Weekly Rochester Events #593 Starting Thursday, May 20, 2010

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Dropping Plans for the "Mileage Maximizer"
by Jason Olshefsky at 8:57 am (1 comment)

I think I started thinking of a way to improve gas mileage about 5 years ago.  I have been tinkering with it on-and-off since then. One of the features of the Buick RoadMaster that Ali and I bought was the throttle-body fuel injection because I thought it would be easier to modify than the direct injection of newer engines. Despite learning lots about how I would tackle the problem, I don't think I'm going to worry about ever actually implementing it; instead, I'll focus more of my energy on human-powered vehicles like custom bicycles and such.

I read an article that included a graph of engine efficiency for a Volkswagen (I think) that plotted efficiency (horsepower per gallon of fuel) as a color against throttle position and engine RPM. In this particular engine, efficiency varied between about 5% and about 30%. One way to think of it is that for any given engine speed (i.e. 2500 RPM), the efficiency the engine converts fuel to mechanical power varies with throttle position. A rudimentary observation is that the engine is more efficient at 50% throttle than at either 5% or 95%. Also, there is a "sweet spot" — a throttle position that is the most efficient (or a range that's pretty close) — for any given engine speed.

Automotive designers have not done much with this information as far as I can tell. They try to make the "sweet spot" bigger for efficient cars, they try to set the top gear in the transmission so average highway speeds are in the sweet spot, and in a few cars, they switch off half the cylinders sometimes to try and change the sweet spot.

My idea is to change the fuel system more radically. First, switch to "throttle by wire" — make the accelerator pedal more akin to a "torque selector" than a "gas pedal". The actual engine throttle would be computer-controlled to try and maintain the most efficient engine output for its current output RPM. To control the amount of power the engine actually produces, the computer would disable fuel to suppress firing of certain cylinders at a ratio that approximates the desired power output requested at the accelerator pedal.

For example, if you're driving up a grade on the highway and need the engine to deliver 40 horsepower, the car might be running at 1800 RPM and you'd have the throttle at 40%. Let's say this gets you an engine efficiency of 12%, but at 1800 RPM, the "sweet spot" 60% throttle you can get 20% efficiency. At 60% throttle, though, the engine delivers 80 horsepower and you'd be accelerating. So the computer would turn off the cylinders half the time so the effective engine output would be 40 horsepower, but the engine efficiency would nearly double — and so would your gas mileage.

The trouble is, it's quite a time-consuming, complicated project. The first step is to measure the engine data — and that starts with building sensors and recording equipment to get a good set of efficiency and power output data for a spectrum of both throttle positions and RPM. Then it's a matter of analyzing that data to get the target throttle positions and ratio calculations to match the existing performance of the accelerator pedal. But then it gets complicated: you need a throttle actuator, an electronic accelerator pedal, and a way to send the engine computer corrected data from the exhaust oxygen sensor (i.e. turning off half the cylinders increases exhaust oxygen a lot) — probably more sensors too, and a computer to process all that information real-time. Of course you need to make it safe, and be able to record data so you can present it truthfully.

And if everything goes perfectly, it's a gamble as to how much improvement you'd actually get. The thing that kept me interested in the project was the prospect of doubling the mileage — going from 20 MPG to 40MPG. I think it's more realistic to consider a 10%-20% improvement. But without the big step of collecting data, I don't even know at all.

I promised myself this year that I'd put forth extra effort and really try to make it work. I made this promise for 3 years now, and I still have no system. So I'm relieving myself of pretending to get it done. At the end of March, I was supposed to have a working Controller Area Network (CAN) to reliably communicate data between the various microcontrollers in my system. It's now the middle of May and I have no such system. So it's time to zip up the body bag and pack this one away. I learned a lot in doing research, and I'm glad I did, but I just don't think I'm going to bother finishing it.

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Too Many Police in Rochester
by Jason Olshefsky at 7:00 pm (1 comment)

This evening I was biking on my "tall bike" through The Lilac Festival today when I came to the South/Highland intersection. Police had stopped traffic to permit the pedestrians to cross. Once the people had completely cleared the intersection, I slowly rolled through next to the barrier blocking Highland before the cops released vehicular traffic. One of the cops said, "do you know I can give you a ticket for that?" I just smiled and he repeated his question so I just said, "yeah" and rode away.  [Admittedly, I made a terrible mistake: I should have stopped and answered him with, "am I being charged with a crime or am I free to go?"]

What the hell was that all about? He said nothing to the pedestrians who cut through the road, jaywalking outside the crosswalk. But once again I get to have a negative experience with the police. By riding a bike, I not only have to be responsible for a motorist hitting me [let's be real here: if I were killed by a car, you'd hear a lot of, "well, he was taking chances riding that tall bike"] I also have to deal with being hassled by the cops (just like last time).

If Officer Killjoy wasn't just a power-hungry egomaniac awarded a badge by Mayor "More Cops For More Problems", he would have actually stopped me and given me a ticket — after all, that's his job. Along with all the jaywalkers. But he was out to ensure I "knew my place" — that he was the Authority Figure. I tell you what, pig: how about you ticket the myriad of SUV's that get a tax discount for being a commercial vehicle, but that exceed the 3-ton gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) on most residential streets, and I'll start caring that you have anything to do with enforcing the law.

Why not? Here's a thought: BP Oil.

Someone riding a bike says, "we don't need oil." It's a statement that although the oil companies could go bankrupt and the economy could go to hell, people will be okay. Illegally using a commercial SUV as a commuter car is a statement of faith in infinite oil and in a vibrant and ever-growing economy. Guess which activity attracts more police attention? See, it's only through ensuring people are terrified of something (in this case, gas shortages) that they stay in line and obey cops. After all, it depends on what you think is important: a viable future for America, or an easily controlled populace.

1,282 total views, 1 views today

  • T
    Today at 5 p.m. at The Highland Park Conservancy and Lamberton Conservatory (180 Reservoir Ave.) is a Gala in the Park to benefit Foodlink (936 Exchange St.) [source: RocWiki calendar]

    Rochester A-List will be taking over the back yard at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. so I guess that means it'll cost you to get in ... maybe even to the bar. Then it's Ron Stackman starting the Reggae Dance Party at 9 p.m. [source: Abilene website]

    Today at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) at 6 p.m., John Isaac will discuss his work as part of the Wish You Were Here Travel Lecture Series. [Note that I needed to go to City Newspaper to get this information: Eastman House's online calendar has been broken, but to contact them, you need to go through a convoluted process rather than just e-mailing them. I guess it'll be broken for a while.] [source: City Newspaper] [all ages]

    Tonight at The Asbury First United Methodist Church (1050 East Ave.) is a the Business Meeting of The Rochester Genealogical Society starting at 7 p.m. and including a Stump the Experts panel discussion. [source: Rochester Genealogical Society website] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Cynthia Howk will present a tour titled Discover the South Wedge: Two Centuries of Historic Architecture starting at The Ellwanger Estate (625 Mount Hope Ave.) starting at 7 p.m. [source: Landmark Society calendar]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Rollerball starting at 8 p.m. In the 1975-future year of 2018, corporations run everything and have replaced crime and violence with the sport of rollerball. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is The Music Box, Sam Coffey and the Iron LungsMySpace link, and AudibelMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    The DemosMySpace link, Something ElseMySpace link, and Jack SwiftMySpace link will be at The Lovin' CupMySpace link (Jefferson Rd. and John St. at 300 Park Point Dr., Suite 110) starting around 9 p.m. [source: Lovin' Cup calendar]

    JayceLand Pick Today is the start of Rochester Bike Week sponsored by The Rochester Cycling Alliance kicking off at 7 a.m. with a Commuter Race: Bike vs. Car vs. Bus from Starbucks (1916 Monroe Ave.) to Manhattan Square Park (130 Chestnut St.). Then, at night at 9 p.m. is the Light Up the River Ride that invites you to bring your well-lit bike to Corn Hill Landing (290 Exchange Blvd.). [source: Rochester Cycling Alliance blog]

    JayceLand Pick Today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is The Harvey Milk Day of Action at City Hall (30 Church St.) [source: Gay Alliance website] [all ages]

    From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is the Jazz Happy Hour featuring The Jazz Contingent Quartet follwed at 9:30 p.m. by The RevelersMySpace link. [source: Abilene website]

    Donna the BuffaloMySpace link will be at The Lilac Festival starting around 7 p.m. [source: MEETinROCHESTER calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Eraserhead starting at 8 p.m. The answer to the big question is what it's about, and I think the Eastman House calendar gets it right saying it's "a surreal nightmare examining male paranoia." Yeah ... pretty much. Plus that weird baby thing. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at The Lovin' CupMySpace link (Jefferson Rd. and John St. at 300 Park Point Dr., Suite 110) is GonculatorMySpace link, and great funk from The Filthy FunkMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Lovin' Cup calendar]

    Over at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) starting around 10 p.m. is great, fun 1960's-styled rock band The Hi-RisersMySpace link. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

    Today at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting at 2 p.m. is the Day of Death 2010 featuring numerous bands. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    Today at 2 p.m. at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) is a meeting of The Rochester Police Accountability Coalition (RPAC). [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website] [18+]

    At 5 p.m. at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) is an Electronic Music Fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (262 N. Danny Thomas Blvd., Memphis, TN) [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website] [18+]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Neil Young Trunk Show starting at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 5 p.m. I love a good concert-footage movie, and the Eastman House calendar's description warms my heart: "in his second collaboration with legendary rocker Neil Young, director Jonathan Demme captures his subject's musical and spiritual soul during the Chrome Dreams II tour. Surrounding himself with his favorite instruments and his long-time touring band, Young develops an environment where he can play his songs exactly as he wants." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at 8 p.m. at The Tango Cafe Dance Studio (389 Gregory St.) is Songwriters in the Round with charismatic acoustic soloist Scott Regan, John Dady, and witty, accomplished acoustic soloist Brian Coughlin. [source: Golden Link website]

    Top Pick Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) will be hosting the nicely harmonius rock band WalriMySpace link, and fantastic, heavy, electric, lounge-folk from Auld Lang SyneMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Abilene website]

    Lilac Festival ends today.

