In the Dec 08 issue of Car & Driver, Franz Kafka attempts to answer a question about HHO with the help of an associate engineering prof.  The two end up completely off point and so butcher the response that a corrective response was required.  Both are below:

What would happen if you inject HHO (oxyhydrogen) into a gasoline-combustible engine? Oxyhydrogen is a mixture of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (02) gases, typically in a 2:1 molar ratio, the same proportion as water. This gaseous mixture is used for torches for the processing of refractory materials. I have found numerous claims on the Internet (i.e., www.water4gas. com, www.watertogas.com, etc.) that allege mpg savings by installing an HHO injection kit on a common gasoline engine. Thank you for your help, and please consider us working-class schmucks who might buy into this stuff with gas at nearly $5 a gallon!
Brian Gong
Arroyo Grande, California

Sorry, Brian, those claims are bogus, and you need to stop cribbing from Wikipedia. Lest any reader doubt the indomitable authority of Car and Driver, Kafka asked Claus Borgnakke, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan. For starters, you won’t gain any energy by converting water to hydrogen and oxygen in the car–you’ll end up with less useful energy than you put in because both the disassociation of water into hydrogen and oxygen and the burning of hydrogen are less than 100 percent efficient in real-world conditions. Even if you did have a perfectly efficient process, there would be no energy left over to power the car. Starting with an oxyhydrogen mix in the car is a bad idea, too. According to Borgnakke, “Never try to store hydrogen and oxygen gas together. Hydrogen is much more dangerous than other fuels in that it burns at nearly all ratios with oxygen and has a very low threshold for ignition.” You could use an energy source such as solar power to make hydrogen from water, but that’s not cost effective, and you’re still left with the problem of storage. Kafka will leave the last word to our expert, who says, “Hydrogen is still too costly to store and transport compared with gasoline or diesel fuel.”

-Franz Kafka’s Garage

My response:


Your HHO response in Dec 08 is so busy feigning intelligence that you miss the fact that the specific laws of physics you snobbishly explain – don’t apply to the question at hand: HHO does not claim to create energy out of thin air.  It simply allows more efficient use of the available energy contained in the gasoline.

1) Gas engines divert a constant amount of energy to the alternator that is converted to electrical energy (yes at less than 100% efficiency).  That energy if unused is soon wasted attempting to overcharge the battery.  HHO draws from this waste power to separate the water into its component gases not to “create energy”,  but as a safe, cost effective way to store the dangerous hydrogen.  Only small amounts of the gas ever exist out of the water state as they are fed into the car as created.

2) The Hydrogen gas adds a nominal amount of energy to the fuel air mixture.  Again, energy is not being created here by violating physics any more than pouring an octane booster into your gas tank.  Water, however, does tend to be cheaper than those fancy additives.  However, much like those additives, the energy boost is small as it would take a tremendous amount of hydrogen gas alone to power a car.

3) The real trick behind HHO is the added oxygen in the fuel air mixture.  It is well understood that more oxygen in the engine means more power potential.  Many after market parts exist to pump cooler air or shove more air into your engine for the express purpose of increasing the oxygen amount in the combustion chamber. Where, oh Kafka, are your snide remarks at those products?

The added oxygen increases the percentage of gas burning inside your engine instead of exiting your tail pipe. Again, energy is not being created, rather less fuel (energy) is being wasted.  This increased efficiency translates into more power at the same gas input or better fuel economy at the same power output.  Herein lies the second caveat to HHO: modern oxygen sensors.  While older cars can bolt on HHO and forever enjoy increased efficiency, newer cars will only see improved MPG for a short period until the oxygen sensors compensate with increasingly rich fuel mixtures until the gains are offset.  So if one wants to run HHO in a current vehicle they must also be prepared to alter their O2 sensors with one of the variety of after market methods available.

Perhaps a senior professor could check this one for you.

New Macs: Apple Tells Customers What They Want

mbp.jpgSo the latest and greatest Macs are fresh out of the oven, and I am impressed AND amused.  The new laptops added the “Centrino 2” processors that have been gracing Win/Linux lappies for the past several months, but that’s not the real story.

