Tag Archives: electricity

BitCoin Mining Is Here – What Does It Mean For Our Town?

A few weeks ago a concerned resident rang my doorbell. She wanted to ask if I knew anything about a Bit Coin Mining operation that has been setup on the property of one Grand Forks business not that far away from both her and our residence. It was news to me . . .

Once she was aware of it she found that the droning sound of the cooling fans (there would be a lot of them) was inescapable. She did some research online about these operations and what she found was troubling. So she decided to go further and get local media (me in this case) aware.

I talked with her and suggested that she should bring this to city council’s attention by either appearing as a delegation or sending in a letter as an information item.

During the next meeting (the only one in July) I saw this wasn’t on either agenda so I decided I’d bring it up in the Committee Of The Whole myself.

Here is the concern:

In case you didn’t already know ‘bit coin mining’ entails using fast computers to solve tricky mathematical problems. Those who have faster and more computers can do it quicker and the quickest are the only ones that actual make ‘money’.

Fast computers take more electricity and generate more waste heat which necessitates cooling which takes more electricity. Multiply this by dozens or hundreds or thousands and you’ve got an idea of what a bit coin mine requires.

These operations are being setup in rural and industrial locations where they have some privacy, low taxes and access to commercial / industrial electrical systems. A medium operation will use more electricity that the town it is located within or near. More than one increases the draw on the power system. The utilities that supply the power find themselves in a pinch: they have to either upgrade OR buy the needed power on the spot market OR both. That drives the rates for all their customers up.

Some might remember that a few years back we saw the rise of gasoline derived from plant sources – specifically corn. This created a situation where corn producers had to choose between selling their produce to gas tanks or stomachs. Guess which pays more and guess what happens to the price of that commodity?

So now it’s electricity and the choice is between people and machines. But will there even be a choice?

A short while ago I watched as some on council fumed over the impact of a Tim Horton’s Drive Thru on the traffic in the block or so around it’s proposed location downtown. It was pointed out that (1) the time to ban drive-thru’s was before the first one ever happened and that is long past (2) the city has no real say in the location because it is on private property and the Ministry of Highways says its okay because there’s no road access issues for them.

It isn’t the first thing I’ve seen where council finds themselves being reactive because previous councils weren’t proactive in their forward vision and planning. And it’s not the only big thing coming from the world at large that impacts our little town.

So I suggested to council (the video below starts at this point) that they should get proactive, study the available information and start making plans about zoning and impacts and how to mitigate those before they happen.

Because it would only take a few people flush with a lot of cash from the sale of their property in the lower mainland to move here and set themselves up with a nice little earner (bit coin mine) for their retirement to upset our town. And with the recent flood and possibility of a large scale buyout in the area right next to the electrical switching yard in North Ruckle the stage is set for them.


Town Hall Meeting About ElectroMagnetic Fields

This is the verbatim recording of a public town hall meeting held Aug 25, 2014 in Grand Forks.
A local concerned resident brought in a speaker from out of town to speak on the topic of the dangers of Electro-Magnetic Fields.

The meeting happened in the evening at the Seniors’ Centre in City Park. Around 70 people attended. Most appeared to agree with the presenter on the dangers of EMF and RF. Most appeared to be the same people who have showed up to show their displeasure with city council in the past few months on the topic of residential water meters.

The main presenter was Ross Andersen of Unplugged Health Solutions. He bills himself as an ‘Environmental Health Consultant’ who provides ‘EMF Detection and Protection’ and ‘Licensed Electrical Services’. He also does ‘Safe Interior Decorating’. He originally started out as a Chiropractor and Naturopath. He was not a Medical Doctor then and he is not one now. But he can tell you all about the medical dangers of EMFs and do it with an emotionally charged presentation – he was choking up and near tears from the very first anecdote. And then he can provide services and products to help you deal with the thing (he’s made) you’re afraid of.

In my opinion (that’s me Les Johnson) he is selling fear. He is profiting from those who are ill informed, gullible and afraid of something they do not understand and who do not trust the normal authorities and experts to tell them the truth.

But then again, I do not put myself in that demographic. I feel I have a good understanding of science and have experience working with electronics and biomedical technology. I’m not scared by it. While I may not trust the political part of the government to act truthfully at all times I generally trust the science and those who work in those areas. It was fairly clear the audience does not.

With all that said I’m willing to say that if new information and research point out that I’m wrong then I’ll gladly admit that – and still argue for what is testable and provable and not fantasy. I dare say that most of those in the audience may never be sure what is real and what is not – they don’t appear to trust the real experts or authorities to tell them truth. Instead they believe (and trust) the Jenny McCarthy’s and Ross Andersen’s of the world. So be it.

Near the beginning of his presentation he asks the media for ‘unbiased equal presentation of everything we do’. You might be looking at the words on this page and wondering about the ‘bias’ part. While I might be biased against him and what he says: I am, as I answer him in the video,  reproducing his spiel verbatim. Nothing is left out. The ‘equal presentation’ part I am satisfying by recording and making available this event and the other anti-water-meter event, the People’s Review Commission. I bring City Council to you through the web and cable TV. This has become a political question with one side that does not have their own website or media department. So I feel that by making videos available from both sides I fulfill the fairness of presentation. But I will not go so far as to even imply an endorsement of what I see as wrong, fantasy, paranoia or fear mongering.

