Spencer Miles

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since Feb 02, 2018
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Recent posts by Spencer Miles

Chris Kott wrote:Brilliant.

If something needs to be Rube Goldbergy for it to be cheap to construct and operate, so be it. It well may be that it only appears to be so, and that the complexity actually is necessary.

I think that drawing water from low-humidity air is one of the best foci for grid-independent sustainable energy sources. If that can be accomplished, it would be possible to have drip irrigation for individual trees, or lines of trees, for establishment in areas that will sustain them once established, and which will be slowly humidified and greened as a result.

I think that the ability of some solar panel setups to produce drinking water as a byproduct of electricity production is brilliant, too, and if that were coupled with intensive pasture upgrading and rotational grazing, even the harshest conditions could be made, well, pastoral, due to the added water and shade from the panels, and grazing between and underneath increasing the nutrient cycling and soil generation.

Incidentally, I would envision the cool, dry air doing really well in a cool dehydrator. You're already talking about it being a low-humidity environment. A cold dessicator that preserves heat-sensitive compounds in fruit, veggies, and herbs might be really useful.

Spencer, this type of innovation is critical, in my opinion. Please keep us posted. Good work, and good luck.


I very much appreciate your words. Not to be too -- existential -- my particular brand of scholarship has not really precipitated much in the way of encouragement: normally half-hearted derision.

By way of addressing the points you have raised, I have done preliminary work in the use of a solid desiccant (granulated calco-silica-carbon) placed in an evacuated solar tube. I would then use an RV venturi vent (they're neat - the vent can rotate into the wind, and the wind blowing through creates vacuum within the black-water tank vent line) as a means of creating a draft through the system with ambient wind. The venturi ideally draws atmosphere through the desiccant so as to saturate it. When the sun rises (humidity is highest just before sunrise) the solar tube then heats precipitating two reactions: the chamber temperature activates a "wax-motor" valve (paraffin based thermostatic valve like the one in your car, but different temperature) and this valve closes the intake of the atmosphere and creates a minor pressure drop in the system should the wind continue. The second reaction is the desorption of the water from the desiccant.

The atmosphere ducting leading to the venturi passes through an earth-cooled condenser coil with a catch basin. The minor pressure drop created by the venturi working against the closed valve slightly lowers the desorption temperature of the desiccant and thusly the "air" produced during the desorption cycle is much more humid - until the desiccant is dried out and ready for the next adsorption cycle.

The net result of this system is a rather simplified device that operates directly on ambient wind and solar energy, without any conversion losses (no electricity), one single moving part (paraffin wax expanding as it heats, contracting as it cools), and provides small amounts of pure water dependent upon ambient humidity.

It's a glass and plastic thing, say 8 feet tall and 3 inches wide - and the best part? I would like to stick it right in a raised bed planter. It's job is to make a little moist zone around the roots of the plant. Yeah - a true "Self-Watering" planter.

Additionally, my work in the wet-desiccant system leads me to believe that the working fluid may serve double duty as the electrolyte in a rechargeable chloride battery. In this scheme, it would be a wind/solar recharged battery that happens to produce water as a byproduct. That one gets me really excited as, frankly, the materials involved, while not inert, are totally within the capability of nature to handle without any trouble at all - they're actually nutrients after a single bio-process. Carbon, manganese, calcium, and chlorine.

So, what is stopping me?? What slows my work?

I fund my research with my Visa card and, not to be too whiny: it is precarious and slow.

End of the day, if you're inclined I could very much use assistance in getting parts.

The water-systems, and the adjunct battery cell are within the class of work that I have decided I will not patent. I have no trouble sharing the theory and design and, when I have completed a functional apparatus, I will publish it for public consumption. Free to any manufacturer or DIYer who wants.

Maybe I can build and sell some, but the design itself is too  important for me to hide with IP protections.

Have you any way (social media, Patreon, etc...) to help??

My website is www DOT TributaryHouse DOT com.

7 months ago

Lukas Rohrbach wrote:Hi Spencer
How did it turn out? How much water are you getting at which humidity?

Have run into tiny troubles - so I have no way to answer your question yet. With CaCl2 (calcium chloride - road salt) as the desiccant, it should do quite well.

I recently ran into a paper discussing the use of activated carbon/ calcium chloride/ silica gel composite desiccant that seems a bit more promising. The desorption temperature is much lower (70C) and it adsorbs more.

Long story short, the story isn't done yet. Sorry
7 months ago

Burl Smith wrote:If that doesn't cut the mustard he might try a Fog Catcher

Fog catch is in the works - it's down the list a bit.
7 months ago
Some thoughtful responses, I will consider the rebuttals to my position - seeing as that is what one does in a debate: consider rebuttals.

Even though I hardly find it to be "nice".
It is very true that some artifacts are found by archeologists...

under very specific circumstances - that are not so common as to constitute the rule.

Knowing this difference is part of responsible work.
1 year ago
Using a shovel results in blisters.

Moving rocks results in sore muscles.

Raising livestock requires heartbreak.

Growth and improvement are inherently uncomfortable experiences.

While balance asks most certainly to add compassion and understanding,
shielding someone from a response to patently false claims, because it might "hurt their feelings" is at best short-sighted. I said "a bit confused" instead of "indefensibly negligent in an arrogant and baseless caution extending from a position of ignorance."

I was being nice.

"Nice" has never produced any growth - it perpetuates stagnation, it enforces mediocrity.

