⌛ Texas [Draft]

This post is about the Texas leg of my year on the road. I’m traveling to all the national parks in the contiguous 48 states. I’m also stopping at several other interesting spots along the way, and making sure to sample the local fare.

Previous: New Mexico

Next: Louisiana

  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
  • Big Bend National Park, Texas
  • Breakfast Tacos, Austin, Texas
  • Hippy Hollow, Austin, Texas
  • Rainbow Ranch

Timeline

Texas is a big, weird place. This will be my first time visiting. I’m scared and excited! I plan to spend up to two weeks here.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

The Guadalupe Mountains are another fossil reef just like the Carlsbad Caves were in New Mexico. They are literally right next to each other so that makes sense. There is lots of hiking and scenic vistas so that will be a nice time.

Since they are so nearby one another, I’ll be splitting my week at Carlsbad KOA between Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend seems like a pretty normal area without any really amazing or unusual aspects aside from some scenic vistas and lots of interesting endemic species and habitats.

Big Bend also has a hot springs!

I will be stopping for the weekend at Big Bend before heading on to Austin. I plan to stay at the NPS’ Free Primitive Roadside Camping on Old Ore Rd.

Hippy Hollow, Austin, Texas

Hopefully it needs no introduction but Hippy Hollow is a park at Lake Travis in Austin. It is the only legal nude park/beach in Texas. It’s funny there are half a dozen in northern California and yet Texas identifies as being a freer place. 🤣

I’ll be camping for a week at the nearby Windy Point Campground. This is just about a thousand feet from hippy hollow, and also quite close to Austin so I’ll be able to chase the local fare while taking a break after covering so much ground the week before.

 

Budget

I’m budgeting about $150 for gas since Texas is so broad.

I’m budgeting $100 a week for food during this trip including both groceries and eating out.

 

Local Fare

I have been told by friends that I must try breakfast tacos in Austin. According to Eater, I should check out Paco’s Tacos and potentially Vaquero Taquero both of which are in Austin.

Buzzfeed says I should try Smoked brisket with white bread, white onion, pickled jalapeños, and bbq sauce. That’s a VERY specific suggestion so I will keep an eye out for that, though to be honest it doesn’t really appeal to me. Far & Wide agrees with some more suggestions of their own.

 

 

Next up: Louisiana

⌛ New Mexico [Draft]

This post is about the New Mexico leg of my year on the road. I’m traveling to all the national parks in the contiguous 48 states. I’m also stopping at several other interesting spots along the way, and making sure to sample the local fare. Public health officials across the country argue that this is one of the safest things to be doing right now.

As someone who lives with essential first responders, this is much safer than staying at home. We had just finished house quarantine after our third covid scare from a room mate’s workplace — the day before I left — so I was feeling very ready to get going and put some distance between me and other people.

 

Previous: Arizona

Next: Texas

  • The Very Large Array, New Mexico
  • Earthship Biotecture, Taos, New Mexico
  • Meow Wolf, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Timeline

There’s not a lot going on in New Mexico in terms of national parks. In fact there’s just one. I plan to spend about a week in New Mexico.

I’ll be coming in from Arizona the night before and staying at Datil Well Campground the first night. This is just $5/night and has restrooms. Which is a very good deal. Plus it has good reviews.

Very Large Array

This is a very cool feat of engineering which has always fascinated me. It’s a very large array of radio telescopes. They are networked so they can work together to see far away parts of the cosmos. I recently wrote a term paper about this, and about possible future advances of this technology. Since then, NASA has since actually done some of the things I wrote about. Very cool topic.

After checking this place out, I’m planning to head to Cebolla Mesa Campground which is a free USDA campground near Taos.

Meow Wolf

Meow Wolf is something special. This is a weird arts collective which evolved into a very popular and profitable permanent installation called House of Eternal Return which tourists can pay to visit.

Many loose associations such as arts collectives and arts nonprofits see the example of Meow Wolf as an ideal future state to which they feel compelled to aspire. I’m not sure I accept that, and I think almost all of them stand no chance of doing that. I think this is something fundamentally different from many of those groups, and it’s not something that would be possible for most of them to accomplish. I want to understand this difference better, so I plan to visit during this trip assuming they reopen in time.

Sadly it looks like they will not be open during my visit to the area which means just one more reason to come back!

Taos: Earthship Biotecture

As a scholar of improvised community infrastructure, Taos is a top priority for this trip. This is a community which builds experimental xericulture homesteads using recycled material and designing their homes and communities to capture rainwater and coexist with the ecosystem, growing their own food in sustainable indoor desert gardens.

You may notice a theme developing from my previous post which focused heavily on the work of Paolo Soleri in combining community architecture with ecology to create sustainable, regenerative alternatives to the modern industrial city.

I’ll be staying nearby at the free campground Cebolla Mesa.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

I’ve visited some cave systems in the past, but nothing anywhere near the scale of the Carlsbad Caverns. Formerly on the coast of a now-gone inland sea, these caverns host the nation’s largest natural cavern room. “The big room” is 4,000 feet long by 625 feet wide and 255 feet tall. I’m excited for this one.

I may stay at the Carlsbad KOA during this period. I’m not yet certain.

 

Budget

I’m budgeting about $100 for gas based on my planned route.

I am camping in my diy trailer the whole time so there will be no cost in hotels or lodging with the exception of one night at Datil Well for $5.

The cost of the guided tour at the Earthship Visitor Center is $16.

I’m budgeting $100 a week for food during this trip including both groceries and eating out.

 

Local Fare

Getting food to go, like camping, falls into the “lowest risk” category of the current CDC guidance.

Buzzfeed recommends Adovada. According to Wikipedia this is “a baked meat dish that is a specialty in New Mexican cuisine. In its simplest form, raw pork is cut into strips or cubes and placed in a large plastic bag with New Mexico red chili powder or minced red chili peppers, garlic, oregano, cumin, lime/lemon juice and/or vinegar, and salt, then mixed and refrigerated overnight. The dish is cooked by baking at low heat wrapped completely in foil or in a covered dish like a casserole dish to keep the meat moist.”

Sounds good. Looks good. Let’s try it! There doesn’t seem to be any exceptionally popular place to get this so I will probably try several different ones and report back.

 

Next up: Texas

Desert Farm MVP

I plan to buy a plot of land and build a desert farm to eventually operate as an educational campground. The idea is that people can come and join the community for a long time in order to learn about subsistence techniques and pitch in with money and work.

