Maker Faire KC 2014

Since Fin was out of town, I took the opportunity to Geek-it-up at the Maker Faire Kansas City, and grabbed Blazed to explore.

The Make people threw a fairly decent party, both inside and outside Union Station. A solid mix of people were present. I spotted everyone there from dirty hippies to Glassholes.

We caught the “Coke and Mentos” guys doing a demo.

(Video is recording from another fair / year / someone else, but the presentation was similar).

We saw people building boats from trash.

There were people showing off plants:



And electric cars:


And Tesla Coils playing music:



Inside, there were people trying to sell stuff. Some really cool local businesses, some big businesses, and a lot of kick starter and artish projects. Microsoft gave a moderately creepy demo of the X-Box One and the capabilities of the new Kinect.

I’d recommend a visit for all the nerds and non-nerds out there next year.

Fate's Interesting News Bits V.4

Nest Spy – Nest is adding new features to share the data they collect with Google. Now, Google can watch your home habits as well….

Drone Memo – White House has released their “justification” for killing an American citizen via  a drone strike.

Swat Teams Immune – Police organizations are claiming that swat teams are private corporations, and therefore immune to information requests.

Supreme Court has been Busy:

NYC can’t ban sugary drinks – Some sanity? Courts say people have a right to buy 24oz sodas.

Hospitals Data Mining – Use a charge card to buy donuts? Might get a call from your Doctor.

WWIII Starts in Ukraine? – Slowly developing into the Cuban Missile Crisis of my generation, Russia, the UN, and EU continue their little spat.




Fate's Interesting News Bits V.3

Justina Pelletier Goes Home – Hopefully there’s some justice here…. Not sure what justice here would be, but I don’t think the medical community was cool in how they handled the case.

Bionic Pancreas  – Parents do cool things for their kids. An electronic pancreas? This will really help people.

GM Banana – Our obsession with creating Soylent Green continues. Maybe we should cut to the chase and introduce people grinders?

Gas Tax Hike – Two senators are looking to jack up the price of gas.

IRS Recycles Hard Drives – The IRS apparently destroyed the “crashed” hard drive that held all the pertinent E-Mails the GOP wants to read. You’d expect that the people requiring us to keep records would be better at… keeping records. $10 million to recover a bunch of E-Mails, and an “underfunded” IT budget. Maybe I should jump into document recovery…

Amazon Fire non-Smart Smartphone – Want nice hardware but a neutered experience? Consensus is growing that there are better walled garden solutions. I’ll stick to my standardish Android experience thank you very much.

NSA Funding Cut By House Vote – I give no chance of this living, but some of our representatives think it’s a bad idea to watch our emails and phone calls… A third of them don’t.

Poachers Suck – Sato the elephant was killed by poachers. Sad. May they rot in hell with the ivory the collected shoved someplace very uncomfortable.

Nixon Energy Plan – The Governor signed an executive order to investigate alternative energy solutions for our state.




These are the biggest turnips I’ve ever grown! Sharpie for size reference. 

Lazy Sunday Listening

I’d rank Scriabin as one of the most under-appreciated composers of the modern era. This particular Sonata, according to Scriabin, should build a picture of a southern night followed by an agitated sea and vast expanse of ocean.

— Fate

Fates Interesting News Bits V.2

Nonprofit food sharing lives another day – The Kansas City city council couldn’t agree on an ordinance to force non-profits to follow the same food safety rules  / certification / training requirements of commercial kitchens.

Uber Cab Protests – Cab drivers protested en masse over Uber  and similar services moving in on their turf. Right or wrong, Uber drivers are currently ignoring or skirting the law in a lot of areas. Perhaps laws requiring $200,000 permits to operate a cab don’t deserve observing?

Republican Majority Leader Cantor Looses Primary – While the media are portraying this election as a Tea Party win, I take it as a sign that Americans are growing tired of our worthless representatives. Hopefully the Democrats/Occupy crowd can score some similar wins.

One in Three Americans Are At Risk or Have Diabetes – Our nation’s obsession with Junk Food is beginning to make our previous smoking habit look good. 29 million diabetics in the US, with another 86 million at high risk.

NetFlix Drama – The rumbles of NetFlix vs. Verizon have the FCC looking into things. Meanwhile, technology workers see immediate impacts and issues caused by the current peering drama. While you can’t stop the signal, it’s not looking strong right now.

FBI Hiring Potheads –  If you’re a security researcher, the FBI may turn a blind eye to a certain habit… At least for now.

