?
What is Feldspathic Sandstone?
See if you can find your answer...

If you want to get to the very core of the idea and can make sense of these sort of 3-D projected graphs....please see below
For those of us who cannot make heads or tails of that sort of thing...see further below.

Firstly what is a Feldspar and what is its Parent rock?
As you will recall feldspars are the most common minerals in igneous and metamorphic rocks..So it is natural for debris close to a tectonic uplift and erosion area to be rich in these minerals.

 However feldspars are less stable than quartz at conditions near the Earth's surface which means they will erode even further than most other minerals found in sand.
If you thought about that even further you would understand why there are not many feldspathic sandstones...most large masses of sand make several trips tumbling down mountains and washing up on the coast.

Feldspar Minerals

Plagioclase - usually showing albite twinning.  Such plagioclase can be derived from both igneous and metamorphic sources.  If the plagioclase also shows zoning, then it is likely from a volcanic source.

Alkali Feldspar - Orthoclase and microcline are derived from both igneous and metamorphic sources.  Sanidine is derived from volcanic sources.  Microperthite, the intergrowth of K-rich and Na-rich alkali feldspars, is likely derived from a plutonic igneous source.

And other trace minerals...depending on the specific parent rock.

In thin section you may have difficulty identifying these minerals because of their nature to decay and change into other minerals called alteration minerals.

So when classifying a sandstone in particular the more feldspar present the less mature the stone.
Maturity in this case refers to the amount of time the particular body of sand traveled before it was brought to a halt and deposited underwent compaction until it was a stone.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fracking - What is it?

Fracking....a geological process to get more natural gas from the subsurface

Generally speaking fracking is the process of using a water solution under high pressure to fracture shale formation in order to extract natural gas and oil.

The Topic: Hydrofracking
The water - sand - chemical solution is injected into the shale formation and used to separate layers of shale from one another. Once these crevices have been forced open natural gas and oil can escape from the shale and be captured for fuel. 
Conservationists are concerned with the wastewater polluting the waters supply. The industry is in favor of using this technique because it opens up new sources of fuel for North America.

The Process:
Natural gas or energy companies will drill down deep into the rock formation and allow small explosions to start the initial fracking. Once the shale is broken up natural gas and brine will begin to seep out. The water - sand - chemical solution is then pumped into the newly opened fissures to keep them open and fracture the shale layers further.
Conservationists are again concerned with the potentially carcinogenic chemicals leaching into groundwater. Some scientists are also concerned with the potential for small earth tremors due to the fracturing process.

Overall - Good idea of Bad idea
 The energy industry of course believes this fracking process is necessary in order to increase production of natural gas and oil in America, creating jobs and increasing our energy independence...
Environmentalists believe that the potential for groundwater contamination is too great a risk for some extra natural gas or oil.....

So there you have independence is very important, but the potential for groundwater contamination is a major concern.
Perhaps as the process continues these industries will alter their process to capture and limit the potential for contamination.

Monday, February 24, 2014

American Power Group's Dual Fuel Natural Gas Glider Kit

American Power Group Corporation

Has Been Selected by Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine as One of Their Top 20 Products for 2014

LYNNFIELD, MA--(Marketwired - Feb 18, 2014) - American Power Group Corporation (OTCQBAPGI) announced thatHeavy Duty Trucking Magazine recognized American Power Group's Dual Fuel Natural Gas Glider as one of their Top 20 Products for 2014.
A committee of editors from Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine("HDT") selected products that appeared in HDT's editorial pages or in editorial coverage on during their 2013 qualifying period based on: 1) its level of innovation; 2) whether it addresses significant industry issues; and 3) its potential to improve a trucking operation's bottom line. Then additional input was received from a panel of experienced fleet executives and maintenance managers, including HDT's Truck Fleet Innovators, and a panel of Technology and Maintenance Council ("TMC") members led by past TMC President Darry Stuart. The Top 20 Products are featured in HDT's February issue -- HDT Announces 2014 Top 20 Products.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

American Power Group Corporation and VFG Energy Leasing and Finance Announce a New Leasing Program for APG Dual Fuel Conversions

American Power Group Corporation

Over $18 Million of Natural Gas Related Transactions Funded by VFG in Calendar 2013

LYNNFIELD, MA--(Marketwired - Feb 10, 2014) - American Power Group Corporation (OTCQBAPGI)today announced a new leasing program for APG dual fuel conversions and related natural gas tank systems that will be offered by Vision Financial Group, Inc. through its specialty unit VFG Energy Leasing and Finance ("VFG") of Pittsburgh, PA.
Lyle Jensen, American Power Group Corporation's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Many fleet owners interested in natural gas conversions of their existing fleets have found it challenging to obtain traditional bank financing for alternative fuel add-on systems for their diesel trucks. We are excited that VFG has seen the value of APG's dual fuel technology and are willing to provide financing terms with and without a perfected security interest on the entire vehicle chassis. This is critical for many of the fleet operators we've spoken to who are looking to convert multiple units at a time. We believe our ability to offer fleet customers with a viable financing solution will provide them with a path to convert a larger percent of their fleet sooner rather than later."
Mr. Jensen added, "APG's vehicular conversion technology is generating customer validated net monthly fuel savings of $1,000 to $1,800 per month depending on the miles driven and cost of fuel. While each customer's circumstance will differ, we believe that after lease related costs, a fleet owner can see his take-home income increase by $200 to $1,000 per month. We know of no other truck-related technology that can create that kind of incremental savings and income."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sapphires - Synthetic or Real

With scientific advancements comes the potential to run into more and more convincing synthetic stones.
How can you tell the difference?
The most effective way to tell the difference is in their Refractive Index of the natural stone. Also all stones formed from the earth will have some inclusions. 
Specific Gravity is not helpful in determining a synthetic from a natural stone.