Then, together, we can all work to grow food and subsist on the land with the short-term goal of complete food and water sovereignty for the community, and the long-term goal of everyone being completely free to work on their own projects and careers in order to thrive together on the land.

One of the first planning tasks is defining the MVP or minimum viable product. What are the bare minimum essentials that we need when we get started?

Goals

Let’s start by talking about the early-stage goals for the community.

Subsistence

The primary short-term goal is subsistence. We need to rapidly get to the point of being able to feed and water ourselves onsite without any inputs, and while managing and recycling all our outputs.

Infrastructure

Layout

Just like Arcosanti, the initial settlement will be outside the planned future development. This will allow easy access to the site by positioning First Camp near the road like our own Mind Garden.

Our medium-term goal is to eventually build a 3×3 grid of city-block sized squares. The central square will be the main public space and feature public restrooms, showers, and eventually art installations.

The eight outer squares will be sites for group camps just like Ponderosa at Slab City or Moon Cheese at Black Rock City. These will eventually be allocated on an annual basis to groups with compelling project proposals for public offerings, resident stewardship, and  fulfillment of the principles set forth in the Desolation Manifesto. All of these camps should operate as independent, self-sufficient, bootstrappable, and self-funded businesses which address issues related to permaculture while also fulfilling the triple bottom line. Some of the early project proposals include an air well, aquamation facilities, Castile soap production like Dr Bronners, and of course basic community infrastructure. The purpose of all these camps is to inform visitors about techniques for affordable, sustainable alternatives for building communities like ours.

Initially, the only thing we need to worry about is building essential infrastructure and doing it in a way that will let us later expand as planned.

Outside the core grid, land will be allocated for the purposes of the community on an annual basis by the community. Food production and solar arrays are among the most important possible land uses. Additional land not allocated for specific uses will be set aside for dispersed camping and miscellaneous art installations.

But before anyone can come, we need several basic things to be prepared so they can be provided for the community. Most of the work we need to do will be at the site of the future central square, starting with public restrooms and showers.

Power

In the early stage, I want to set up solar photovoltaics with lithium batteries to hopefully give us all the power we will need. The solar arrays will be federated around the property so as to produce power at the same locations where it’s needed. Distributing power production this way is vital to resiliency. There will be no single point of failure.

I plan to duplicate my work from Burning Man, creating a simple network of artsy spider boxes which can run off the battery banks and distribute the power. This means each set of solar panels can charge separate battery banks which are each dedicated to different purposes. For example, one dedicated just for refrigeration and cooking, one for infrastructure like internet and lights, and one to serve as the initial public backbone for the small number of people who will be working on the early stage of the project.

As a proof of concept, I built a small camper which generates 600 watts of solar power which is far more than enough for all of my own needs as an individual. This simple system will simply be duplicated several times to satisfy all these initial requirements.

Food

During this first stage, two large chest freezers will be placed inside a shipping container with additional shelving to serve as the  community’s secure food storage. One of them will be fitted with a special thermostat to make it operate like a fridge; this way we have a large fridge and a large freezer to share. This is a popular and successful strategy in widespread use at burning man and elsewhere.

In the beginning, a very simple community kitchen will suffice, probably housed in the same shipping container as the food storage. This is actually how the kitchen at my burning man camp started out. Larger food production facilities will make sense once there is a larger group to feed and house on-site.  In the long-term, I’d like to see the kitchen offering some kind of simple meals twice daily (breakfast/dinner) to everyone so that there is some basic level of access to nutrition guaranteed to all community members.

If the side of the property with the street access is the front, then I envision one of two outside-front blocks as the main kitchen where food is collected, stored, and distributed. This allows the kitchen access to the central square, the unplanned land for agricultural use, and to the street for deliveries. We aren’t going to be able to specialize in everything, so no doubt some food imports will be necessary.

Food will be produced in several exciting ways on the empty land adjacent to the kitchen. First, there is closed loop aquaponics. I have done a great deal of personal research and experimentation with this, and the possibilities are huge. We will need to build several simple tank beds inside some kind of greenhouse. These will be stocked with edible fish, shrimp, etc. Then a simple raft of styrofoam insulation floats on top of the water with holes cut in it for net pots. These net pots contain the many leafy green vegetables we will later eat.

There is a really enormous amount of research available about this method called Deep Tissue Aquaculture. It serves several purposes at once. It grows food both in fish and plant form, it runs off of urine from both fish and humans, and it cleans and recycles water that would otherwise go to waste. It does all of this without any soil and while using over 99% less water than soil farming. Deep tissue aquaculture has been in practice from Mexico City to Thailand for tens of thousands of years and it’s both more efficient and more productive than more mainstream techniques.

Additionally for long-lived vine plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, and berries, the dutch bucket method allows us to very simply build a similar growing station which uses the same fish water to grow these large plants in a way that is more suited to their needs.

For both the dutch buckets and the aquaponics beds, I think doing the growing inside a shipping container with controlled light cycles and temperature will be a huge improvement over outdoor or greenhouse growing. In order to avoid the limited seasonal growing cycle as a result of changes in daylight, and to avoid the unnecessary heat, we can let a rooftop solar array capture the sunlight and heat before transmitting that power to led grow lights in the cool, humid inside of the container gardens. It’s not clear to me whether this makes more sense as a short-term goal or a medium-term goal, but I think getting crops out of the sun cycle and into a protected environment will allow us to grow a lot more crops year-round as opposed to only during their natural growing season.

One of the biggest reasons to grow food indoors instead of outdoors is the opportunity for first-in-first-out just-in-time growing. I want to take this early stage to experiment with ways of doing the planting and harvesting to allow for FIFO/JIT so that we can produce these vegetables as we need them, not all at once. If we plant two or three each of spinach,  lettuce, kale, etc every week or so, then we can harvest that many each week after a 26 week growing cycle. This is one major opportunities for innovation in subsistence farming that I think we can really pioneer here. Instead of growing lots of food in the spring and trying to store it for the rest of the year, we can move production inside and grow the same food year-round. This likely wouldn’t make sense for vast corporate agriculture, but it makes a lot of sense for subsistence farming.

For example, a standard sheet of syrofoam is 8’x4′. If we build the tank beds to fit that size, then we will have 8*4=32 square feet of growing space in each bed. Because most leafy greens require about one square foot of space, this means we can segment the production such that one row finishes growing per week. That way we always have fresh leafy greens on hand, with more being ready each week.

