Jim Graham - Racing, tele-working, & battling multinationals


21 Responses to “Jim Graham - Racing, tele-working, & battling multinationals”

  1. kiloseven says:

    > The greatest challenge racing Baja is communications. Race radios are pretty much useless unless you’ve got line-of-sight. Everyone has satellite phones and it can take half an hour or more to get a call through. One of our sponsors, EMS Sky Connect, loans us communications and tracking system called Rugged Text and Track, that allows my wife, sitting in front of several laptops back in California, to track the car and our three chase trucks – and communicate with them – in real time. It came in handy when I broke my leg getting out of the car during the race in 2009.

    How about a stratospheric relay platform, like those which JP Aerospace launches using hams for ground crew? Put some repeaters on a balloon platform and you’ve got good communications without timelag and slow packets.

    • Jim_Graham says:

      The EMS Sky Connect system worked flawlessly for us. But I will check out JP Aerospace. Thanks for the tip.

      BTW, if anyone cares, we either finished first or second at the Xtreme Outlaws race this weekend, waiting for a final report from the organizers re: time.

      Next up, the Fallon 250 Night Race on July 16. We’ll be running electroluminescent number panels from Trailglow (http://www.trailglow.com). If anyone has access to a couple sets of 4th Gen night vision goggles we could borrow…we should talk. :)

      Thanks for all the great comments, btw. I am, as a matter of fact, flattery-operated. And I’ve learned a tremendous amount from comments on BB articles.


  2. DoctorMantis says:

    Having lived in Felton, I’d say the water was particularly worth fighting for. Best tap water I’ve ever tasted. Great work Jim, thanks (from a former and hopefully future resident).

  3. Junglemonkey says:

    Wait…I’m listening! I’m just up the road in Boulder Creek!

  4. inkfumes says:

    Me too, I’m even closer here in Ben Lomond!

  5. jbrandt says:

    Wait, is everyone here from the SLV? I’m in Ben Lomond too!

  6. Phikus says:

    Ahhh the power of the online community to connect even those locally who haven’t had a chance to bump into one another until now… ;D

  7. Jim_Graham says:

    I have long maintained that the core of BB’s readership resides in the San Lorenzo Valley.

    Ok, off to get 1107 teched.

  8. Floyd R Turbo says:

    Great article on water and the bug rally racing is on my to do list too now.

  9. SLVNews says:

    Everybody listens to you Jim, ‘cept maybe the skunks and the deer.

  10. zyodei says:

    Before anybody starts squaking about “look at your libertarian paradise here,” I just want to comment that this was almost certainly a case of the local government selling the water system to a large corporation..which is a common story.

    Rally racing original bugs is something that just went somewhere near the top of my “to do before you die” list :)

    • Anonymous says:

      But they did it in 1890-something! In any case, wouldn’t libertarian theory have made it a for-profit business in the first place, with no government control to sell off?

      Still, I suppose it’s somewhat libertarian in the end, as the local residents got together to raise the money to buy it back, forming a sort of group ownership, since it benefits everyone. Hmmm, what is that called again? Oh ya, local government.

      • zyodei says:

        Ah, your first point is a good one. I had misread that part of the article. In fact, that rather throws a monkeywrench in my whole argument :(

        Rather, yes, this case is an argument against pure libertarianism.

        But as to your second..well, I don’t have such a problem with local government. Of course, people will always get together to pool their resources to find common solutions for their problems. This is natural, right, and always should be encouraged. If you want to organize a pool of your fellow citizens to buy a local utility under the umbrella of a non-profit trust, wow, that’s fantastic! I think it’s a beyond wonderful idea, and I wish you the best with it. My only problem is with using coercion to solve those problems…

        I once saw Ron Paul speak, and I thought one thing he said was very interesting (i paraphrase)..”I have no problem with you setting up a communist society, with no private property. Just as long as you make it voluntary who joins and who doesn’t.”

        The problem is that, the larger and larger governments get, the further and further they become from the people who they actually effect, and the harder it is to opt out through any means at all.

        So yes, this is absolutely a fine example of the positive side of government, and if all government initiatives would be limited to things so directly linked to the will of the people and strictly limited in scope, I would have no problem with it!

    • Jim_Graham says:

      Just to clarify, the Felton system was never publicly owned, going back to when it was created in the late 1800s. What was unique about the American Water and RWE acquisitions was the huge rate increases they went for almost immediately upon acquiring the system. It’s part of their business process that they’ve done again and again in communities across the U.S.

      What’s interesting, at least in RWE’s case, is that they’ve decided to exit the water industry because they couldn’t get the return on investment they wanted. They couldn’t find a buyer for the American Water, canceled the first IPO due to poor market conditions and finally went with a second one, taking a breathtaking hit on the valuation of the company. There’s a great piece that the WSJ did on RWE and the Felton fight. You can read it here if you’re so inclined: http://tinyurl.com/6r5qs6

      Now I’m off to go prep for today’s Xtreme Outlaws 250. Wish me luck :)

  11. Oren Beck says:

    Water&Sewer systems have a literal “Life Safety” status that cannot be safely outsourced. The overall category of what’s often grouped as “Utilities” has been a frequent victim of blatant profiteers or worse. Enron comes to mind as a categorical example.

    The sheer Good Karma convergence in this case might be ascribed to a few other convergences. Like the ones embodied in Jim Graham himself.

    Folks who are involved with “hands on” tool use tend to be differently aware of systems interaction as a concept. No disrespect to people of equally valued skills of course- It’s just amusingly evocative of:


    And when you consider events such as Burning Man? That’s an experience that WILL forever alter how one thinks of water.. When a community is educated by/composed of tool users that also are Burn alumni- it’s very likely to become openly activist in self-determination.

    Everyone involved in the community activism that took back their water system has racked up some enviable “Good Deeds” cred :>:

  12. dbarak says:

    Water bug rally yeah yeah yeah. What I want to know is why the guy in the photo is flipping me off.

  13. craig1st says:

    FLOW was a great achievement, Jim. Now let’s scotch that fossil fuel burning desalination plant that all out monterey bay governments seem bound to build. feh!

    • Anonymous says:

      In an ideal world we’d have no need for “burning” of anything excepting perhaps- ceremonial etc reasons. Out of “our world” is where we should be powering the world from. There’s a rather stable, self-contained Fusion power source only 93 million miles or so away from us. Which is a nice safe distance for power plants :) We’re already using it for desalination in some places.

  14. headphonegirl says:

    If I ever see another reference to “BURNING MAN” I swear I’ll never come back

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