UrbanSurvival ShopTalk Sunday is Moving!

“We’ve Moved”

Ultra-Make is where new “ShopTalk Sunday” articles will appear.

This is a lesson learned from writing on (and for) the web over a quarter century. Trying to be a “full person” on one website isn’t such a great idea, turns out.  It has created a problem.

Let’s walk through this from the ground up. Because I’m a synthesizer of information.  (Not like a Korg or Moog, tho.) I value variety plus depth in Life. In case you haven’t noticed, I also write like a sonofabitch.  15,000 words a week is a slow one.

Fundamentally: The web (and most people) loves depth [predictability] but has issues with variety.  We’re already seeing it in AI which we’ve been tinkering with for a while.

A.I. does a great job of finding the approximate “centers of knowledge” (based on content in singular vertical lines of inquiry if you can think of it that way). But once out of the interquartiles (e.g. out of the middle 50-percent) A.I. (and it’s cousin search engine robots) do a lousy job of exploring and summarizing the extra quartiles.

New ideas, particularly those that have not risen to some intermediate level of acceptance (indicated through popular repetition) will not appear in most A.I. outputs.  Or web searches, for that matter.

This is likely why human progress in history has been nso abysmally slow.  It just doesn’t seem possible to anyone “in charge” that some dumb shit on the working end of a broom, for example, might actually have a better grip on reality (and what’s going on around a business) than the monkey turds who sit in mahogany foxholes and write those toilet paper memos that scuttle success in many businesses.

The web, in general, mimics this all too sorry (albeit ego-protective, job insuring) behavior.  If it wants the Theory of Everything, it will look for it on “Theory of Everything” websites.  Even though abused women, oppressed minorities, the poor, politically disenfranchised, recovering drug addicts, and ultra-sharp first responders all have many clues as to what the real deal with extant reality is.

Wait. Did I just digress?  Where were we?

Web Search Algo Limits

The problem is excusable, sort of.  Because from the “see what’s out there” prime directive, robot site-reading software designer’s standpoint, there has to be a way to look for the sites that have the most credibility in a niche.

[Who’s going to believe a recovering drug addict anyway? Especially if the name is not Hunter Biden, right?]

To admit the worst, I didn’t get that.  At least to the point of inoculating my future planning against the type of thinking my consigliere reminds me is called “siloing.”

As a matter of convenience, though, I worked on sharing the really keen economic and lifestyle insights for just a few dollars a year.

Which drove me to differentiate Peoplenomics (long wave econ and practical life) from News and Popular Delusions which are ensconced on UrbanSurvival. Peoplenomics was a good deal in 2000 at $40 a year – and we’ve managed to ignore inflation for almost 25-years by holding subscription prices the same.

Truth is, though, Peoplenomics has become easier to write lately.  Because the world – and the rubber band stretched to the breaking point has become ever so much more clear to more people.  Who are in denial, apparently, because Peoplenomics subscribership is very low…shockingly low, in fact.

But guess what?  I have a lot more interests and there is virtually nothing more boring than going uselessly deep into a topic, like day trading for example, unless there’s a planned discovery anticipated that can be amplified into something useful for society to enjoy. Or overnight filthy riches, but when you’re on the walk to the grave yard in your mid 70s, it’s the having what passes for fun anymore that matters most.

Where were we?  Oh yeah…

Lots of sites a Big and Deep, but…there are other ways to cut the data.

Site names figure into search indexing, and hence information retrieval.  An example of a Big, Deep site with a singular focus might be Calculator.net: Free Online Calculators – Math, Fitness, Finance, Science.  Lots of calculators, easy for search engines to drop into the right headings. Name-Subject agreement is part of what works, then.

Over time, people got to making up names and making them subjects.  What was a Twitter and what the hell is an Etsy?