Despite the focus on aquaponics, I’d like to have an additional focus on composting in order to create healthy soil for growing plants that way as well. In the long-term, it makes sense to create geodesic domes to allow year-round food production for soil crops. In the short term, I think it makes sense to start with the circular beds that will eventually be enclosed in future domes. These can be constructed on an ongoing basis using reclaimed materials from the composting process, including compostable toilets, table scraps, and other sources for compostable materials. These domes will likely be well suited for agricultural products like herbs and spices or anything that may have a harder time with aquaponic growing methods. Imagine walking into a dome full of fresh basil. to have your morning coffee and bagel.

This will also be a great opportunity to inform people about companion planting techniques. Rotating monoculture is one of the practices most responsible for the many catastrophic side effects of corporate-scale agriculture. Instead of sewing vast fields with a single crop that strips all nutrients from the soil and then moving on to new land like corporate agriculture does, we can focus on reviving ancient wisdom traditions around plants that work together (companion planting) to provide for one another’s needs while nurturing the soil in a way that keeps working over time (is sustainable).

Remember that one of the key principles is to be a community with no outputs. We need to find ways of recycling and reusing all the materials that normally get dumped somewhere. This makes us more sustainable but it also gives us huge opportunities for growth. This is a perfect example because we’re taking waste that would normally be buried and turning it into fuel that drives food production and growth.

It probably goes without saying but I want to make sure we are only using heirloom varieties of plants so that we get healthy, reliable results from plants that were designed by nature to succeed as part of a broader ecosystem, rather than designed in a lab only for the purpose of maximizing profit no matter the cost to that ecosystem.

Another one of the big advantages of growing food in the desert is the fact that there are lots of food crops which are well-suited to growing in the normal desert conditions. After all, people have subsisted for tens of thousands of years here growing crops that thrived under these conditions and allowed vast civilizations to develop here. We will need to set aside a large area for these kinds of crops as well.

Another critical piece of the puzzle is pollinators. If we want to produce our own seeds to grow food far away from other agricultural enterprises, then we will eventually need to develop apiary skills and establish bee hives to pollinate the plants. I am very interested in building off the work of Paul Stammets in researching and experimenting with the ways that agarikon fungi can serve bee colonies as a general-purpose antiviral to stop the apiary viral complex which when combined with widespread pesticide use is decimating vital bee populations around the world. Bees are absolutely essential to human well-being. We could not survive and produce food without them.

Livestock

Chickens are fun and easy animals to keep. They love to eat any pest insects like cockroaches, and they make lots of delicious eggs. I’ve had chickens most of my life, and once you taste fresh eggs, you will never want to go back to store bought. Chickens are a no brainer.

I’ve also had pigs and dogs. One of the dangers of living in the desert is the presence of venomous animals like snakes and scorpions, as well as coyotes that will try to eat the chickens. Luckily, both pigs and dogs love to hunt and eat snakes and scorpions, plus they chase away coyotes. For this reason, I plan to get a couple of pigs (pot-bellied) and a couple of dogs early on. These will never be food, just cute friends who work on keeping the grounds safe from dangerous animals.

Water

The same block where the kitchen sits will also play host to our Department of Public Works Camp (DPW) and serve as the central distribution node for things like power, water, internet, and septic.

Trenching these things will eventually give access to the other eight blocks of the core grid. For now, it will only be supplying the kitchen with power, water, and septic.

I’d like to start with a raised IBC Tote water tank, and eventually construct a full IBC water tower. This builds on lessons I learned at Slab City during my visit there. This will initially serve to simplify water distribution by putting a lot of water in a big tank where everyone can access it. The easiest short-term solution will likely be either hiring someone to truck water in periodically or else using a second IBC tote to truck water in ourselves.

Eventually, raising that tank or one like it will mean we can let gravity do the work of high powered pumps in providing water pressure for showers, sinks, etc.

Water reuse is a must. Water is expensive and it’s one of our scarcest resources. We must focus on reclaiming as much as we can and finding new uses for it whenever possible. There are great ted talks about techniques in use around the world for reusing water five times or more before it becomes too dirty for any useful purpose. To that end, I’d like to have public access to water freely available to everyone in the community. This will create natural incentives for us to educate guests about how important water recycling is, and to provide adequate infrastructure to close the loops on the outputs.

In the long-term, I want to focus on developing and expanding bio-remediation and reclamation techniques for water. For example, in the earthships of Taos, many use this same technique of collecting human urine in a tank to grow plants. They also use a complex system of mechanical filtration or bio-filtration to reclaim fresh water from the tanks.  The water they drink is the water in the fish tanks, put through a series of filters. Then it goes back into the fish tank when they pee it out. In the tanks, bacteria and enzymes break the urine down and make its chemicals available to the plants as food. This is why the technique is called closed-loop aquaponics. Adding fish to the tanks just adds extra urine to feed even more plants while including fish as an additional food source.

There is no reason we can’t use something like a simple solar distillery or other filtration system to clean the fish water and pump it back up into the water tower to be used again as perfectly clean and potable fresh water, and this has to be the long-term goal because water is only getting scarcer and more expensive as the biosphere continues to collapse.

If everyone uses 1-3 gallons of water per day (about half the average for a typical American), and we have one hundred community members, and we pay $1/gallon to have water trucked in (less than half the average paid at burning man), then we are paying over ten thousand dollars a month just for water. Every gallon we reuse means money we save every community member.

Some of the people involved in the early planning stages of the project have  expressed interest in building Atmospheric Water Generators such as Air Wells. I think in the long-term this makes a lot of sense. Even in the desert, there is a lot of water in the air, and that water can be extracted in order to be used as potable fresh water. Also, while closed loop aquaponics uses over 99% less water than old-fashioned farming techniques, a great deal of the water it does use goes into the air as humidity through the processes the plants use to make glucose and other materials they need. This water accumulates in the air since the greenhouse is a closed space. It makes a lot of sense to extract the excess humidity back out of the air in the greenhouse and return it to the tanks for reuse. In fact, this is a natural side effect of air conditioning. All air conditioners produce water which must be drained away. This can simply be caught or piped back into the system. This seems like a challenging project but we have someone who wants to do it, and I think especially in the long-term, it makes sense to focus on any water reclamation strategy that’s available to us.

As a case study, one of the best examples of water bio-remediation is water hyacinth. This plant grows quickly and floats on water with no soil for its whole life cycle. In fact, in places like Thailand, water hyacinth is what they traditionally use as the rafts to grow plants on in their ancient deep tissue aquaculture techniques. They use water hyacinth just like we’re using styrofoam. One of the other benefits of water hyacinth is that it filters any heavy metals and other toxins out of the water. Water hyacinth can grow in raw untreated sewage, purifying it into clean water while producing lots of compostable plant material. It can even be fermented into ethanol or other biofuels.