We advise you to please read the disclaimer below:
The Information and Opinions expressed herein belong to those who express them.

Please DO NOT think that gftv.ca endorses or promotes this material – WE DO NOT.
We DO NOT share the opinions expressed herein.

Some of what you will see appears to be medical information and advice.
The person giving this IS NOT a Medical Doctor.
He is a Chiropractor and a Naturopath.
He makes claims and uses anecdotes to support them.
He claims to use electronic equipment of his own devising but gives no information on his background in building and developing medical devices.
He does sell a service. And he does sell products.

We only show it here for the purpose of exposing to the larger community some of what those in the anti-water-meter camp are being told and shown.

As always, Buyer Beware!

NOTE: Normally we would provide links to websites associated with the content because we think that’s something that should be there. To make it easier for you to follow up on the material.

Well, this time you will not find any links. Lately we’ve been exhorting people to do their own research and not rely on fear mongers and their websites. So this time you will have to make the effort to find Ross Andersen’s website. It shouldn’t be hard to do. We just don’t want to make it easy for you to go there and get ‘sold’.

21st Century Silicon Conestoga Pauses In town

Over a century ago the great migration of settlers to the West took place. The most often chosen mode of transport was the Prairie Schooner or Covered Wagon.  The Conestoga wagon was the archetype for the covered wagons of the era. Drawn by a team of horses theses wagons could travel, on average, 24 Km per day. Until the railroad was in place this was the mainstay of families heading out to homestead the West.
Conestoga wagon on Oregon Trail - NARA - 286056 crop

On Oct 11 I visited with a man who has come west in a modern day covered wagon. It didn’t carry as much freight and instead of horses it had an electric motor but it’s speed of travel was  twice as fast as those covered wagons of a bygone era. And it was covered. Instead of a canvas tarp this wagon was covered in Solar Photovoltaic Panels.

Solar Electric Tricycle

Solar Electric Tricycle

The man taking this trip is Rick Small and he’s come all the way from Thunder Bay Ontario on his Solarized Electric Tricycle. And in all that 3000+ Kilometers of travel he has not had to pay anyone any money to ‘fuel’ his vehicle. It gets ALL of the energy it needs from Sunshine.

With that cost out of the way all he has to worry about is food and lodgings. At an average of 90km per day a long trip will have many meals and sleeps. Sometimes he gets a room at a motel but his camping setup means that is a choice he does not have to take. A tarp, some well placed insulation panels, a cushioned sleeping bag and he has a bedroom. Add a small electric heater and he’s cozy. And if the battery gets low over night the Sun will charge it up come daylight.

Since he started his trip on July 31 he’s learned things about how to make it better the next time.

  1. Part of the structural components in his vehicle are Steel. He estimates that using alternative materials he could shave 100 to 130 lbs of weight. This would improve speed and distance.
  2. He forgot the adapter that would allow him to charge the batteries from A/C in a house. Without that the electricity for his whole trip has been supplied by the solar panels. He says he has run the trike for 6300 Km this way.
  3. The solar panels make much more power when they face the Sun. Initially they were laid flat facing upwards. He got much more power when he changed them to tilt to the south and face the Sun. After he left the prairies he found that the roads in the mountains go north and south as well as east and west. That means with panels fixed to tilt to the left of the direction of travel you get Sun when going West but not as much when you have to travel in a North or South direction. He plans to devise a more robust tilting system to cope with that.
  4. Using more powerful panels would make a real difference. The panels he has now are rated for about 50 Watts. (actually 48 Watts). He has 6 so he’s getting 288 Watts of power delivered to his motor. If he’d used 60 Watt panels he’d have close to 360 Watts – virtually another panel’s worth of power. That would allow for speedier travel for longer distances.

He’s planning on making it to Victoria – hopefully before the snow flies. And next year he might do some touring around his beautiful new home province of British Columbia. And being off the grid maybe he’ll figure out how to modify it to serve as a solar ATV …

Here’s my interview with Rick Small.

And he mentioned he had a few videos on his YouTube Channel already.


Kootenay Energy Diet

FortisBC came out to Grand Forks on June 18, 2013 to present their Kootenay Energy Diet. kootenay_energy_diet

What’s that? You can get the scoop at their website here but essentially they’re trying to get people to consider making changes to their homes that increase energy use / conservation efficiency and result in lower energy usage and costs. Such things as better insulation in the walls and ceiling, newer windows that help reduce heat loss and finding and stopping air leaks that cause the heating you pay for to leave the house in winter.

There was talk about a cash incentive – they were offering to help offset the costs of the inspections for a number of early adopters. They’d like you to get two inspections, one before any changes are made and the other after upgrades have been done. That way both you and they know just how effective the changes have been.

If you’ve got an older home that’s costing you a lot in heating and cooling or are just curious we recorded it (at the behest of the BoundarySentinel) and it’s on one of our YouTube channels … but you can watch it here: