Made by Hand in LA Times' Brand X


9 Responses to “Made by Hand in LA Times' Brand X”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting read. Picked up a hard copy of Brand X article @ a Santa Monica Starbucks and it was my lunchtime entertainment. The beehive/honey project is of particular interest to me. Mark- since you live in an urban area, have you had an issues with managing the colony?

  2. Razzabeth says:

    About the bicycling for energy: Sure, you couldn’t possibly cycle enough to provide ALL the energy, but would it be at least saving some money to cycle while doing some monotonous activity, such as watching TV or computering?

    • Mark Frauenfelder says:

      Sure, but I didn’t think the payoff was practical, at least not for me.

    • arkizzle / Moderator says:

      BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory did a great special about this called “Human Power Station”. They made a dummy house, with all the power coming from “somewhere green” and moved a family in to go about their normal day.

      The power supply was cyclists. Up to 128 at a time.

      I can only find this youtube clip, but it shows how many human beings it takes to power an average house.. with kettles boiling, power showers going, toasters, tv.. It was an excellent illustration of just how much actual (incidental) energy we get from the millions-of-years nature has invested in coal/oil production (eg. just to boil a kettle or have a shower, these ~hundred or so humans have to sweat their asses off). Shocking, for me anyway.

      EDIT: full ep here

  3. Xeni Jardin says:

    So happy to see this review come out, Mark, congrats!

  4. Stefan Jones says:

    Ordered my copy yesterday.

    Generator cycle duty could be reserved for kids who leave the lights on or who want to be driven places they can easily walk.

    Or, capture one of the chicken-eating coyotes and put him on a treadmill.

  5. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Actually, I think It was nearer 64 cyclists.. (I’m counting off the last shot in the youtube clip).

  6. dculberson says:

    The interesting thing to me about the “human power” thing is that it frequently ignores the cost of the feed stock for the humans. If you’re burning more calories, you’re sure as hell going to eat more, and that increase in consumption is at a heavy energy and carbon cost. Less so if you’re a vegetarian, but it still isn’t free.

    Anyway, congrats on the good press, Mark! I’m going to pick up a copy of your book. Sounds very interesting.

  7. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    dc, totally! It’s much easier to understand that when you remove yourself from the equation and think of another set of humans (who usually require money and food to do work) doing the equivalent exertion.

    It all comes down to the disparity in what the oil or coal cost to make vs how much we dig it up for. It cost millions of years of life, eating, growing and dying. And we burn through it in seconds for pennies.

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