The other way (think of latitudinal arrangement of knowledge) is something like StudyFinds which takes a couple of qualifying words (study, finds) and goes super wide, but only as deep as the underlying linked to source papers. Or even summaries from Universities and corporations which pump out press releases into RSS feeds. Which can then be searched on keywords like “research” and “study” for content ideas.  That works, too.

This is all fine and how the world really works.  Except it results in a digital era Renaissance Man problem. There is no “GeorgeFinds” or “GeorgeDoes” because such efforts fall out way off the side of the Gaussian search distribution. (GeorgeTwit might work, but let’s not go there.)

Sadly, the Internet is not organized in a manner that “fits nicely” with wide interest people.  The American notion has been “specialization” even though, as was once put “Specialization is for Ants.” As a newsperson for more than half a century, I can assure you boring people can go deep, but meh.  So much of it is “Who cares?” it’d make your eyes roll.

Organizing my (not really) retirement has been a bitch and the digital ideaspora has been in plau.

I just have too many interests and they are all over the board.  However, for the past decade, UrbanSurvival.com and the financially oriented Peoplenomics.com have been useful containers. They cover less than half my interests, except on Monday’s when they might top 60 percent.

These sites aren’t going anywhere. Which is a strategic issue, as much as anything else.  For you see, both are highly George-centric.  Which is another problem in an odd way.

For example, I might be able to sell off UrbanSurvival, but without my writing, and (mis)adventures in Life, it would be just another doom porn website name. Inventing a whole web category (UrbanSurvival was logged in 1998 by me as a capstone school project.)   Peoplenomics also has enough appeal that ripper-offers are always lurking, but in non-economic areas, since we did trademark the word. HR and other org dev type areas.

So, after a good bit of thinking, I’ve decided to further fracture my already split personalities yet again!  As of January 1, I will be breaking my online writing efforts into four separate websites and I stumble down retirement road:

  • UrbanSurvival.com will be published Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. This is a free site, ad supported. As a long-time news reporter and major market news director, I’ve seen it all…or, at least thought I had, until recently.  Turns out, world’s getting nuttier which you may have noticed.
  • Peoplenomics.com will public Wednesday and Saturdays. No ads, this is still $40 a year.  Longwave economics and plenty of meta charts with our views on the economy.  Which seem to square with reality often enough in useful ways.
  • ShopTalk Sunday columns are (for now, the old ones) are archived on the UrbanSurvival site.  But with the New Year, they will appear, once per week (or as I get to it) on this-here Ultra-Make.com site. No particular date, but I will still aim for Sundays. But it may be written earlier in the week (Friday opens up with cutting a day of Urban’s writing) and that means more thinking and doing time for Sunday’s.
  • Ultra-Make.com is where I get my butt out of the computer chair and go do actual building and doing. All kinds of projects are on the list, including rustic (green) woodworking, CNC and metal work.  Which needs to have a real-life application, which gets us to:
  • Chillerponics.com (and Personal Arks) which is about local food self-sufficiency. This site is focused on the problems of hot-weather food production which we will get to in a sec.

Fancy Retirement Planning Graphic

Here’s how the next few years should roll:

This doesn’t mean I will be able to cut back on my website writing, which I’d like to be able to do.  BUT what it should do is allow the sites to become a little more appealing to existing Search algos, because they will be more “focused.”

I like to think an “AllGeorge.com” site would be fabulously popular. But people are living in a (video game driven) virtual world where they are seeking specific answers to very directed questions.  No one would find the wide range of AllGeorge (a kind of Mr. Know-It-All, Done-Most-Of-It site) would have to say about much of anything.

People want answer to questions that have occurred to them.  They don’t want anyone questioning of offering a wide pallet of alt solutions.

In the end, it’s this egoic rush to first answers (often the wrong ones as turns out) that will seal our fate on this rock.  But people don’t feel they have the time – faced with an urgent problem or project at work, to kick back and ask “What the fuck are we trying to do, here?”

Nope.  Grab the first reliable answer and don’t ask questions.

Got it.