Internet

The most common individual-scale strategy I’ve seen in my own research in improvised communities is using hotspots from providers like T-Mobile or Verizon. I use one from Google. These costs can even be shared by several people caravanning together.

Community-scale internet is a more challenging problem to solve. The current internet infrastructure is owned by a corporate monopoly. The backbone that was built with public dollars is now only accessible through corporate gatekeepers. I think there is a lot of hope that this will change in the future, but currently our only real option is to pay a gatekeeper for access.

Thes best way to provide community-scale internet service will depend a lot on the eventual site chosen for the farm. At burning man, we use long-distance radio towers to beam internet into the city and then distribute it through a series of smaller networks.

Building our community network will be the easy part. I’ve worked directly on this project at burning man and even built a community-scale network myself  for Comfort & Joy. BUilding a community network can be done using simple off the shelf repeaters to rebroadcast the internet connection around the area. Something cheap and simple like this will likely be fine in both the short-term and medium-term. Even a simple Google Wifi Mesh system like the one I have at home will easily deliver gigabit network connections to the entire area of the proposed future development.

The hard part is figuring out the best way to get a high enough bandwidth connection from the internet to our public network so that everyone can get enough access. In the long-term, it will likely make sense to federate this system so that several individual uplinks to Starlink or something like it which can then be distributed around the area with branches building off of these uplinks. It would even make sense to establish load-balancers between the uplinks, and then share that balanced uplink across a simple mesh wifi system. This kind of system would be extremely resilient to any kind of issues outside the area.

bathrooms

Urinal troughs are simple to build and they allow us to easily reclaim valuable material and add it to the aquaponics system to feed the plants. I’ve seen examples where people are doing closed cycle aquaponics without fish urine and using just human urine to feed the plants. I think doing both together will be a good place to start.

Composting toilets are a no brainer, particularly in the early stages when there are just a few of us. Simple instant tents with toilets inside are an easy solution that I’ve already tested with great results. We will likely have some large section of the land adjacent tothe kitchen set aside for composting, in addition to the aquaponics, soil domes, and other agricultural infrastructure.

Many of the composting materials require different periods or temperatures. For example, safely composting human waste requires different techniques from composting vegetables or unwanted plant parts. So there will need to be different kinds of composting set up for different materials.

showers

I have always found it morally appalling that public restrooms and showers are not already sited on every street corner across the developed world. People have a right to bathe and relieve themselves with dignity. This one of the most egregious violations of human well-being I’ve seen perpetrated on a de facto basis throughout not juts America but also Europe. The only public showers that are available in America are found at truck stops and they cost $10-17 each time. This is not ethical. Showers, like restrooms and water, should be freely available for everyone.

To that end, I’ve researched and experimented with various techniques in improvised communities and I like the simple strategy of a low-flow shower head with a metered button to turn it on for a minute or so at a time. Water heating will be done by a simple passive solar water heater. The water coming out of the solar water heater will then pass through an electric tankless water heater in order to make sure it is up to temp. This hybrid design means the electric water heater only has to do part  of the work on cloudy days, or at night when the sun is not heating the water. Our shower system will have no CO2 emissions, and make it easy to collect and remediate/reclaim the water from the drains.

One technique I liked at burning man was the elevated expansion grid platform with a sump pump underneath to collect the water and pump it into a holding tank. Remediation and reclamation processes can then pull the stored water out of the tank and get to work cleaning it up and making it potable again or simply using it to flush toilets in the adjacent restroom block.

Laundry

Laundry is an interesting problem to solve. There are substantial costs involved in terms of maintenance for typical machines, and remediation of the water may not always be possible with certain chemicals. Also evaporating the water during drying is going to waste a lot of water. Probably the best option would be not using industrial machines, but instead soaking clothes in natural non-chemical cleaners and then drip drying them or using a condensing dryer to reclaim the water during drying.

One of the most important things is not using any chemicals that are going to be hard to remediate in order to get the water back afterwards. One of the best options for solvents is Castile soap like Dr Bronner’s.

In terms of methods for not using expensive machines, I have found great alternatives in my own research at improvised nomadic communities.

In the modern world we have lost the tradition of soaking clothes overnight in soap to clean them. This is a huge first step that will be easy for us to do. Simply start by soaking clothes in a bucket with soapy water overnight. People I’ve talked to say that about a tablespoon of Dr Bronner’s in a few gallons of water is plenty.

The next day come back and agitate the clothes in the bucket using a plunger. This final step loosens any remaining debris and let’s it dissolve into the water. Some people also change out the water before and after agitation. But most people I’ve talked to actually don’t rinse the clothes after this. The argument being that if you need to rinse extra soap out then you’re using too much soap.

Then the clean clothes simply need to be wrung out and hung up to dry. This last bit of lost water seems difficult to recover, but the vast majority of the water stays in the bucket. Used Castile soap is easy to neutralize and remediate.

First Steps

We will be using USDA Farm Loans and Grants to buy a few hundred acres of land later this year. The whole project will be organized as a nonprofit. Most of the early team are already fully self-contained nomads so we will simply set up camp there with our existing gear to get started.

MVP Materials

These are the things we will need to buy with the initial USDA grants after the land is secured;

  • A water trailer.
  • Materials for livestock pens.
  • Initial livestock and their feed.
  • Fencing to surround the land.
  • Materials for the first aquaponics beds.
  • Ideally I’d like to get several shipping containers.
    • Freezers and shelving for food and tool storage.

Here are things we already have and won’t need to buy for this project;

  • Lots of solar panels
  • Lithium battery banks
  • Backup generators
  • Shelter/ campers

Arizona

This post is about the Arizona leg of my year on the road. I’m traveling to all the national parks in the contiguous 48 states. I’m also stopping at several other interesting spots along the way, and making sure to sample the local fare. Public health officials across the country argue that this is one of the safest things to be doing right now.

As someone who lives with essential first responders, this is much safer than staying at home. We had just finished house quarantine after our third covid scare from a room mate’s workplace — the day before I left — so I was feeling very ready to get going and put some distance between me and other people.

Previous: Southern California

Next: New Mexico

  • Quartzsite, Arizona (January 14-25)
  • Arcosanti, Arizona (January 24-30)
  • Saguaro National Park, Arizona (January 29)
  • Sonora Hot Dogs at Nogales Hot Dogs in Phoenix (January 29)
  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (January 31-February 6)
  • Meteor Crater, Arizona
  • Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Timeline

I plan to spend at least a month in Arizona.