    JayceLand Pick Today at 8 a.m. is the 5K Family Fun Run portion of The Medved Lilac 10K and 5K Family Fun Run followed at 9 a.m. by the 10K Race in Highland Park (Reservoir Dr.). I've signed up to run the 10K this year — the first 10K race I'll have attempted! [source: flyer]

    JayceLand Pick Today at Java's (16 Gibbs St.) is Hearts and Crafts II featuring over 30 local artists and craft makers. [source: City Newspaper] [all ages]

    Today at 1 p.m. is The Rochester Cycling Alliance's Upper Monroe Bicycle Boulevard Ride from Cobb's Hill Park (Norton Dr., softball diamonds near 490) to Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (955 Genesee St.) [source: Rochester Cycling Alliance blog]

    JayceLand Pick James Cuno will present a Berg Lecture today at 3 p.m. at The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) titled Whose Culture?: The Promise of Museums and the Debate Over Antiquities. [source: Memorial Art Gallery calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Guys and Dolls starting at 7 p.m. Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra who "involve each other in a complicated plot to maintain 'The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York.'" [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick Today starting at 4:30 p.m. at The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St.) is Launch Party for cans of Route 113 IPA by The Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery (519 Kimberton Rd., Phoenixville, PA). [source: Tap and Mallet website]

    Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is Verbal AbuseMySpace link, The Capitalists, and Fang!. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

    Towel Day

    This morning at 7:30 a.m. in the cafeteria overlooking the arboretum in Bausch and Lomb (140 Stone St.) is the Artists Breakfast Group meeting ... anyone interested in art or creativity is invited.

    JayceLand Pick As part of The Rochester Cycling Alliance Bike Week, the City of Rochester will present their Bicycle Master Plan this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. on the second floor of The Centers at High Falls (60 Browns Race). [source: Rochester Cycling Alliance blog]

    JayceLand Pick Tusedays at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. is A.K.A. Paul Burke Presents featuring Paul BurkeMySpace link and other people, perhaps performing. [source: band e-mail]

    The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing One-Eyed Jacks starting at 8 p.m. — a Western tale of revenge with Marlon Brando. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Today at 9:30 a.m. is Focus on Philanthropy: Grantmakers and Resources in Greater Rochester in The Kate Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) featuring the providers of grants for nonprofit organizations. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

    JayceLand Pick The Improv Plate will perform tonight at Johnny's Irish Pub (1382 Culver Rd., still smoke-free) at 7 p.m. [source: Johnny's Irish Pub calendar]

    JayceLand Pick Today at 7 p.m. at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) is the Monthly Story Slam hosted by Carol Roberts. [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

    Tonight at 8 p.m. at The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St.) is a Beer Social featuring Harpoon Brewery (306 Northern Ave., Boston, MA) [source: Tap and Mallet website]

    JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Hei yan quan (I Don't Want to Sleep Alone) starting at 8 p.m. From the Eastman House calendar: "in this visually stunning and erotically charged picture, director Tsai delves into the depths of loneliness and our inherent need for companionship." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

    Today at 12:00 p.m. is a meeting of The Brown Bag Book Discussion Group in the Literature Division's Study Room at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.) [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

    It's Whirrly Wednesdays: Hooping, Drumming, and Grooving at The Flying Squirrel Community Space (285 Clarissa St., formerly the Flower City Elks Lodge) at 6 p.m. [source: Flying Squirrel Community Space website] [18+]

    Tonight at 8 p.m. at Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is an Open Mic with The Grand Canyon Rescue EpisodeMySpace link. [source: Abeline website]

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    This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do. Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat." Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed. Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events. I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity. Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.) It's also not to be confused with Jake's World or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator. While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, May 20, 2010 (Thu, May 20, 2010, 5/20/2010, or 5/20/10) Friday, May 21, 2010 (Fri, May 21, 2010, 5/21/2010, or 5/21/10) Saturday, May 22, 2010 (Sat, May 22, 2010, 5/22/2010, or 5/22/10) Sunday, May 23, 2010 (Sun, May 23, 2010, 5/23/2010, or 5/23/10) Monday, May 24, 2010 (Mon, May 24, 2010, 5/24/2010, or 5/24/10) Tuesday, May 25, 2010 (Tue, May 25, 2010, 5/25/2010, or 5/25/10) and Wednesday, May 26, 2010 (Wed, May 26, 2010, 5/26/2010, or 5/26/10).

    JayceLand Pick indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.

    Top Pick indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.

    GarageBand link links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.

    MySpace link links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.

    Fly the flag today. is a day when you should fly the flag according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars calendar.

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