But since we have made enough mistakes in Life to have some useful perspectives, the only way to get it all out there (and out of the Gaussian ditch of the extraquartiles) is to play along and plug our web musings into site buckets which a robot, spider, or wanderer, might consider useful.

Web Site Indexing Tells All

The problem with UrbanSurvival has become (literally) a huge amount of content, but because it’s all over the board, the world’s biggest search engine is only indexing a small number of UrbanSurvival pages.  Take a look:

So, I get out of bed every morning (7-days a week) and go write.  As you can see only 4.69 percent of my writing is even indexed by Google.  Now, in fact, there are a few more than 5,000 pages of Urban worth reading (at least when written).

To sharpen the point a bit, I can write the same amount of material, but if spread over four or five websites, I might get 20-30 percent more eyeballs if all the writing was perfectly indexed.

OK, search engines might haver social bias.  So?  Even more if I adopted more anti-Trump, pro-vax, pro-gender, pro-un checked migration views.

Wanna bet?

But there are also0 technical issues, too, no denying it. Which is why I worked not only on the where to write problem but also did a lot of website troubleshootizing this week.

Problem is? A lot of Urban content is highly perishable. If you haven’t read it within a day or two, what’s the point?  That’s an emphasis change I need to focus on.  Ultra-Making is durable, non-expiring, and whatcha call “evergreen content” and that’s where the resale value of information lays.

Or, at least used to lay until A.I. came along.

With web indexers, it’s their search engine, not mine.  They get to make the editorial calls and even though some pages may have a technical issue (264 pages contained redirects, for example) the bulk (more than 11,000) were showing:

Discovered – currently not indexed [Big name] systems  Passed: 11,981

With less than 5 percent of what I write being indexed (who knows, it may be a record of some kind) the robots could think all those pages must be spam, or something. Which they aren’t but who do you tell? And even then, who cares?

“OK, What’s Ultra-Makes Deal?”

The data makes an interesting case that a software engineer’s offspring bots may not see UrbanSurvival as an economics and business of life site. I therefore have to figure out how to “cure” this, by appearing more focused, so that Search Engines can understand what George does. (Which would be a cool trick, since even I don’t understand what I’m doing…nor does Elaine…)

It does explain why ShopTalk Sunday is exiting, stage right for the Ultra-Make site where everything will be about “making.” In some form, or other. And that ought to solve some of the indexing issues.  (Who would have read an Albert Einstein website on turning bowls on a wood lathe, for example? Yet that, smoking a pipe and going sailing might have provided insights into how to get nearer the space-time solutions…)

Ain’t no Einstein, but this should allow me some personal expansion space, a better focus for website advertisers too, as Ultra-Make.com will (over time) expand to cover my variety of interests.  These making topics include, but are not limited to:

  • 3D Design and Printing.
  • CNC design (including laser engraving).
  • Rustic woodwork and furniture.
  • Metalwork (and welding).
  • Homestead projects and improvements.
  • Ham radio:
    • Antennas
    • Tube-type gear restoration
    • Operating Morse code (SKCC and FISTS)
  • Music and video production and tinkering.
  • And Drones. God they’re fun, too and so is the video that comes down from ’em…

Notice that “Making” is a big field and indicative of a likely wide (longitudinal) site (like Study Finds, right?). That may garner more search interest than raw econ.  Plus, it’s more fun doing, particularly being a tool slut.

“What about Chillerponics, then?

Ah…last piece of my puzzle.

I have this growing interest in evolving locally sustainable food sources so the making it will be done on Ultra-Make while the concepts, design, and operations, will be channeled over (or failover) to the Chillerponics.com website.  Which is tied at the hip to the Peoplenomics series on building a Personal Ark. Which we will be working on this spring. Not going to make this too wide mistake again. No telling how much useful stuff was wasted.