One of the main suggestions from TripAdvisor is kayaking but I’m going to be there in January so that’s probably not the most ideal activity for the winter. I would love to come back someday in the summer and run the Colorado. In particular I would love to do a multi-day trip through the grand canyon.

Quartzsite, Arizona

This is a mecca for nomads. Annual events like the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous and the Quartzsite RV Show attract tens of thousands of snowbirds and nomads alike. While there isn’t really anything going on this year, and I wouldn’t want to go if there was, I still want to experience the remote desert environment here and spend some time writing and working through my long backlog of tasks and projects.

Arcosanti, Arizona

In the words of Maynard James Keenan, “If you were an extra-terrestrial traveler and you landed in the Southwest and wanted to assume an identity here and blend in. This would probably be a good spot to do that.”

I’m very excited to visit Arcosanti! This is a proof of concept Archology designed by visionary architect and urbanist Paolo Soleri. The idea is that the community is designed intentionally to incorporate closed loops which allow it to recycle its waste while providing for its own needs. It also houses as many people as possible in a small, dense area with no cars while preserving the vast wild lands around it; resident stewardship and ecology are built into the architecture of the community. This is where the term arcology comes from.

One of the products they produce are unique hand-forged bronze wind bells. I’m very excited to pick up one of these in addition to a copy of Soleri’s book, City In The Image Of Man.

I plan to spend a week here, reading and learning as much as possible.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

This park has the nation’s largest cacti. It’s a small park and there seems to be a limited number of activities so we will see how much time I spend here.

I’m excited to see the cactus garden at the museum, and do the scenic drive through the park.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

I plan to spend a week here, boondocking near Tusayan at Long Jim Loop Camping. Camping here is free for up to two weeks just like Quartzsite and so many other places. This spot is also just a few hundred feet from downtown Tusayan with all the shopping and wifi you could wish for.

Meteor Crater, Arizona

About 50,000 years ago a meteor struck this spot in Arizona. It left a huge crater. I want to see it.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

This is a very cool-looking place. I’m excited to see all the weird petrified trees and do the many hikes that are available.

I plan to spend several days here. There are a lot of options for free camping in the area, but the Crystal Forest Gift Shop or the seems like the most obvious option since it’s right there at the park and it’s free.

Budget

I’m budgeting about $100 for gas based on my planned route.

I am camping in my diy trailer mots of the time so there will be little cost in hotels or lodging. There are two exceptions. I will be spending a week at Arcosanti at $20/night, and I will be spending a weekend at Shangri La at $30/night.

I also plan to spend ~$200 on a wind bell and a copy of Soleri’s book at Arcosanti.

I’m budgeting $100 a week for food during this trip including both groceries and eating out.

Local Fare

One of the main goals I set for this trip is to try weird and popular local food options. According to Buzzfeed, Sonoran hotdogs are the thing to try while in Arizona. Furthermore, Far & Wide agrees, and suggests that Nogales Hot Dogs in Phoenix is the best place in Arizona to get these mythical Sonoran hotdogs. We will see!

Getting food to go, like camping, falls into the “lowest risk” category of the current CDC guidance.

Honorable Mention

Tombstone seems like it would be fun to check out, but I don’t want to get the normal tourist experience.

I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. I will try to check that out next time I’m in the area.

 

Next up: New Mexico

Slab City

This post is about the first leg of my year in the wilderness. I’m traveling to all the national parks in the contiguous 48 states. I’m also stopping at several other interesting spots along the way, and making sure to sample the local fare. Public health officials across the country argue that this is one of the safest things to be doing right now.

As someone who lives with essential first responders, this is much safer than staying at home. We had just finished house quarantine after our third covid scare from a room mate’s workplace — the day before I left — so I was feeling very ready to get going and put some distance between me and other people.

Next Up: Arizona

On my way to my first national park, I’m stopping off in two places; Salton and Slab City. I  am spending about a week in Slab City before continuing on to Arizona.

Getting There

I’m starting my trip on New Year’s Day after a last night together with my quarantine pod discussing our resolutions and plans for the new year. They are hoping to join me on my trip in a few months.

Because California has arbitrarily decided to close camping at all the national parks (one of the safest possible activities during covid according to the consensus of experts across the country) I am moving most of my California plans to the end of the trip and starting out at Slab City.

It’s a twelve hour drive from Sacramento to Slab City. So I will be stopping overnight along the way at the Love’s in Barstow which is a safe spot with restrooms where you can camp out for the night for free.

Salton, California

This is an inland sea which exists as the result of an industrial accident. It has been the subject of documentaries, development attempts, disasters, and a seemingly endless string of misfortunes.

I’m very excited to check it out. This will probably just be a quick stop to look at the desolate landscape and take some pictures before heading on to Slab City.

Slab City, California

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with places like Slab City, Burning Man, Arcosanti, and other weird nomadic experimental communities. This is particularly germane to the topic of my current field of academic research and my efforts to identify what steps we can take to make sure our communities survive and thrive in the ongoing collapse of the biosphere. This will be my first time visiting Slab City, and I’m very excited to finally see it and take copious notes and pictures.

There are A LOT of things I want to see here, so I’m planning to stay for two weeks. I will also take this opportunity to dial in my moving cabin setup and do my first real long-term testing of the power systems.

One of the really great things about Slab City is that it’s all outdoor art installations in wide open spaces, so it will be trivially easy to follow the guidance of staying clear of other people while enjoying the art.

I really want to see the Oasis Club.

I definitely want to see East Jesus and West Satan.

Hopefully, I can see a live show at The Range.

Salvation Mountain is on the way to the Hot Springs, and perhaps one of the most striking and recognizable vistas.

I also want to make sure to visit the Hot Springs if I can find a time when they are empty.

And then I’m heading to Quartzsite.

Budget

I am budgeting about a hundred dollars for gas.

I am dispersed camping in my diy trailer the entire time so there will be no cost in hotels or lodging.

I’m budgeting $100 a week for food during this trip including groceries, eating out, and alcohol.

 

How It Went

A lot of the exciting things about Slab City were closed for covid, like the Range and East Jesus. This doesn’t make a lot of sense since these are outdoors and lend themselves to safe social distancing, but I get it.

First step, don the PPE. I”m wearing a P100 respirator which is much more effective than an N95 mask, plus a ballistic face shield.

