Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   HoJo Motor
Tuesday, January 3 2012
Finally we experienced some real winter cold today, and while in most winters it would have seemed perfectly normal, it came as something of a shock in comparison to the Novemberesque days we've been having of late. Temperatures got down to around 14 degrees Fahrenheit, which is normal low for this time of year, although they never rose out of the 20s (34 is a normal high). [I just checked the normal highs and lows for Hurley, NY and see that now they're both a degree warmer (15 and 35 degrees respectively) than they were when I downloaded a page of such records from four or five years ago.]
This evening Gretchen and I watched Horrible Bosses, another movie focusing on the worst people employed in a line of work. Unlike Bad Santa and Bad Teacher, however, Horrible Bosses is told from the perspective not of the horrible bosses, but their immediate underlings. One boss tricks one of his employees into drinking booze at 8:30am while another tries to get her employee to have sex with her while using that employee's passed-out fiancé as a bed (that one takes place in a dental office). Then there's the nasty coke-addled son of the nice boss who lucks into replacing his father. So then the question becomes: what to do? At first murder seems like the best option, but it's all a big setup for a much messier, entertaining solution, one involving a scary black man named Mother Fucker Jones and an automotive navigation assistant working via satellite from India. It was a wildly entertaining movie, though it had a strangely anachronistic slapstick quality, as if its three protagonists had assimilated some of the characteristics of the Three Stooges. They even had a tendency to slap each other while as a means of beginning declarative sentences (though these slaps were not accompanied by sound effects).

At some point today, I stumbled upon a web advertisement for something called the HoJo Motor, a device that supposedly can sit in your house and produce electricity without requiring any inputs. But it's not actually an advertisement for the HoJo Motor; anyone with any sense knows that such a device is a physical impossibility. So instead it's an advertisement for plans to build a HoJo Motor. If you follow the link to the website, you can watch a video that lays out, for those too dim to understand, all the advantages to having a device that will provide electricity for fee. (Interestingly, though, there is never any mention of using such a device to power an electric car.) I probably don't need to explain to my readers why such a device is an impossibility under the rules governing our universe (indeed, I satirically imagined such a device back in 1994). But the existence of a well-funded ad campaign selling plans for such a machine demonstrates that someone out there has bet that he can tap into the thick exploitable vein of ignorance running through the American population. And when I say "well-funded," I'm refering to a multi-prong SEO (search engine optimization) strategy that has gobbled up just about every Google search result for "HoJo Motor," particularly those (such as "HoJo Motor Scam") being made by skeptics. Lots of extra domains have been purchased (such as and populated with fake blogs praising the HoJo Motor, people (illustrated with stock photography) claiming to have successfully built it, and even a few people keeping a suspiciously open mind about it. Some of these pages are so transparently scammy that they actually fire off a javascript alert when you try to leave that says:
**BEFORE YOU GO!** CLICK THE **CANCEL** BUTTON RIGHT NOW TO STAY ON THE CURRENT PAGE. We want to give you **The HoJo Motor Plans For A Huge Discount + Something Else Very Special!**

Then there's this one, which comes across as magical realism as written by a ten year old whose first language is not English. Tasked with writing a piece extolling the virtues of a non-existent device, he claims his HoJo Motor created so much power that he accidentally killed his neighbor.
At this point in web history, I would like to think that it's normal for people to use Google to investigate potential vendors, but due to the HoJo Motor's lavish SEO strategy, one might have to go through several pages of Google results before finding a single naysayer. Unless one was armed with some thermodynamic common sense, then, one might well fall for this marketing blitz. I mean, who doesn't want to get all his electricity for free? Hell, who doesn't want to become the local power utility for the neighborhood? It doesn't take too many $100/month checks before you can retire! (Hell, I could be a copywriter for these scammers.)

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