3 simple tools together -- Loupe, Chelsea filter, and Dichroscope -- which are also useful in the field. And if you have a portable LW/SW UV lamp, that's also an important tool. For example, garnet is single-refracting and will show no dichroism (with a dichroscope, a dichroic stone will show one color in one window, and a different color or different "shade" of color in the other window of this small instrument). So this will immediately separate a garnet, glass or synthetic SPINEL imitating another gem from ruby, sapphire or emerald. In terms of tsavorite, when viewed through the Chelsea filter, tsavorite will appear reddish, but green glass or syn green spinel will NOT. Tsavorite is SINGLE refracting so it will show the same color in each window of the dichroscope, but some of its imposters (syn corundum) are double refracting and show dichroism, but in any event, those stones do not go red through the Chelsea filter. And then, the loupe will show inclusions in tsavorite that you will never see in glass, syn spinel, and so on. Natural, untreated blue sapphire will usually show no fluorescent reaction (under either wavelength) whereas treated-blue sapphire usually shows a blue/white reaction and synthetic blue sapphire will have a stronger reaction, and even stronger under short-wave. And so on. There is never just one test that will tell you what you need to's a matter of collecting the "clues" from information provided by at least a couple of tests, and putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
Do you have my book "Gem Identification Made Easy" (published by Gemstone Press -- I talk about how to use a variety of instruments, and explain how valuable small, portable tools can be when you know how to use them PROPERLY, and when you use them together to collect the "clues" you need.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Copper that I have scavenged

Bare Bright Copper
 Scavenge Scrap Copper

After scavenging and stripping copper for over a span of two years I have accumulated a mound of insulated wire and a small amount of bare bright. The small amount of bare bright that I spent a long time stripping only amounted to 13 pounds.... at 2.20 a pound did not seem to be worth the time I had spent.
The rest of the wire was graded at insulated 50/50 but I had around 130 pounds of that.
Overall the end result was about 175 dollars...The effort to collect all the copper was not very difficult so this is a viable source of secondary income. I was even considering applying to work at the place.
Stripped Scrap Copper
I feel pretty good about the wire that I could recycle because most of it came form an old farm. I went with a friend to his family farm while he did some other maintenance while I began stripping the place of all discarded wire. It took me a while to eventually gather and secure all of the scrap but eventually I got it done and in return for recycling I got about 175$
Scrap Copper

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home Energy Saving Tip For the Day

attic Insulation
If you have bought an older home or a new home for that matter you need to check out the attic insulation. Just recently I bought an older house that had literally 4 inches of old compressed insulation, and our heating and cooling bill was enormous. I took the time and about 600$ to insulate the attic myself....we got a pretty good rebate from the government for doing this insulation.Check and see if that energy credit is still available. It is a bit of hard work but you will really notice the difference right away. Check your local listings for contractors and rebates.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Interesting things to know about the APG dual fuel system

American Power Group
Here is the cool stuff

APG's dual fuel system converts diesel engines and diesel generators to function more efficiently and at a lower operating cost (net fuel cost savings of 25% - 35%) by seamlessly displacing 40%-70% of the normal diesel fuel consumption with CNG, LNG, or bio-methane. APG's system is non-invasive to the OEM engine and operates within all OEM performance controls with the flexibility to return to 100% diesel operation at any time. APG's dual fuel conversion and emissions reduction systems can help users achieve their sustainability goals through lower carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter emissions. In addition, the introduction of natural gas through APG's dual fuel system does not impact diesel engine power or pulling torque and will assist in extending the engine's oil life as natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel compared to diesel.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Precycling - Like recycling only one step further

Reducing waste by reusing products or by buying a product based on its potential to be recycled.
Recycling a single aluminum can saves the amount of energy needed to power a television for 4 hours

What it is all about:
Precycling is a broad term that means anything from buying items in bulk in order to cut down on packing material to brining reusable grocery bags with you to the store. How many plastic bags get filled everyday later to be thrown away in the garbage?
The difference between "precycling" and recycling is the idea that precycling takes the initiative even further. It makes the consumer think more about what they are buying and how it will effect the world. Not just reducing waste but also reduce the potential for waste.

How to implement:
Precycling is just as much about doing something positive as not doing something negative. It is easy to precycle and the more effort you put in the bigger the pay off. Find the companies that use only organic ingredients and recycled paper to package the food item. Try to avoid single serving items or items that have a lot of packing. Use the fabric bags at the the plastic bags and recycle them (most grocery stores have a place to recycle plastic bags).
Does it work:
There is no question here...we all share the same planet so why poison the drinking water and foul up the land will landfills?
In 2009 the average American generates 4.3 pounds of trash per day...or 1,569lb a year in Maine (about 40% recycled)
 or 1,980lb a year in Wisconsin (34% recycled)
If you buy stuff with a lot of extra packing the manufactures will KEEP MAKING ITEMS WITH WAY TOO MUCH MATERIAL
Think before you buy!