BIT Studio

December 22, 2014

Armageddon Lite

Filed under: Solar — webmaster @ 9:53 pm

  Phase 1 of Armageddon Lite is complete!

This nerd adventure began as a result of being without electricity for three days in sub-zero weather during Christmas 2013 in Toronto. The other utilities (water and gas) survived and it was determined that if we had had power backup sufficient to run the furnace, we could have stayed in our house for quite a while.

The furnace, a natural gas boiler with rads, requires 460 watts to run a PLC, thermostat and two motors – one motor for the blower and another for the circulating pump. Running non-stop, the furnace would consume approximately 4 amps of electricity per hour (watts = amps x volts, that is, 460 = amps x 120). In very cold weather, the furnace might run for up to 30 minutes per hour, which would consume 2 amps of electricity per hour. The design of the backup system would, at the very least, need to be able to sustain this requirement.

Battery Backup System:
-2 batteries (12V DC, 100Ah, deep cycle, sealed)
-1 inverter (DC to AC, pure sine wave, 2500 watt)
-1 generator (gas powered, 1200 watt)
-1 battery charger (12 amp, AC to DC)
-1 55 watt solar array (3′ x 3′ panel, trickle charger)
-1 battery charge controller (DC to DC, 7 amp)

In the event of a power outage, the furnace is unplugged from the house outlet and plugged into the inverter. The 2500 watt inverter is larger than necessary, but in less extreme temperatures, it is very likely that other appliances (such as, a fridge, a water heater, cellphone chargers) could be plugged into the system. Based on a consumption of 2 amps per hour, the 200 Ah battery bank would drop less than 15% of capacity over a 12 hour period (24 amps / 200 Ah), which is well within battery operating specifications. Using this model, the gas generator could be run one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening to top up the battery charge. Assuming that natural gas (for the furnace) and gasoline (for the generator) are available, this infrastructure is sustainable for a very long time. The trickle charger keeps the batteries healthy during long periods of inactivity.

Phase 2 of Armageddon Lite involves installing and connecting a rooftop solar panel array to the existing system. Four 250 watt panels (1 Kw) would provide sufficient electricity to support a mini-fridge and mini-freezer throughout the year without generator support. As a green yet somewhat shallow solution for cold beer and ice, Phase 2 isn’t quite part of an armageddon scenario. It does, however, build upon an existing framework for expansion into an autonomous, off-grid solution.

December 5, 2014

All That Glitters

Filed under: BIT Financial — webmaster @ 4:07 pm

  Countries print unsubstantiated paper money to lower the value of their currency and stimulate exports. Other country’s currencies rise in relative value, which affects their own ability to export pushing them to print more of their own money. And so it goes with currency wars. Without the accountability of a quantifiable and measureable hard-asset base for valuation, the cycle continues unabated.

Stock market manipulation has diverted attention away from the world’s economic problems. When inflation is high, governments are obligated to raise interest rates, which then slows the economy, which can lead to recession if the economy is not healthy. Quantitative easing (QE) plus market manipulation hides the problem. Inflation, which is the inevitable result of race-to-the-bottom currency wars, has been redirected to create record-setting stock market valuations.

Historically, gold has been used by investors as a hedge against inflation. For the past three years, the price of gold has been manipulated. Bank stocks go up; gold goes down. Bank stocks go down; gold goes down. Oil stocks go up; gold goes down. Oil stocks go down; gold goes down. QE starts; gold goes down. QE stops; gold goes down. The contradictory explanations proffered by the financial services industry are ridiculous, yet confidently presented.

Aggressive gold purchases by China, Russia and India have outstripped the actual supply of gold being produced by 150% – that is, 400 tons per month of demand versus 260 tons per month of supply. This can only mean that world inventories of gold kept in ETF reserves, bank reserves and country vaults (in particular, the U.S.) must be in massive, and very illegitimate, decline.

Well over a year ago, Germany requested that their 300 tons of gold being held in U.S. Fed vaults in New York be repatriated. They have received only 5 tons to date. Switzerland recently voted against increasing their gold reserves to 20% from 7%, which would have required purchasing the equivalent of one half year of the entire world’s production of gold. The population was originally in favour of the proposal, but the Swiss National Bank mounted an aggressive campaign against it, which unbelievably included a ban on all Paypal donations directed toward causes aligned with the yes vote.

Conspiracy theories regarding the empty (gold-less) vaults at the Federal Reserve in New York are gaining momentum. Another conspiracy theory taking root is in regard to the datestamp reference on the gold bars themselves (each bar is numbered). Bars made in 1960 are showing up on the open market, indicating that old and dusty inventory, i.e. scrape-the-bottom-of-the-barrel reserves, are being tapped. The message here, of course, is that even though the well is running dry, the global economy cannot be given any reason to believe that demand is not being met.

As the hard-asset of gold moves from west to east, banks, governments and everyone in the financial services sector are well-motivated to tell the same rose-coloured story of all being well. Unfortunately, after three years of orchestrated deception, the western stock of gold is severely depleted. The Federal Reserve began this charade in the hope that the QE program would get the economy back on its feet before anyone noticed. But their double-down strategy took too long and failed to produce the robust economy needed to hide the carnage. Time is running out.

What will it take for a correction to happen?

A simple failure to meet delivery will disrupt the system. Germany is motivated to be content with a 5 ton delivery because, as Europe’s financial saviour, they need stability to reign. But Switzerland, France and others are queuing up to demand their gold back from the Fed as well. And please understand that this isn’t new gold; this is balance sheet gold that is supposedly being held for them in inventory in U.S. vaults. They will not be pleased if their gold has disappeared.

The government would like us to believe that inflation is stable and manageable at their target of 2% or so. This is impossible. A far more likely scenario is that the printing rampage has masked the deep state of deflation already upon us. The stock market manipulation has gone on for far too long and, inevitably, the landing will not be pretty.

December 1, 2014

iThink Funding

Filed under: MUSIC — webmaster @ 2:55 pm

  In a recent blog, Marissa Silvermann suggests that the proliferation of misleading claims in support of music education may do more damage than good, undermining the true value of the arts in education. Advocacy in the form of anecdotal and qualitative stories tend to limit the impact of more meaningful studies.

The importance of the arts in education, especially music, is enormous. The justification for music education programs must be objective and tangible leaving no doubt that society and business require the thought processes developed through music study as fundamental tools for building a better world.

Integrative Thinking (iThink) is the foundation of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (rated in the top ten business schools in the world) and is one of the first methodologies to tackle leadership and creativity in an academic business setting. Since its introduction in 2000, it has steadily gained credibility and is now promoted worldwide as a creative learning method under the iThink canopy.

Music education has implemented the basic concepts of the iThink method for over 40 years. It is no coincidence that musicians have gone on in their lives to become successful leaders and innovators. The big-picture approach to music (iThink: salience, causality, architecture) and its subjective nature (iThink: abductive reasoning) develop the leadership skills and creativity that are often missed in the study of sciences alone.

The infrastructure and curriculum for iThink-based music education programs are already in place and ready for expansion. Governments are constantly searching for ways to improve the urban landscape of their communities (e.g. the Creative Class, Richard Florida) as well as foster an environment of entrepreneurship and business innovation. Their most efficient path to success may be as simple as increasing investment and support for music education.

Integrative Thinking provides a tangible link between music education and government-friendly business initiatives.

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