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

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   urine and copper
Thursday, April 23 2015
The weather took a turn for the cold last night, and temperatures never rose out of the 40s. There were even a snow flurries at times. I was forced to burn firewood to drive away the clammy chill.
I decided not to risk injecting urine-contaminated antifreeze into the household hydronic system, so I cleaned out the five gallon reservoir (an HDPE bucket) and added a fresh gallon of antifreeze to it. I'd expected to find sludge at the bottom of the reservoir, since it is where overpressurized fluid gets ejected to, but the only things I found at the bottom were two pieces of a rubbery sealant that I couldn't identify. A fair amount of oily scum adhered to the inside of the reservoir bucket, something I quickly identified as solder flux. It was easily removed with paint thinner.
Since antifreeze costs $17/gallon, I did not simply throw away the urine-contaminated fluid I'd removed. I put it in a well-labeled bottle and set it aside. Perhaps some day I will have a way to separate the salts from it. As for the ammonia, I imagine that would quickly evaporate if I just left the top off the bottle for a time.
Also, as a test to see its corrosive power on copper, I urinated in a jar and left a copper fitting to soak in it. It's the kind of thing I do all the time in the laboratory, but wouldn't you know that Gretchen (who'd come into the laboratory to pet Eleanor) noticed the jar full of urine with her eagle eye and asked about it. I didn't feel like explaining the fiasco of accidentally adding piss to the antifreeze reservoir, so instead I said that I wanted to monitor what the long-term effects of urine would be on the brownhouse piss funnel (which I thought was also made of copper). It hadn't occurred to me until that moment that, if ammonia is corrosive on copper, perhaps I'd made that funnel out of the wrong material. (Actually, it's looking like I ended up using PVC for the piss funnel.)

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