of the moment

bike powered ice cream

we interrupt the money hacking series to bring you the following shenanigans…

I had this great old ice cream maker—eight quarts, hand-cranked, cedar bucket, 192o’s-era ‘stainless’ steel canister—gathering dust in my place. I got it off ebay with ambitions to make it bike powered. It sat for over a year, until I came to terms with the fact that it would not fulfill its destiny in my hands. So I donated it to Pumping Station: One.

Soon after, Mitch Altman came to us with his Take On the Machine competition, and $3000. And it was on. Boy was it ever on. Because I’m running on wordpress.com, they won’t let me embed video (grr),  but you can see what we did here.

We actually ended up very close to my original vision, which was somewhat coincidental. There were a lot of creative people and strong personalities involved, so I didn’t want to try to control the process too much. A lot of good ideas made it in, as well as some engineering I would not have thought of (A u-joint for the drive coupling? Good thinking! Next time let’s not use one made of cast zinc.) The unit we have was almost a general purpose portable bike-powered unit. There’s a lot you could do with that, more than make ice cream.

The process was not a little frustrating. But damn, at the end that glow in the dark mint ice cream was tasty. It took a minuscule amount of fluorescein to make the whole batch glow bright under blacklight. I think we have enough left over to turn the entire city of Chicago’s pee bright yellow for a day.

Hmm… (more…)


respectful disagreement of the moment: Charlton Heston

Great actor. Gun nut. I differ with Charlton Heston on a lot of points. But I learned something about him: he was involved in the civil rights movement of the ’60s.

And then I thought about some of his best movies, and the roles he played. Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes, even the Ten Commandments all played on issues of liberty and respect for the individual.

So I came to understand: Heston is about rights first, guns second. If I felt more strongly about the Second Amendment, I’d probably be concerned about those rights too. I may not agree entirely, but I can respect that.