Besides in the Personal Ark/Chillerponics area you have food production and Gieger counters, extreme heat and climate change.  I just hate it that people are NOT more proactive about climate because in my skeptical view, but still living just outside the gates of Hell in Texas in the summer, is a very worthwhile problem to be chewing on (so to speak). How to grow food in ultra-hot conditions.  (*I thought about Ultra-Hot as a website, too but sounded too much like a porn site.)

Chillerponics (since you’ve never heard of it before) is the solution set to the problems of hot weather hydroponics. Simple as that.  But if you know anything about bag hydroponics (it’s OK to admit no), that’s where food fits on the Chillerponics/Personal Arks site but the 3D design and printing of th4e bag wicks out of PLA of ABS fits on the Chillerponics site.

You may remember, I had some amazing success a few years back growing some of the largest rootball masses you have ever seen using RDWC (recirculating deep-water culture).  The problem was that the production was horrible!  Analysis revealed that while the water and nutrients, light, and trace elements were all spot-on, the issue was that the greenhouse was simply too hot to set (tomatoes) fruit.

This time, energy efficient green housing and low-profile forced-air swamp coolers are likely to be the answer, along with partially buried bag hydroponics.  But all that over time. For now it’s neat enough to have fresh tomatoes this time of year.

In the Lean-To Greenhouse on the side of my recording studio, we’ve been all over the temperature control issue this winter (2023-2024) and so far, we are still setting viable tomato flowers even when it’s cold enough outside that tomatoes would generally have died off by now.

This was all possible because of a battery backed-up Chinese diesel heater installation which was described in a ShopTalk Sunday article here titled Greenhouse Chinese Diesel Heater Install.

The maximum heat delta this system has been able to support has been 30-31 degrees, so far.  That’s not bad, because we did the whole project with scant attention to caulking and sealing.

And We’re Off!

Boy, can that be taken several ways, huh?

This being the New Year’s weekend, it seems like a good time to begin making the changes. I will be putting up reader prompts up as we go and new posts (formerly ShopTalk Sunday pieces) begin to appear on the Ultra-Make site.

The existing ShopTalk series will remain available over on Urban here.

Now, kick back and wait to read the post on 3D Printing Meets Hydroponics which will be along next week on the Ultra-Make website. When I get to it. That will focus on workflow – which is like the next leg of forward motion in the Computational Industrial Revolution.

Now, go bang on something… Happy New Year.


23 thoughts on “UrbanSurvival ShopTalk Sunday is Moving!”

  1. Wham! Bam!
    Ringing in the new year with a bang. Now the strongest solar event of the current solar cycle, a major X5.0 solar flare was observed around AR 3536 (ex 3514) at 21:55 UTC (Dec 31).

  2. Bang her Sunday? I’ll drink to that!

    On a more technical note, I’d add electronic troubleshooting(beyond radio). That would include test equipment or building specialized gear for surveillance and monitoring, along with perhaps a home automation and defense system with no external dependencies. Software too, since that matters. Schematics and code go a long way to getting er done!

    One other area is repairing tools, especially large tools like tractors, and smaller ones like hydraulic jacks, presses, machine tools and other equipment. I admit to being entry level with regard to complex hydraulic troubleshooting, especially regarding hydrostats, suction side leaks, spool valve resealing, and figuring out which of 12 hoses might be leaking when the machine needs to be closed to even start it, due to controls being disconnected when open. Today, even the fluids are too expensive to waste! Youtube is helpful, but limited.

    Happy NYE to all!

  3. “Besides in the Personal Ark/Chillerponics area you have food production and Gieger counters, extreme heat and climate change”

    I had dreamed about that.. After the mini me and I finish the elf cottage Wicktorian lamp we will make the Tilley heater. A simple Tilley is just a reflector radiant heater..but what if we modify that just a tich..like instead of one stainless bowl we use two..
    Take the one and mount the second one behind the first so that there’s a half inch gap.. Drill a three inch hole in the bottom of the second bowl and mount a heat activated fan to the bowl. Now on the heating unit mount a small second container to put water in it so that it will boil and the steam will propel the heated gases…. Wouldn’t you get the best of both worlds.. Tilley radiant heater and a fan blowing the heat around the room as a forced fan heating unit..