The Good:

  • A new process allows Apple to create cases out of solid blocks of aluminum.  This means a light weight and very sturdy design.  MacBooks lost a half pound!  (tho Pros are actually heavier somehow)
  • A glass track pad – no buttons (well physical buttons at least) and multi-gesture support (think iPhone).
  • Real graphics power.  MacBooks get nvidia 9400M a huge leap from crappy “integrated” graphics. Pros get a switchable 9400M / 9600M.  (Having the 9600M in my notebook I can tell you it will play any game at full settings and it can almost play Crysis at Medium)
  • The Air got a processor and storage boost making it slightly easier to justify it’s price

The Bad:

  • Steve Jobs called blu-ray a “bag of pain” (in his ass apparently) and therefore no one really needs to watch HD DVDs on their hip new rig since they can buy HD content off of itunes.  (yeah they went there)
  • Apple also said “HDMI is limited in resolution… for typical computer use, display port is the connector of the future.”  Too bad we all live in the present where everything has an HDMI connector. (nevermind only apple product use Display port)  But don’t worry you can still use DVI with an adapter… (what happened to the Apple minimalism in design here?)
  • Apple wants to you save electricity but computing in the dark… Apple is now only offering glossy screens (they claim there a matted glossy) and not matte.  Glossy screens give better colors for all your Photoshopin’ time, but also give a lot of glare in anything but ideal conditions.  Aside: Yes my lappie has a gloss screen and yes I’m sitting in the dark right now and yes i will only buy matte from here on out.

All in all it seems like the real winner is the MacBook.  It got lighter and better at the same price.  Now the main thing you add with the Pros is size and weight.  I mean sure 9400M graphics is more limited gaming wise than the 9600M but – lets be honest – it can still play any game currently available on the Mac.  And by the time today’s PC games are ported over to the Mac, it will be time for a new laptop anyway.

Guide to .htacess Redirect Same File Type To Same Domain

I’m adding this guide to my site since it apparently doesn’t exist on the web yet (odd as that seems).  .htaccess files are great and handy but the online info about them is sketchy at best.  Everyone seems to have the same 5 examples on their page, copied verbatim from someone else’s site without any extra explanation.

So here was my quandry…

It’s well known how to redirect single pages (note the first option is the page being moved and is a relative location from the main domain directory while the second option is the absolute location to the new file – even if it is the same domain):

Redirect 301 /oldpage.html http://www.domain.com/newpage.html
Redirect 301 /oldpage2.html http://www.domain.com/newpage2.html
Redirect 301 /oldpage3.html http://www.domain.com/dir/
Redirect 301 /oldpage4.html http://www.domain.com/dir/newpage4.html

Or whole sites:

 Redirect 301 / http://www.newdomain.com/

But if you want to do a certain type of files (like all .html files but not every file on the domain) it gets trickier.  Your fine if you want to change servers:

RedirectMatch (.*)\.gif$ http://www.newdomain.com$1.gif

Or change file types:

RedirectMatch 301 /(.*)\.htm$ http://www.domain.com/oldsite/$1.html

But if you want to simply redirect old site links to a folder/directory on the same site you quickly will discover a problem with endless loops as the somefile.html redirect to /dir/somefile.html will keep getting redirected resulting in a url with /dir/dir/dir/dir/dir/dir/dir/….

[ This will result in a endless loop ]

RedirectMatch 301 /(.*)\.html$ http://www.domain.com/oldsite/$1.html

Since most people online are passing on magic code they really don’t understand, the syntax can take a while to understand. So here is the code you need to make it work:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/dir(.*)
RewriteRule ^(.*)\.html$ http://domain.com/dir/$1.html [R=301,NC,L]

The <if> isn’t necessary but good programming. This doesn’t redirect if the directory name is in the url already.  The R=301 is the redirect code. The NC makes capitialization not matter.  And the L makes it quit at that point (if you have other rewrite options). Enjoy and thank the apache gods it didn’t take 3 hours of useless googling to figure this out.