ComCast owns your modem – ComCast silently turned on Wifi sharing across many subscribers. Funny… my internet terms of service wouldn’t let ME do this, but it’s ok for them.

Grumpy Cat Movie – Lifetime is creating a live Christmas special for Grumpy cat, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever”. You know you’re going to watch it… At least for 5 minutes.

Rain, rain, and more rain


Over 4.5inches of rain.  

In less then a week. 

They are calling for more thunderstorms today.

No wonder we are under so many flood warnings right now!


Cornish cross v2.0 and Chicken plucker v3.0

We raised up some cornsh cross chickens this spring.  The last time we raised cornish cross was almos the last time ever for raising them, for me anyway.  They were disgusting.  Absolutely disgusting.  We raised them up in a chicken tractor, ala Joel Salatin, but on a smaller scale.  I’m not sure if the tractor was too small, moved too little, or who knows what but they spent all their time laying around eating and pooping.  They were covered in their own shit when we went to butcher them  The smell was just down right nasty enough to make you gag when they hit the scalding water.  I refused to do them again like that, in fact, I couldn’t even eat the meat and ended up giving it away.

Enter learning about fodder, fermented feed, and paddock shift.

After the dog attack and slaughter of most of my flock of laying hens I ordered some more this spring, buckeyes of course.  I love my Buckeyes.  I’m impatient, so wanted to get them ASAP in the spring, however the only way that was going to happen was if I ordered minimum of 15.  I definitely did not have room for 15 laying hens so I decided to order 5 sexed pullets and 10 meat birds to try out things I had learned about raising meat birds.  I lost 2 of the meat birds in the first couple days after they came in the mail (they sent 11 meat birds) but raised up 9 happy, healthy, non-smelly , running around, sumo wrestler meat birds.

How did I do It? In my suburban >. 3 acre back yard,  no less?

Half their daily ration was fodder, the other half was fermented chicken feed from my local(ish) feed mill, soy free and organic of course.  They went outside during the day starting at 2 weeks old, and at 3 weeks they were outside full time.  They were shifted around my yard every couple of days until they were 4 weeks old and then they were put in the rabbit barn (at night) where they roosted(!) on the hay bales in there.  I had no idea meat birds wanted to roost!  Every week a new part of the intensively planted “pasture area” was opened up to them for scratching, pecking, and running around.  Yes, I said running.  Did you know Cornish cross could run?  They are fast little boogers too!  They look like little sumo wrestlers running around the yard.  I should have taken some video, it was super cute to watch.  They had solid, normal looking chicken poops, no diarrhea at all.  No poopy feathers, no smell to their bedding, no smell at all, not in the brooder, not in their coop, just none.  These were real chickens. They acted like real chickens.  I really enjoyed having them around.

We butchered them just before 10 weeks old, however we could have done it at 8 weeks and ended up with the same weights,  they didn’t grow at all between 8 weeks old and 10 weeks old ( i weighed them live the same way I weigh my rabbits: a cloth bag and a fish/luggage hanging scale.)  Carcass weights were 4.5 lbs on average.  Very nice beast size and huge thighs.  The meat was tender, juicy, and so flavorful.  Completely amazing.   I used 2 bags of chick starter (100lbs) and around 50lbs (maybe, it’s hard to tell, I grow so much fodder for all the animlas) of mixed wheat and barley for fodder, however this was split between the 9 meat birds and the 5 replacement layers so it wasn’t just the meat birds that this amount fed.  Man, they loved their fodder.  I fed them enough chick starter in the morning around 9-10am that by late afternoon they had some, but not a lot, left, and by evening they were empty.  In the evening they got their fodder.  They spent 90% of their day pecking and scratching and dust bathing, basically just being chickens.

I am extremely happy with my results of raising these Cornish cross birds and will be doing it again in the future.  I really, really enjoyed having them around,  and in fact,  kinda miss the funny little clowns.   I’m curious to be a bit more scientific on charting how much I feed them since the 5 replacement layers were added in on the feed cost.  It was crazy to me how much bigger the Cornish cross were then the buckeyes at every stage of growth.  Heck at 10 weeks one of the roosters from the Cornish cross started crowing!  I must have stood there with  my mouth hanging open for 5 minutes the first time I heard it.  I think it was the same rooster that was starting to get mean.  Next time I will butcher at least a week earlier, probably two, if the grow out rate is the same.

We used the drill chicken plucker , modified to not fly off the table like before, to pluck the birds:

All of the information about the modifications are in the video.  It worked great!