    • 0I hadn’t heard of this Tilley heater whizzy before. Only Tilley I remember was a hat – which was called a Tilley Hat and was a great sun blocker.
      Of course, there was Grandma Tilley over connect to the Philbin side of genealogy, but, uh….

  4. The Taro leaves growing in the mulch pile have achieved ‘huge’ size, so before they wither, it’s time for the ‘LauLau harvest’. Found pork shoulder/butt at Costco for $1.99/lb and spent yesterday cutting it up and making cubes (with fat) for the Lau Lau.
    Today will be spent harvesting monster leaves (“Luau Leaf”) from the Taro plants, as well as the big ‘Ti’ leaves for wrapping. And rolling/wrapping and tying with butcher string. Last time, months back, we made two dozen Lau Lau. Steamed to perfection for 4-1/2 hours in the big steamer pots and bagged and frozen for instant dinners later. All local and sustainable agriculture. That’s what I’m “Making” today.

  5. Prithee, a small and subtle point. (I hope I can express it.)

    Let’s start this possibly fruitless grope with an alegory;
    “TeeVee” has fragmented into 10,000 blogs or “pod-wells.”

    “TeeVee used to be through-the-air with antennas on chimneys, THEN, it became Kable TeeVee, with dozens of channels — many of which were (are) worthless Krappe. (“must carrys”)


    In the early days, TeeVee was done by broadcasters with centrally-located powerful transmitters , supported by ads, sending to people at home via antennas and “TeeVee Sets.” It was One Thing. (Important point)

    Then there was a bloody and confusing interim period while TeeVee submerged itself into Kable-assisted broadcasting. Over time, it became One Thing again — maintained by telephone-pole distribution via millions of splitters, one to a household. (Over time, people gave up outdoor chimney antennas in favor of more convenient, but much more monthly-costly, Kable.) “Free” TV became scarce and costly, AND Kable depended upon a recurrent-revenue based franchised technological supply company.

    This has now run its course, and because it became so expensive, scads of former reliable subscribers are ditching it in favor of an internet-based streaming delivery system. And, there are a bewildering number of “Streaming Via Internet” viddy-o suppliers. Probably at least twenty or thirty by now, ALL monthly-fee based, and ALL with a much smaller set of “channels.” (The wheel’s still in-spin, so this hasn’t nearly shaken out to a final form yet.)

    (Analog became digital during this same time span, but that makes little difference in crude reality.)

    What, since just after World Was 2, was One Thing. slowly morphing into another One Thing, has now become fifty-six (pick a number) SHATTERED SUB-SETS of what was One Thing — ALL of which demand subscribership OR a monthly fee.

    It’s chaos.

    To re-construct what recently WAS One Thing, now can easily cost more than Kable to arrive at the same available mass of drivel. This is NOT improvement! Its become more confused, exclusive, and costly.

    Over self-categorizing (chopping up into too many specializd fragments) CAN result in less servie for more expense.

    Humans love to categorize and divide, and put like things together. BUT a certain integrated whole-nees is often lost, and vigor from cross-polinization is reduced.

    By dividing your efforts into too many tightly focused websites, it MIGHT become less vigorous through loss of a vetically-integrated community of interested broad-spectrum individuals — ALL of whom have many interests.

    I like vegetble soup or stew — with many unrelated components.

    Focusing (“Organization”) is good; but one should avoid shattering into too many specialized sub-sets.

    Sorry for too many words….

    • Now worries dear friend, you make a dandy pt.

      There is a web domain (georgeure.com) that when clickt lands at UrbanSurvival.

