Monday, March 20, 2023

Viable Commercial Nuclear Fusion Reactors

Here's a recent roundup at backreaction.  It's a 30 minute video, so get coffee first.  My informed opinion?  RSN

If I had to bet on future power reactors, I'd bet on thorium MSRs, a completely different but much simpler fission technology.  Even that needs a lot of work, but there are no major technical roadblocks in sight.

Back to fusion, as the old saw goes, it is the energy source of the future, and it probably always will be.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Funky Panacea: Mineral Springs

Also seen while driving through Panacea FL was this little park:

Sure, the impending weather was holding off, so why not take a stop.  Here are a few pics (sorry about the artless arrangement, but since blogger "improved" their site a couple of years ago... well you know):

Beyond "yeah, they were flowing, a little, but the high tide had the outflow creek backed up too" there's not a lot to add to the pictures.  Here's a neat little article at a "springs of Florida" website that fills in some of the historical details:

Funky Panacea: OSO Cycles

Driving to and fro Tallahassee via Panacea FL this week, I spotted what I thought was a bike shop.  As it turns out, it's a bicycle manufacturer.  Not exactly my cup of tea however, because what they manufacture is gasoline augmented e-bikes, the idea being to have a small generator on the bike that keeps the lithium battery topped off, all in order to extend the range.  It's... an interesting concept, and one that I won't dismiss out of hand for some people.  Doesn't have a lot to do with what I'm doing though.

Anyway, you can go dig around their web site for yourself:  Maybe it's right for you?

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Santos Fat Tire Fest Wrap-Up

Yesterday was follow-up day, taking the mtb in to have the suspension overhauled and test riding a Cannondale Scalpel up at Epic Bikes in Tallahassee.  The Scalpel?  It's a good bike, but I'm not sure it's for me.  It didn't quite have the balanced/cool factor of that Intense I rode last week, plus it costs about 20% more.  Also, it had Shimano not SRAM parts, pretty much a DQ in my book.  I'm still looking.  In the meantime, the mtb should be out of the bike hospital in a month or so.

The best part about the Santos FTF though?  Meeting up with old friends and making a few new ones.  All of us who camped there had some Biloxi connection – lived there, still live there, regularly ride the Bethel Trails, whatever – and it was a reunion of sorts.  That's the best part, the part that'll keep me coming back.

Some of the usual suspects.  Rope LEDs under a canopy: the new campfire for warm weather.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Saturday Epic at Santos: Everything You Wanted and More

The 50 Mile Epic ride is the centerpiece of the Santos Fat Tire Fest, as damned well it should be.  Here's more or less a map of the route, shamelessly screen cap'd from here:

General area orientation map, perhaps not 100% accurate.  Out and back, but most of the trail was one-way traffic.

Favorite part?  "Diggings" or some such name.  I was riding pretty hard at the time so I didn't catch everything on the sign.  It was a mile of short climbs that descended into scary-but-surprisingly-easy rocks and roots. Rolling fun!  Least favorite part?  The last five miles where my rear suspension had leaked down and my back needed a rest.  I was forced – forced! – by the discomfort to stop for a coffee break.  (freeze-dried crystals washed down with warm camelbak slosh, yum)  Finished with a little bit of reserve in my tank, but pretty much ready for supper and a sleep.

Congrats to OMBA (facebook link; sorry, all they got) for putting on another terrific fat tire fest.  Already working on plans to attend next year.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Friday Test-Rides at Santos

  • Orbea Occam: Fun, but kind of high in the handlebars.  Not my style
  • Intense Sniper: Well-balanced, it rides like a bike should.  I'm really leaning this way.
  • Cannondale Scalpel: Still need to give this one a try.  Maybe later this week when I take the Epic in for a rear shock overhaul.
  • Athletic Brewing: Not bikes, but decent non-alcohol IPAs.  On the buy list.
Looked at a few others, but they either weren't quite right for me, or were showroom-onlys, or there wasn't a test ride in my size.

Then there was a night ride – no crash, but some rain – followed by ibuprofen and sleep before Saturday's 50 miler epic.

Satellite view of the Santos trailhead campground.  Note the snore-zzzz's rising from the woods.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Thursday Crash at Santos

This is installment #2 in the Santos Fat Tire Fest series I'll be trickling out over the next week or so.

I don't know what happened, it was either a root or rock or something, but I smacked a pedal and went down hard into a bunch of cantaloupe-sized rocks.  In the first mile of what was supposed to be a four-day MTB-fest weekend.  I've had a lot of crashes that I could ride away from, and a few crashes that were bad enough that I couldn't ride away at all (most notoriously), but this was the closest-to but just-under that line that I've managed.  Head, shoulder, and elbow hits, a dessert-plate sized strawberry to the side, and worst of all, a knee-burger that just bled and bled.  I really wasn't sure until the next day that I'd make Saturday's 50 mile epic ride.

I have to say though, technology came through to make more riding possible.  A pair of shin-and-knee guards (this model) (see pic at right; you don't want to see what's underneath) from one of the bike stores at the Festival trailhead covered up the damage to prevent re-injury, and kept me rolling.  I've never been one for trail armor beyond a helmet and gloves, but I'm kind of sold on the concept, at least for the more challenging trails.  Now I'm actually looking forward to riding Tom Brown Park in the near future.