Armed with a laptop and broadband I am almost unstoppable, until I recently realized that few of the organizations around here have web sites describing their pine needle briquetting machines for clean burning or whatever else I am looking for. My new task is that of networking, both in setting up these computers here into some kind of system that will share internet (currently using the one-computer-at-a-time method of updating virus software) and compiling a list of other organizations in this area doing similar work. I managed to talk to the director of NARI, a group south of Bombay doing really cool work, who I found through the free online lecture notes for D-Labs, a course for designing appropriate technology for developing countries at MIT (see OpenCourseWare) and his advice was to devote all my time here to learning the gasifier machine and maybe getting it a bit more efficient. I hope to put a lot of time into understanding it, but I think I could contribute more if I focused on a few less demanding projects (ie portable heaters for the winter).
Another turn of events is that the dsl connection we have (government provided) limits us to 4 gb per month, meaning that my 500 mb first day download of a few new albums (Beck, the Verve, Kings of Leon, and TV on the Radio), a program (Wenlin to review Chinese), and a comic book (Kabuki), I have way overdone my contribution to bandwidth usage. Ooops.
I took my mountain bike out for a spin two Chaukori few back, now running without my lowest gear - need to replace cables - and climbed a few hills to get to the closest touristy village around - 12 km. I drank tea and talked to the women at the restaurant, complimented her English, and then discovered that she was an English teacher from Dubai, recently relocated there to run a hotel with her husband who could cook pasta and pizza - I may have to go back. She showed me the orchid that some 'scientists' had brought her from the surrounding forests and told me that Chaukori is called the second Switzerland. She later called Nainital, her previous home, the 2nd Switzerland as well. I told her she had been to Switzerland a lot and she said, "Yes, my brother was even married there." When I asked where, her response was "Australia."
In preparation for winter, I'm off to cram info down about "Cooking Energy in India" and "Biomass: Thermo-Chemical Characterisation" - two books I found on a shelf here. I would appreciate a good recent youtube video recommendation so I can get a little pop culture running in my veins. I tried to watch a Bollywood film, "Singh is Kinng," yesterday and realized that I'm out of touch with both US and Indian culture.