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Journal Journal: Food Desert Solutions

The way the USDA has developed their food desert map leaves few options for solving this problem, at least it leaves few options for getting an area off of their food desert maps. For one thing, if you have an expensive subdivision within the city limits zoned residential, by definition a grocer cannot locate his storefront there and it becomes a food desert because the residents do not have "access" within 1 or even .5 mile of a grocery. If only 500 people within that census tract do not own their own vehicle, the whole tract counts as "limited vehicle access." Some food deserts use the .5 mile rule, so if a poor person is not within .5 miles of the store, it is a food desert. Now imagine how to eliminate this problem to the satisfaction of the USDA. You have to get all of the poor people within .5 miles of a grocery store, or give away a pile of vehicles. I'm not sure who is up for corralling poor people into grocery store parking lot dorms, nor am I sure who is for bulldozing homes every mile for a Kroger's. Don't even suggest bus service, because that has no effect on the map at all. More here.

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Journal Journal: Food Co-Op in middle of Food Desert

Knoxville, Tennessee's oldest food co-op, and the only community owned food co-op in the State is in the middle of a food desert. As it turns out, nearly the whole city of Knoxville, and not much of the surrounding county, is a USDA food desert of one level of another. The co-op responded: "Our co-op is considered a small grocery store (not a large grocery store or supermarket), so the USDA, Treasury and HHS do not view us as having an impact on this designation." Interestingly enough, Super Target, Trader Joe's, Super Walmarts, ethnic groceries, and Sam's Clubs are not enough to make an impact either, even in fairly wealthy areas.

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Journal Journal: Glenn Reynolds goes grocery shopping in a food desert

Via Instapundit - "I BOUGHT LAST NIGHTâ(TM)S DINNER AT THE FOOD-DESERT TRADER JOEâ(TM)S: Knoxvilleâ(TM)s Federally-Designated âoeFood Desertsâ Include Super Walmart, Samâ(TM)s Club, Kroger. Plus a couple of tasty oriental supermarkets. âoeIf the federal government wants to be taken seriously, they really need to try harder.â" That food desert also contains a Super Mercado and an Indian Market
Hidden in this story is a big lesson in data analysis. Looking at the USDA food desert atlas, the definitions of the desert do not appear to be followed very well by the cartographers. In the area central to the story (Downtown West/West Town Mall area of West Knoxville, TN) is almost completely commercial property and very few residences. The only residential area in the desert is quite well to do too. Right across the south boundary of the desert are square miles and miles of apartments and single family homes, but no grocery stores of any kind. Also, it appears that independent or small chain stores are ignored when one looks to the downtown area. The corner of Baxter Ave. and N. Central has a discount supermarket, and it sits in the middle of another food desert. I did find one food desert without a grocery store contained within: my own subdivision and immediate area. It is not low income at all and is pretty darn close to Kroger's, Food City, and many other food stores that can be visited easily by private and public transportation.
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Journal Journal: The Food Deserts of West Knoxville, TN 1

I just heard about the Department of Agriculture's "food desert" map, so I decided to take a peek at the most prosperous part of Knox County, TN. The first two "deserts" I noticed were the homes of large grocery stores, or right next to large grocery stores. By "right next to" I mean literally across the street. One of the "deserts" has both a Super Walmart and a Sams Club anchoring its corner, INSIDE the "desert." The second of the "deserts" is the home to West Town Mall, established in the 1970s, with a large food court and several stores that sell "artisan" food, and it is directly across the street from a large grocery store. When I looked deeper into the city, I found my own subdivision in a large "desert" and homes here ain't cheap. Even deeper into the city, I found food deserts with discount grocery smack in the middle. Now I wonder just what the heck they mean by a "food desert" since a lack of produce, raw or prepared, does not seem to matter. Places that are not considered "deserts"? The more expensive subdivisions with no grocery stores or eateries of any kind at all.

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Journal Journal: Was Slashdot down yesterday? 3

A bit of a strange day yesterday. I could not get any slashdot or sourceforge pages to load on my machine for most of the day. Everything seems fine now. Scrolled through the stories from yesterday and did not see any note of an outage and when I tweeted about it, one other person retweeted it. Did not have any trouble with any other sites at all. Strange.

