Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Crowd funding government.

Would you accept this deal?
Someone on a blog was talking of sacking all public servants.
It's the wrong strategy.

We need to make the public service work like the market. We have emerging tools. Block chain, Crowd sourcing and insurances can do 80-90% of what governments claim they are there to do.
Our public servant needs to be a true Public Entrepreneurs.
Tools need to be set up to make them such entrepreneurs. It's mostly just software as the links below show.
Try these examples.

The bridge needs fixing. A Public entrepreneur, Mr Bridger, has $10000 and the connections to get it done at $200000.
He offers the following deal on yourroad.org *
Pay $1 - $10 and get an internet thank-you note.
Pay $11-$100 and you get a sticker to put on your car.
Pay $101 and your name will be embossed on the handrail.
Pay $2000 and you get a table at the bridge opening dinner (max 20 seats be quick).
If $200000 is raised/pledged by November the money comes out of your account and the bridge will be repaired.
If under $200000 is raised by November your money will be refunded (or never collected from your account), You will still get the internet thank you note and Mr Bridger will pay you $5000/ the number of individual participants.
If more than $200000 is raised; its oversubscribed. Mr Bridger will take a 5% profit from the surplus, contribute half the remaining surplus to charity (named) and will find another bridge.
Needless to say the thank you note, sticker and embossed handrail all cost a fraction of the remaining $5000.

This is the most powerful crowd funding contract possible. If the 200000 is raised the bridge gets fixed. If not; those giving up their credit card details 'get their money back' with a tiny profit. The Public Entrepreneur only risks $5000 of his $10000. He may spend some of the rest on advertising in October if he's close.

The first actor problem is solved. Anyone contributing first risks nothing and may even profit if he is the only person tossing into the hat. Digital tracking makes the transactions on the site cheap treading to free. Frauds get dropped from the site. The cost is spread thinly over many people so the free rider feels little financial pressure but a little social pressure "Where's your sticker Bill?" With less than 50% paying tax the free riders are abundant today. With some of that tax being public service staff pay going around and around in the tax system the numbers are often much lower.

How would this finance a pension for a disabled person? These are the true undisputed poor not the lazy. This is medicaid, public health and the third rail of social security.

It's simple, Create an assurance contract for an eligible person, the money if raised goes to create a savings account (with a gold based inflation hedge if needed). Part of the interest is compounded part is paid out as weekly instalments. The biggest and best target would be about $500000. At 5% that would pay $235 week; 52 + 1 Christmas bonus. With half compounded until the trust's doubled. If there are exotic medical costs another round of fund-raising would buy extra medical insurance. This person is set for life and never needs to be a government problem ever again. This would work for veterans too. 

How would it do flood rescue? Buys equipment, train people, pays a very poor person to put his house up on stilts.
Can you create a private animal park and put tracking collars on lions? Their already being funded this way.

What would you not fund?
If you think the town drunks not worthy of your money would you throw a dollar in for the chance of the Public entrepreneur's $5000? 

Most known classes of public goods have been done. Police, parks, roads, medical research, hospital care, getting into university fully funded.
One girl from South America crowd funded a position in a top US UNI without knowing that she needed to meet other conditions besides just having the money but they waved the conditions. They wanted her crowd funding skills.

Public entrepreneur's replace bureaucracy, treasury and money bills in legislatures. It's a better deal than lobbying and paying off a politician so it may partly eliminate E street [The lobbyists in Washington. Every capital has it's equivalent. ] It replaces debt funding of the projects people genuinely need and want doing.

An Assurance Contract could fund a money bill in the legislature in a fraction of the time of the normal political process. Everything with the exception of law and defence could be crowd funded and we could Crowd fund equipment, insurances and research there too.

Is the freerider still riding free? Yes so are all non taxpayers today.
Are there positive externalities to others? Yes but so what if Joe from interstate gets to cross the bridge once a year!
Are there any externalities that can't be financed this way? I don't think so. We can only find out what can't be funded by trying. 

Are some projects too big? Yes but subdividing a project that is unworkable due to size into several smaller ones may succeed.

There may be a few cases where the money is raised but the task turns out to be impossible, beyond the organisers capability, or just silly. However this happens all the time with your tax dollars.

