Extra Fox – A blog by Christopher Taylor

Engadget’s WWJD results

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on February 28, 2006

Engadget put together a contest of sorts to find out What Would Steve Jobs Do? Find out [Engadget].

Blue.Us: New community building tool

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on February 24, 2006

Today, the beta version of Blue.Us [Blue.Us] launched. The site combines elements such as tagging, friend networks and blogging into one easy-to-use resource.

Blue.Us uses the idea of “dotting”. When you setup your account, you are given instructions for placing a bookmark on your Firefox shortcuts toolbar. Then, as you are browsing the Net, you can “dot” sites by clicking the shortcut. When you dot a site, a small dialog pops up in your browser window above the site being dotted. The dialog allows you to choose an image from the site, as well as write a caption and a summary about the site. Once dotted, the post is displayed on your personal Blue.Us profile page and is also made available to people in your friends network.

A number of my old colleagues at Loudeye are currently working at Blue.Us. They’ve only been working on the site for a short while and they already have a lot to show for their efforts. I expect that we’ll see a lot of improvements to the product over the next few months.

Natural building with cob

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on February 14, 2006

I traveled to Zipolite from Seattle by car with my friend Matt. Last year, Matt had come to Zipolite for a cob building [wikipedia] workshop that was offered here. On our way down from Seattle, we stopped in Southern Oregon at the homestead of Coenraad Rogmans who runs the cob workshop here. It was a really nice place and was a nice introduction for me to cob construction.

Coincidentally, the cob workshop this year is accommodating the participants in the same villa where Matt and I are staying. So, I’ve gotten to know the crew quite a bit better.

Today, I went out to their worksite to see what it was all about. This year, they are building a kitchen for a poor family complete with wood burning cob stove and oven. Last year, they had a slightly more ambitious project and built a cob home for the same family. The house is small, but beautiful and very comfortable. Cob makes for an ideal material in a climate like Oaxaca. The thick walls keep everything cool.

Coenraad runs several cob and other natural material building workshops over the course of the year. Check out some of his other workshops at his website [www.housealive.org].

Energy use in fertilizer production

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on February 14, 2006

In the search for alternative and sustainable fuel sources, biodiesel is often cited as a primary candidate. However, there is one area of biodiesel production that needs to be carefully considered when analyzing how biodiesel can be used to end petroleum dependence. It is a not very commonly understood fact that nitrogen fertilizer, as it is produced today, is a major contributor to non-renewable fuel consumption.

1% of the world’s energy supply is consumed in the manufacturing of [artifical nitrogen] fertilizer [wikipedia].

In order for the U.S., or any country, to produce enough biofuel to replace petroleum, enough raw materials will need to be cultivated to convert into fuel. However, the productivity of any such cultivation will be greatly affected by the use of fertilizer. If artificial nitrogen fertilizers are used to cultivate crops used to manufacture biofuels, then the umbilical cord of petroleum dependence will not have been cut.