I took the advice of AdventureVanMan on youtube and set up camp at the end of Edith just south of Slab LoWs. It was a great spot with lots of room between campers and an amazing view of the sunset…

I biked around the city quite a bit. I took a lot of pictures and notes about the interesting art and public offerings, but the biggest thing I was interested to see was the improvised infrastructure. I will be doing another post about this topic since it’s close to my heart and a big part of the reason I’m doing this trip.

Check out the full photo album here. There are a lot of panoramas and photospheres which do not embed into the blog.

Water Storage Infrastructure

I thought it was very interesting to see the way people were improvising water infrastructure. There were hundreds of IBC Totes scattered around the city with signs on them advertising free water for everyone (with suggested limits).

These water tanks were often elevated on platforms like a water tower and then connected to RVs or other structures. I took lots of pictures of these setups so check the album if you want to see examples. In the past, I’ve written about this same process of elevating IBC totes being shown in improvised communities on the Expanse. I wonder where they got their inspiration!

Water Distribution Infrastructure

I also saw people coming through every day with improvised water trucks to fill people’s tanks. Shown below is the same camp as above, but a truck has approached with an IBC Tote in its bed and it’s filling the water tower.

I wanted to ask about how this works and what people are paying but I didn’t want to approach others because of covid so this will be something to investigate in the future when it’s safer. There seem to be a lot of cash businesses that have popped up in Slab City to fill the unmet food, water, and infrastructure needs of the community.

Electricity Production

There were a lot of people using wind turbines, solar panels, and gasoline generators for power. The photo album contains examples of all of these.

It was interesting to see the way people were rigging their photovoltaic arrays. Shown below is one array that has 48 100w solar panels. This is a really incredible amount of power. I wonder what they are doing with all of that. I only have six of these panels and it’s more than enough for my heat and ac.

Electricity Storage

One of the most expensive and challenges to using solar photovoltaic in improvised communities is how to store the power during the day so that you can access it at night. I numerous examples where people had solar panels laying in apparent disuse next to a generator that was running 24 hours a day. This put me in mind to do further research on picohydro pumped storage and similar technology which serves as a potential alternative to expensive, short-lived, and deeply unethical lithium batteries.

There are companies developing technology to use abandoned shafts from old mines and wells to lift and lower large weights in order to store and later use that potential energy as electric power. Other companies are doing similar projects where cranes stack up blocks and then lower them in order to store and then extract the same potential energy. There are many interesting potential options for ways to store the power of photovoltaic systems while avoiding the  ecological catastrophe of the lithium product life cycle, and the dependency on the global mineral industry for frequent replacement batteries.

This also led me to explore the existing online ecosystem for reusing marginal photovoltaics and lithium cells. Solar panels and lithium batteries gradually lose capacity over time. As capital assets, corporations have to write these off and dispose of them within a set timeframe. This means lots of used and partially functional batteries and solar panels hit the market. If you have a lot of land in the desert, then who cares if your solar panels are only working at 80% of their original capacity, particularly if you can get them cheaply or for free. Groups have sprung up on Facebook to discuss this topic and help find and distribute these second-hand products.

Internet Infrastructure

Also interesting was the way people in Slab City were getting their internet. There were sort of two strategies. I did some wardriving (scanning for wifi around different areas) and found lots of wifi hotspots from mobile phone companies. This seems to be the most popular way for individual-scale community internet infrastructure. People also formed camps with their travel-mates and shared wifi hotspots together.

Groups Vs Solo

There were a number of large camps set up and fenced off where lots of people were living together under quarantine. Most of them refused entry to anyone from the outside. These all had public offerings under normal conditions and some were still doing that. For example, Camp Ponderosa offers free breakfast to everyone who wants it.  Camp SK8 (A skate park) offers free dinner to everyone who wants it. Oasis Club offers paid meals and free coffee and wifi to anyone who wants it.

I brought my own food and coffee and did not venture into these camps during this trip, but I would be fascinated to return and visit them again when it’s safe to do so.

Food Production

There are lots of camps that do grow their own food on the land here. I would not recommend that since this is an extremely polluted former military weapons testing site, but if it’s possible to grow food here then it’s possible to do it anywhere. Here is a cool example from the backstage area of the church of enlightenment where they have large gardens producing fresh vegetables and doubling as a shade structure.

Entertainment

There was even a movie theater! This is actually something I brought with me as well, though I have not yet used it on this trip. I’d love to watch Blade Runner or something by Cronenberg here :]

Radio Infrastructure

The other interesting infrastructure I saw was radio masts (pictured below). There were lots of camps that had large radio masts. Some of them advertised pirate radio, others seemed to be listening only. As a licensed amateur radio tech, I am very interested in this kind of infrastructure and I posted lots of pics in the album linked above.

Sewage Infrastructure

Since I was staying far away from other people, I did not inquire as to how others were taking care of their sewage needs. This will be another interesting topic to return and inquire about in the future.

Personally I really liked the setup of using the instant tent as a bathroom with the portable toilet inside. It was very clean and convenient.

Shade Structures

It was also cool to see so many examples of people putting shade structures over their living spaces. I saw one example (shown below) where they built a deck with stairs, chairs, and guard rails that doubles as a shade structure for the dwelling underneath. This mirrors the findings of my big research project on how to effectively cool spaces in direct sunlight.

 

Cyberpunk Praxis

When it was cold and dark out, I found myself playing Cyberpunk 2077 inside my solar powered DIY camper at Slab City and I thought to myself, wow this is probably the most cyberpunk moment of my life.

Politics

The politics of Slab City were very interesting. It is high-key anarchy. There are no rules, no police, no public utilities, and no one to call if something goes wrong. On the one hand, this means that if someone’s wild dogs are chasing you or if your neighbor is pacing back and forth screaming all day with a gun in his hand and talk radio blasting on the speakers, you just sort of have to sort of try and avoid these things and you really don’t have any recourse to prevent them from happening.

Prophecy?

It seems that Slab City offers a prototype of the apocalyptic/ nomad community. One of the really cool things about this community is the fact that people have been iterating for decades on the problems facing cities. This means there are lots of examples of solutions that have been tested under the toughest conditions by people who are living with the solutions daily. We can learn about sustainability and resilient urban design from the way people in situations like this solve the problems that everyone faces; power, water, sewage, food, internet, etc.

As someone who intends to found some kind of intentional subsistence community later this year, these lessons are core to the work I intend to undertake.

