Fragmented engineer with a cause.
Back in 2008 during the height of the financial crisis I was working on ways that I could try to save a few bucks on gas, which was becoming increasingly expensive. What I found online was a wealth of knowledge, though fragmented, so I began to compile it and review it with an engineers eye and found a good deal of it to be nonsense, junk, lies, and outright fraud.
As my list grew I thought other people could get some use, and hopefully enjoyment out of it. It began as something to point out what worked to save you money on gas but turned into a bit of economic theory on the pricing of gas, what does work and to what extent and my favorite chapter on what doesn’t work. It was really entertaining to see the junk science that some people tried to sell others with no regard for the science.
The key idea at the center of the book is to know how much gas you are using. If you become aware of your usage you will reduce it. A medical study was done on weight loss and proved that if you tracked your caloric intake you ate less food, so why couldn’t that hold true for fuel usage? I tested it myself and was quite stunned at how much gas I used, and I thought I was careful!
Later in the book I got into the alternative fuels and where they stand today along with potential fuels for the future. There is some really exciting technologies at work right now and it’s going to be interesting to see which technologies end up lasting and which go away.
Who’s your favourite author?
Matt Taibbi has been getting a lot of my reading time lately. He tells it like it us and isn’t afraid to pull any punches. For someone who covers Political stories he is refreshingly honest, not taking a side but pointing out stupidity, fraud, and lies. It’s nice to get someone to tell it to you straight these days.
Do you have tips for budding writers?
Write, read and know your subject. If you don’t write none of the other points matter. If you don’t read you won’t learn from others. There are tricks in prose and style that you become aware of once you start writing that you don’t notice as a reader. Knowing your subject guarantees you won’t sound like a fraud. Try to BS your way through a story and the reader will know.
Also know your style, if you sound too strange you become an oddity but if you sound like everyone else you become a commodity. Striking that balance is what makes for a fresh, unique story.
What are you working on now?
A collection of outdoor short stories based on fly fishing, kayaking and the outdoors. After technology my love is for the outdoors so I’ve decided to spend some time writing fiction in that genre. I also found that nonfiction doesn’t generate the buzz or readability that fiction does so I’m going to step out of my Engineer writing shoes and putting my fishing waders on for some inspiration.
Where can we find you online?
My primary haunt is at http://www.geektechnologist.com