As long as it's as easy as posting on facebook, as simple as Kickstarter or indiegogo. It's mostly free digits until you hit the target. Then it will fly like this kickstarter project.

Kickstarter is 'no dollars down' preorder capitalisation! {Business finance banks are toast.}


Bitcoin already includes provision for this level of crowdfunding. 

  * yourroad.org is not real, yet.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

 Wood Gas Cars.

If Climate change were real and the IPCC were truly about saving the world then maybe they would grab something that works and make it better.

Wood gas works. Its old technology. Its zero carbon. Its free fuel in some cases, cheap fuel in the city. It can be improved.




Its worked before: WW2

It works now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHjUJPeUh7A

Its loose in Australia: http://www.gasificationaustralia.com/

An old site: http://www.angelfire.com/ak5/energy21/woodfire.htm

There is a hundred video's on youtube alone.

So why is this an ignored solution? Why has it not been optimised using all the resources of government and a thousand universities?

The answer is when they say their pulling out all the stops, trying everything, doing whatever is possible! Their not quite lying but its close! They can't even know that they are wrong.

Governments try to pick winners but the process automatically excludes those that don't call for help or subsidies. This technology needs no subsidies. That makes them invisible to government. Also because those that are invisible to government compete with those getting the subsidies the solutions that work become blocked by the ones that don't quite work. We get technology that needs government help and subsidies and thus can never truly be THE Solution.

So how do you optimise and improve such a technology.

  1. Hybridise for city use: Add 40 km of lithium batteries, that's not expensive or heavy. Add all electric drive and regenerative breaking.
  2. Add an optimised 1/4 size gasifier and filter with a small motor optimized to charge as you go. Use an automated blow torch ignition system for the pyrolysis system and computer control. Design the car around the gasifier with a rear engine, gasifier and filter. A rear camera to eliminate the blind spot. Put a baggage compartment in the front.
  3. I would try a fluidised bed sand filter on the hot gases. In a fluidised bed filter gas flows up through sand. The hot sand catches and cracks tars and ash into light combustibles. The sand also flows and can be made to flow past a heat exchanger to dissipate heat. 
  4. Some WW2 models used water spray filters to wash and cool the gas. That also converts some of the carbon monoxide, the main fuel in wood gas, into hydrogen. 
  5. For optimal no fuss shop bought fuel. Pre pack the fuel in cylindrical pucks made of blocks cut to size and glued with proper spacing between two paper sheets with a sheet around the edge. Add a paper handle. Make each puck under 6 kg. At the petrol station converted to a multi-fuel depot add a raised platform, steps and a remote locked cage of fuel pucks.
  6. Invent a briquette machine that converts straw into pellets so it can run on grass in the plains and the savannah.
  7. I would also add a HHO system: an electrolysis cell making mixed oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen would bias the flame speed and timing back to normal allowing smaller engines.  CO burns slower that petrol; hydrogen burns faster than petrol. The two should balance. 

The first priority is the hybrid and the compact optimised power-plant. Everything else will follow as the technology optimises.

Less like this:

More like this: 

I don't think governments can do this. I don't think they can even see real solutions. What's best for the voters is not best for the bureaucrats. Solve a real problem and you kill off a bureaucrats job.

The Earth First greens will automatically oppose this. To them Wood means the evils of forestry. Sustainable human intervention in nature is inconceivable.  They will scream 'deforestation'! We must safe guard against that in some third world counties and government run forests, because they are the remaining commons on land. The "Tragedy of the commons" can only happen with government land, tribal lands and the seas. Private lands are not commons.

I don't think Anthropogenic Greenhouse effect is having any catastrophic effects on humanity or the biosphere. Change happens in all ecosystems and climate change is normal.

However if Peak Oil is real and solutions are needed. Wood gas as it is currently configured is a good fuel for those in naturally wooded country side. It can be free as the above sites show.

It requires skill; but so did all engines once.

It can provide stationary power.


Can this be used on every car and tractor in the world? No but this will work where electric vehicles fail. Optimised it will put a big dent in any energy shortage.

Here are some Swedes having a go in 1942. Full factory production.
(If someone can do subtitles that would be nice. One American wood gas enthusiast caries a small electric chainsaw in his car. I bet these swedes wish they had one.)

Edit: Fixed the dead links.