That does not equate to rough-shod be mean - but it does cast serious doubt on "don't hurt anyone's feelings..."

Since when has learning anything been a comfortable experience? Anyone who attempts to shield me from discomfort doesn't want me to improve.

Sometimes, the moderation moolelages that I get are quite frankly infantilizing.

Everything is offensive to someone. Protectionism is exponential and self-perpetuating.

I expect my equals to point out my short-comings, I show respect by offering the same.

Trying to protect people from that... is supremely disrespectful. It is a claim that I am too fragile to learn.

I like the site, I like some of the moderators.

Treating us like we're too fragile or juvenile to cope with the reality of seeing our own mistakes....

That ain't permaculture.
Thought I'd see something neat here... maybe I did I don't know.

At the moment, there is a 27yo female with a dozen or so guys ready to do whatever she wants - in the singles section.
As someone noted - "weeding them out" right?

As long as everything is someone else's fault, nothing can ever be fixed. It's like gravity that way:

The sick don't wed the well.

Why were my passed marriages so soul-shatteringly-horrible? Because I picked them. I put myself in a position where that was the option, and I took it. I can't do anything about them, but I can try to be a better me.

I didn't see a single post - though it might be buried somewhere in there - where somebody points out the bleedingly obvious: Only decent women get decent men.

Not saying by any means that a person is "bad" - but anyone who has a list of why this or that one was bad... well, you've got a common denominator in there somewhere don't ya? So do I - and that is where my work lies.

Be clean.
Participate in conversations.
Drop the attitude that "there are no good men" - it is as visible as the fake color of some women's hair, and "good" men see it... and don't bother with you.
Also, there is this funny thing that some women do - yeah, you know it. That guy who is "such a good friend" who "deserves someone nice"...

And women say men can't take hints.

Oh, speaking of "hints" - you consider just, you know, using your words instead of a pretty manipulative power-play of behavioral code?
Looking for "tricks"? Yeah.... that isn't a genuine thing to do.
Plan to keep up those tricks for 20 - 60 years? Day in, day out?

Years ago they said "just be yourself" and then added all sorts of stuff that simply isn't myself. I most certainly can find "someone" - if I'm not myself. Can't keep them - and probably wouldn't want to.

Better to be alone, than with the wrong person. Lonely, difficult, and infinitely better.

I figure, when I've done enough with me, I'll either find her, or I'll die. Precarious, and true.

I would suggest doing that instead of the list of "good men" and "tricks to get them". I sure as hell don't want to be "tricked" into a sham romance. Being a plaything is.... horrible. Seriously - I don't want to be someone's wallet-sextoy again. Hurt me in ways I can't express.

Oh! And here's is the most interesting thing that I've noticed as I listen to women at large talk about dating woes:
"Men want blondes with big ..."

Not remotely. Some do, but not even half. I personally do not prefer that in the least - and no, I don't want a house slave either, or a momma.

Funny thing - I'll give you the most valuable piece of information that any genuine woman can have in finding her genuine guy!

You know what is universal among what genuine, mature men want in their mate?


I mean the kind of loyalty that Patriots in revolutions have to one another. Absolute, no exceptions, death before dishonor loyalty. Like it or not, a huge portion of women can't be relied on not to scream at their man if his hours get cut at work - and I am not exaggerating. Turn TO each other, not ON each other. Start incessant nagging about something like socks (well, HE should just pick them up!) then wonder why he's pretty sure you wouldn't stay if he broke his back... or why he doesn't feel comfortable being vulnerable with you. Again: "Well, HE should just ...." See a pattern here? Just be loyal. The kind of loyalty that underpins society. The kind that supersedes law. The kind that is worth living and dying for.

Trying to dictate another's behavior is not treating them as an equal, and is anything but loyal. You are not my arm candy, I am not your plaything, forklift, wallet, gossip-source, handbag, etc...

Huge numbers of men feel their worst enemy is their wife. Even larger numbers are flat refusing to take the risk.

No disrespect at all intended - none - I offer this honestly and as kindly as I can. Mate - LIFE PARTNER - is the one, the only one. Protests pale in the face of how many of us are alone and looking. I see it all the time: "MY kids are my world, they come first" and I can only think "Why would you do that to them? What are you going to do when they want to have an identity apart from you? When they need to leave you for their own health? How is your man going to feel playing second-fiddle for the rest of his life? Just going to demand he be ok with it? That what you wanted? A man who sits passively and lets you use him?" I have never, ever, e.v.e.r seen that perspective result in healthy kids or lasting marriages. Which is supposed to grow up and leave? Which is supposed to die with you? Ask again which is supposed to come first. Incidentally, "putting the children first" usually turns them into tedious monsters. Hell yes you put them behind your mate! Shows them what reality is, and prevents years of psychic pain as they demand the world put them first - and are completely ignored. Also does wonders with healthy discipline.

There are very few things that I will not do for a woman who owns herself, and remembers that we are supposed to die together - and acts accordingly.

Ladies - I am treating you with respect and honesty by saying this. I don't speak for men, but I know ENORMOUS numbers who... simply don't see any possible benefit to outweigh the risks.

I would think that, rationally speaking, instead of expressing disgust at men for the alarming rise in artificial women, some of you might ask "have we really become so difficult that huge numbers of men would rather build fake women?" It would certainly be self aware.

Please start building ladies again - instead of perpetuating adolescent narcissism.

And for God's sake, quit badmouthing/ridiculing/ and gossiping about your man! NOTHING kills intimacy faster.

My two cents.