There is also another important lesson to take away from Slab City. Radical Independence is hard by yourself. It’s much easier, much safer, much cheaper, more resilient, and more sustainable to be independent together with a small group or tribe of people who can pool their labor and resources to solve these problems together.

A Unifying Political and Socioeconomic Theory

Here’s a photo I took at Camp SK8 of a vandweller flying the flag of anarchosyndicalism. This is basically the same argument I just outlined, that people should work together to solve shared problems without needing a state or corporation to make them do it. This is a very slab city idea, a very burning man idea, and a very good idea for anyone who wants to go about building a resilient and sustainable community during the ongoing collapse of the biosphere.

Should You Visit?

People have asked me if they should visit Slab City. I think my answer is “probably not.” This is not a fun happy place. This is a sad terrifying place. And the whole world is going to be more like this place soon. Read my Desolation Manifesto to learn more about the ongoing collapse of the biosphere and the steps we can start taking now to put ourselves and our communities in a position of surviving and even thriving through what’s coming.

 

Next stop: Arizona

Moving Cabin: Power Systems

Power

I am using a large integrated battery system. This is cutting edge tech, and it’s an amazing achievement. A single small product contains the batteries, the chargers including both 120v and solar mppt, and separate inverters for both 12v and 120v output.

The biggest thing to do here is just cut the hole for the shore power and then assemble all the pieces. There is a 12 volt system and a 120 volt system. Let’s start with the 12 volt system. This system runs the jacks, surveillance, ventilation fan, usb accessories, and the license plate light. The 120 volt system runs everything else.

12 Volt System

Let’s go in order of how the power moves through the system. First there is a SA20 port coming in from the Bluetti AC200’s high amperage DC output. This goes to the bottom red input bus in the photo. The ground goes to the ground bus inside the distribution panel.

There is also a 300w 12v shore supply running off shore power if it’s available. This comes in through the single 30a breaker in the photo. From there it runs to the second red input bus near the top of the photo.

Ok now to decide which input bus connects to the distribution panel, I installed a high current relay. This switches automatically between the shore bus or the battery bus depending on whether shore power is available. See the low gauge yellow wire running from the relay to the shore bus? That’s the control wire for the relay, so if there is power on that bus, then the relay switches to that bus.

Now coming out of the relay, the high gauge yellow wire takes the power from whichever bus and sends it to the distribution panel. This means that no matter what the situation is, there is power going to the distribution panel and it all switches automatically.

Then wires run from the distro panel to things like the jacks, ventilation, and eventually the future water pump, and other 12v accessories. It also runs to a double cigarette port shown at the bottom.

One of the cigarette ports has a usb adapter which charges the RavPower USB battery shown to the left. This battery has passthrough so it basically functions as a USB UPS. The RavPower powers the Raspberry Pi (this screen case) and Arduino sensor array at the top of the image. This USB battery also powers a switchable usb hub at the top of the image. This switchable hub controls the internal and external string lights. They could run for a week off this battery without main power.

The arduino constantly measures and records things like temperature, humidity, nuclear radiation, air quality, and other interesting measures. A second array is outside, so this allows us to compare inside/outside data to measure performance and hazards.

There is also a second ground bus at the top which just runs to the distribution panel’s ground bus. This is just to make everything cleaner. You could also just run everything to the same distribution panel ground bus.

120 Volts

Again let’s follow the power as it moves through the system.

The shore power or generator plugs in through a shore socket on the outside of the trailer. From the shore socket, power runs to a power strip which serves as a shore bus. (Yellow in the lower left.) The shore bus has three jobs. The Bluetti AC200 charges from the shore bus. So does my older smaller backup battery (to the right). Second, the shore 12v supply runs off this bus. Third, the shore bus runs into the automatic transfer switch (in front of the Bluetti AC200).

The automatic transfer switch defaults to shore power if available, or runs off the Bluetti AC200 if no shore power is available. The output from this switch goes to the main chassis bus, a special kill-a-watt plugin strip (at the top center) with a screen showing current power usage.

This system allows heating, air conditioning, phone chargers, the microwave, the toaster, etc to automatically run from the most appropriate power source.

The AC200 is also charged by the solar array.This is made up of four 100 watt panels mounted to the roof. I am also experimenting with additional panels which sit on the ground and add on to the capacity of the roof array.

Wrangling Metaphenomena

This semester, a professor in one of my classes made the claim that almost no person or organization is aware or its core principles. Maybe they have some vague nonsense mission statement or political identity that could be used to argue literally anything, and that’s basically the point. They don’t have a set of claims upon which all of their conclusions rest cogently and consistently. This is the first in a series of essays where I will try to identify what are my core principles.

Last year, a great mentor of mine heard that I had gotten a degree in queer studies, and he had apparently also gotten a similar degree about forty years ago. And he asked me, “What is the central claim of queer theory?” Well there is not one and that’s kind of the point. It talks about itself and frequently contradicts itself in order to critically examine epistemic and ontological structures ad infinitum. Like there is no core thesis and that’s sort of the core thesis.

Ok so I recently wrote a term paper arguing that identity and orientation are not two-dimensional matrices of self and target but rather a chaotic intersection of countless dimensions of factors from biology and socialization and interpersonal interactions et cetera et cetera. That each person stands at a unique intersection of an unimaginable number of chaotic variables, and the way that they overlap and interact is what gives rise not only to our identities but also to our orientations, and that those can change over time.

I have degrees in Sociology, Social Justice, Women’s Studies, LGBT Studies, and Queer Studies among others, and this theory is the only one I’ve ever seen that accurately fits all the data I’ve observed and learned about, including the contents of the Variations in Sexuality class whose term paper I am referring to.

Ok next, I have a great mentor who once said to me that there are at least as many genders and orientations as there are people, and I think this was a missing first-principle that allowed me to formulate this broader conclusion.

Another point that I made in the essay is that of the inverse relationship between precision and accuracy when making any claim about a complex, chaotic system like gender or weather or gas particles, etc. The more abstract a claim is (the less precise), the more accurate it can be. This is actually a series of laws in math called Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems which is a whole ‘nother can of worms that I explore in depth in that essay I mentioned above.

This is called a metaphenomena; a thing that happens at the point where countless chaotic other things interact to create it as a side-effect. The weather can not exist without a global system of trillions of trillions of gas particles interacting with gravitation, fission, etc, etc to create it. What’s the temperature today? You just can’t get there without the rest of it.

Metaphenomena can not be understood accurately without understanding the incalculable number of random things that interacted to create it in unpredictable ways. Needless to say, that is fundamentally impossible. Therefore, what truths can we learn and say about metaphenomena?