      Would it make sense for ALL of my wild ideas to appear in said One Thing Place and auto post into the interest bins which…well, seemed to make sense. And then I ran out of vodka…

  6. Robert Heinlein –
    “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

  7. I’m going to pass on the $100 sale solar panels I posted, even though they looked really good. I would have to buy ten, and I really only need 6 x 400 watt panels for my current equipment. I’m not far enough along in my project to use them, and I don’t have space to store them. And I only needed three excuses to procrastinate this time. I could rent a van, or reconfigure my trailer to haul a half-dozen panels when I get serious about this.
    I have a 6 kwh lithium iron phosphate UPS already set up and operating for the freezer, and emergency comm and lighting needs. The MPPT controllers are built in, but are not being used.
    I am sending out feelers to see if anyone local can steer me to a source for helical piles I can use to support a rack off of. I have seen screw piles put in by hand, but not the helicals. The clay soil at my location is a helical pile candidate, not ground screws.
    I looked at a turnkey installation, and it is way out of my price range.
    I think the sequence I need to work tjis on is:
    1) Procure and install the rack
    2) Trench in conduit
    3) Procure panels, boxes, and other electrical stuff.
    4) Finish the install.
    This will be the year’s big project, if I get it off the ground.
    If I have to use concrete or hand dig holes, then it is a no-go. MRI’s aren’t budgeted.

  8. On a different note, medical facilities are being overwhelmed by respiratory ailments. So much so, facilities are asking folks to avoid emergency room visits if possible.

    This is local …


    In talking with medical folks across the country, this situation is wide spread.

    I hear viruses and the like are at high levels in waste water … and I think most folks know how that goes in a circle from the treatment plants.

    Got Berkey?
    Got Aloe Vera jell and alcohol hand sanitizer? We make our own.

    Stay safe and healthy out there … and Happy New Year to all !!

    • “Got Berkey?”

      Took advantage of the post black Friday sale to buy another set of backup filters.

      “Got Aloe Vera jell and alcohol hand sanitizer? We make our own.”

      Yessir. When COVID hit, alcohol was ~$7.50/gal (Sunnyside, 97% ethanol / 3% methanol). It’s now over $14.

      Don’t forget to make the final product 2-4% hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide is a strong fungicide – alcohol is a strong germicide but doesn’t do anything WRT fungi. You can get high-octane peroxide from Amazon. For further info, see sanitizer recipes at WHO, NIH, FEMA, etc…

  9. Leave a shortcut to the ultra-make site on the Urban Survival site. I hope you will continue to cover home projects other than 3d printing here on Sundays.

    • That’s the idea. 3d and CNC are just “other power tools” – and the means to an end. Not a be-all-end all
      And there is a link up on top at urban in the Projects menu8 – thanks!

    • links need to be more prominent when rolling out change George. Bots index and also measure eyeballs (traffic). If you triple indexing via site division while cutting eyeball visits proportionately the gainers are nebulous. Work around? Make sure those who went to BourbonSurvival also visit the sub-sites. Ergo, introduce fugly prominent links one to the others. At our site we are judicious with red but … data always confirmed it worked when used. Click-opens occurred at just short of 10x a blue or subtle link.

      Best of luck – keep over-achieving to fix the curve for us slackers, Egor

  10. Monkey turds in mahogany foxholes writing toilet paper memos. An epitome of working for the man. Damn well said.
    Happy New Year to you and Elaine. Drive on.
    Stay safe. 73

  11. Banger G,

    We needz a new djed power tower. You know the devices that kept the Ocean,waves, hostile annuna warriors (annunaki/el) & Seth at bay. They functioned similarly in the Mer)great pyramid, keeping the immediate vicinity climate controlled and safe from the annuna “ships”.
    Turns out Enki/Ea- Osiris gave us the a handheld djed power staff (staff of RA/Qi transciever) this bad boy gave the “practitioner” mastery over the forces of Nature…hence the “parting” of the waters of the red sea.

    Layers of Cyrstal and metal – topped with an ankh on a staff. Think mini Tesla coils and fabled deathray that is in operation today…yeah act surprised.

    Interfacing Human with Nature (Qi) – it is Our destiny.

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