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Journal Journal: Dang Wind

Was going to do a video walk around of the '72 Charger project car today, but the wind is a bit much, even though I am laying on the narration track later. I did find a bunch of soaked paper and cardboard in the trunk, probably due to leaf debris in the gutter around the trunk opening. Side marker in the quarter panel there is open too, so that might be part of it. Found a phosphoric acid based product for rust removal too, next video will be on how to select and use that stuff, along with what not to use.

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Journal Journal: Another Week, Another Blog

Decided to break out the details on my engine rebuild into its own blog: 318 Six-Pack. Yes, part of the project is building up a small block Dodge engine the way it should have come from the factory. The other part is the whole "sleeper" tradition :) Instead of an innocent gas-sipping 318 2 barrel under the hood, there will be a killer bunny rabbit. Original 318 block with the original markings stamped and cast for anybody to peek at, all in Chrysler Blue, but the parts that make it go will be all different. Only outward visible differences will be the big orange breather, six pack stuff, and ceramic coated headers. Even there, she will look like a 318 that gets to eat and breathe a little better due to a better carb setup, but the changes only start there.

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Journal Journal: 100 MPG Carburetor 2

Any of you fellow oldsters out there remember the story about the 100 MPG carburetor that The Man would not let us use because it would reduce petroleum consumption too much? I seem to remember hearing that over 30 years ago, and the story was that Big Oil bought the patent and kept it secret. That patent should be expired by now, and in the US patents are not renewable, so where the heck is the old patent? I'm restoring a classic car and having one of these would fit right in with the period. In sticking with the spirit of the old story, I suppose installing one upside down would bring 100 HP, but will installing them upside down in series have a multiplier effect?

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Journal Journal: Kicking around ideas for first video

More details about making the first video for this car project over here. The basics are going over the car I am restoring and details about that make/model/package. One decision I made since that post was putting mistakes I made in the first restoration phase into a different video. Otherwise, I just have some ideas floating around and no script, no outline.

Part of what attracts me to the idea of making it a series, perhaps with crowd funding, is that I am coming at this project from the consumer side of the equation. Nobody is sponsoring me, everybody I've spoken to is purely in the vendor category and I might become their customer as I save money to spend on this project.

Another aspect that draws me to making this a public project is the technology end of things. Carburetion, for example, I went from being all on board for Multi-Port Fuel Injection a few years ago to now being firmly in the traditional carburetor corner. This change did not come at a whim, it came from research and looking at my project as a consumer. One is trying to get an optimal fuel/air mixture into a cylinder and make it ready to explode at just the right time. Consumer Steve really could spend the extra $1,000 difference between carbs and fuel injection on a different part of the project, or send clothes to hurricane victims.

The downside of crowd funding is drawing the crowd. I am not Jay Leno, Adam Carolla, or even Henry Cho. I don't have a crowd yet, I don't think I am funny or all that entertaining on my own, and how people grow crowds seems like a mystery to me. Splitting the project, and funding attempts, into sections seems logical. Like "Bucking The Man by recycling an engine and transmission," for the drive train portion of the project. My car has the original factory installed drive train which needs some dear attention, especially in the leak department. Small manufacturers across America have parts to fix everything that needs to be fixed and I plan on using them. Even Big Detroit made better parts later that are sitting in wrecked cars all over the place just waiting to be picked. Something I leaned right away, big companies do not have the advantage in this area and MOPAR Performance proved that to everybody, without any help. Their modern parts could have been on the shelf at parts stores right between Edelbrock and Pro-Comp. The ONLY reason they are not is because they set the parts seller/distributor margins too low.

Another show could be all about protecting and restoring metal. In my car, there might be a good 2,000 lbs. of metal in the body and it is a shame to watch that rust away. Replacement body panels, even certified replacements, leave much to be desired. Preserving the originals is the preferred way, but what if you are not a good welder? I plan on using a product featured on Jay Leno's Garage and introduced by the Skinned Knuckles magazine publisher Neil Maken for filling metal with more metal without welding and showing people where to use it, and more importantly, where NOT to use it. Another product I saw on Capone Auto's YouTube page is great for reducing rust and keeping rust away for a few days as you get that section protected. That one is going to come in handy for one of my BIG mess-ups on the roof. I used a great product in the wrong place about six years ago, now I need to fix it.

So that is the idea. Now to get down to work.

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My idea of roughing it is when room service is late.