Sociology was founded on the failure of cybernetics and systems theory to model complex chaotic systems. Sociology argues that despite the fundamental impossibility to accurately model complex chaotic systems, it is possible to learn about statistical trends and clusters within a population.

The fundamental question is how can we wrangle, contend with, intuit, understand, or make accurate predictions about complex, chaotic metaphenomena like gender, sexual orientation, the weather, gas particles, etc?

We just can’t, and that’s a law of reality. What we can do it make claims and assumptions that are limited by clear and specific caveats about their samples. There is no way to study all of humanity. There is absolutely a way to draw a statistically significant population of white male american students at a particular research university. And we should say that whenever we discuss the takeaways from such research. There is no claim that can be made about all of humanity based on a sample of white male american students at a particular research university.

Freud’s fundamental mistake was assuming that the people he studied in insane asylums in Vienna were a representative sample of all humans everywhere throughout the entire past and future, and it’s a lesson that essentially all researchers have failed to learn; conclusions must be qualified with caveats about the necessary limitations of the sample they are based on.

DIY Quasar Interferometry

CJ Trowbridge

2020-12-02

ASTR 11

Lab N13 Report

I’m writing about Radio Interferometry. This is a topic that I am very interested in. As a licensed amateur radio technician, I have tried for several semesters to do an honors project on this topic but haven’t yet found a professor who was as interested as I am in radio interferometry.

Let’s start with the definition from Britannica. “[an] apparatus consisting of two or more separate antennas that receive radio waves from the same astronomical object and are joined to the same receiver.”

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory explains its function, “a radio telescope interferometer can combine measurements from each of the pairs of antennas in an array simultaneously, it can make a very high resolution measurement of a specific point in the focal plane of the radio telescope.  By combining many pairs of antennas one can create an image of a specific point in the sky.”

The type of radio interferometry I am most interested in is Quasar Interferometry. According to Wikipedia, Quasar Interferometry is also called Very-long-baseline interferometry or VLBI. For the purposes of this paper, there is no functional difference between Pulsars and Quasars since both have known locations and emit similar radio signals. In reality (According to HowItWorksDaily.com) Quasars are galaxies while Pulsars are merely stars, but again for our purposes what matters is that they both have known locations and emit predictable radio signals.

According to Space.com, a quasar is a distant object powered by a black hole which transmits a predictable radio signal out into space. These signals reach us as a regular sine wave on a certain frequency. We know about many quasars and we know where they are and what their signal should sound like.

One type of antenna for Radio Interferometry is called a Phased Array. According to radartutorial.eu, a phased array is “an array antenna whose single radiators can be fed with different phase shifts. As a result, the common antenna pattern can be steered electronically.” This is very exciting for two reasons. First, because with several small antennae, you can listen and measure the microscopic differences in timing in order to precisely determine the direction from which a signal originated.

Secondly, phased arrays are interesting because when you record overlapping signals coming from different directions, you can also isolate noise propagating across the array in other directions, and remove it from the signal you are looking for. In this way, a phased array is to radio interferometry as lasers are to adaptive optics.

There are several interesting potential observations that could be made with a phased radio interferometer. In my own proposed honors project, I would be using software defined radio to listen to the predictable transmissions of various quasars.

The first interesting observation would be simply using a phased array. This is because I would theoretically be able to pinpoint the precise direction to each of the quasars. Since these directions are known, I could triangulate the position of the array. This would essentially function as a much more precise alternative to GPS which would not require the satellites. Some kind of similar technology will be necessary once humans begin to explore space and move beyond the range of the GPS satellites.

The second interesting observation would be measuring small variances in the sine waves we receive from each quasar. The signals sent out by Quasars do not change in frequency, but the signal we receive from them should. This is because of the propagation of gravity waves across the interstellar medium. Theoretically, measuring these small fluctuations in frequency would mean we can pinpoint the point of origin for gravity waves as they move across the various Quasar beams we are listening to.

This would make a phased radio interferometer function as both a better alternative to GPS and a powerful gravity wave sensor. We do have existing GPS infrastructure, but gravity wave detection is still bleeding edge science, and our current sensors are limited by their human-made terrestrial size. If we used the enormous distance between earth and the many Quasars as a gravity sensor, then we could expand our gravity sensor to the size of that distance between us and the Quasars. Imagine the increase in resolution and precision, and all from a few SDR dongles that can fit in your pocket.

There are some technical challenges to using off the shelf products to conduct these kinds of observations. According to Caltech, Quasars emit radio waves between 10mhz and 100ghz. According to the manufacturer of RTL-SDR, this is well within the range of their cheap $20 dongle. This means for just $20 you can easily pick up the signals from any Quasar; of course you would need at least a few of them to build a phased array. Perhaps the biggest challenge would be writing the special software you would need to record and compare the signals from each phase in your antenna array. Harder still would be the software tools you would need to analyze the data and find the results.

In researching for this paper, I have learned that since my original honors project proposal, NASA has actually completed a proof of concept for this idea using a phased array of 52 radio telescopes. So apparently I have been scooped, but in the words of NASA scientist Keith Gendreau, “It could probably be done with a single telescope. ” So maybe there is some work left to do in radio interferometry yet!

 

 

 

Works Cited

Britannica. “Radio Interferometer.” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://www.britannica.com/science/radio-interferometer

Caltech. “Fanaroff-Riley Classification.” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/Glossary/Essay_fanaroff.html

HowItWorksDaily.com. “What is the difference between a quasar and a pulsar?” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://www.howitworksdaily.com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-quasar-and-a-pulsar/

NASA. “NASA test proves pulsars can function as a celestial GPS.” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-00478-8

National Radio Astronomy Observatory. “How Does a Radio Interferometer Work?” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://public.nrao.edu/ask/how-does-a-radio-interferometer-work/

RadarTutorial.eu. “Phased Array Antennas.” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://www.radartutorial.eu/06.antennas/Phased%20Array%20Antenna.en.html

RTL-SDR.com. “DETECTING PULSARS (ROTATING NEUTRON STARS) WITH AN RTL-SDR.” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://www.rtl-sdr.com/detecting-pulsars-rotating-neutron-stars-with-an-rtl-sdr/

Space.com “Quasars: Brightest Objects in the Universe.” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://www.space.com/17262-quasar-definition.html

Wikipedia. “Very-long-baseline interferometry.” Accessed 2020-12-02. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very-long-baseline_interferometry