Archive for September, 2009

Burn the Books!

September 21, 2009

“The language and thought police are hardly some Orwellian invention; America has been unusually susceptible to plagues of Comstockery and self-righteous tomfoolery.” Jon Newlin; Well, Shut My Mouth; Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana); Oct 13, 1996.

Here is a puzzler.

September 11, 2009

“Did God have a mother?” Children, when told that God made the heavens and the earth, innocently ask whether God had a mother. This deceptively simple question has stumped the elders of the church and embarrassed the finest theologians, precipitating some of the thorniest theological debates over the centuries. All the great religions have elaborate mythologies surrounding the divine act of Creation, but none of them adequately confronts the logical paradoxes inherent in the question that even children ask. -Michio Kaku, physicist (b. 1947)

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

September 8, 2009

G’day, if you like the concept suggested here, please feel free to pass it on to friends and any and all politicians.  We all need energy regardless of political persuasion.


Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:                                       3 September 2009

California needs more energy as well as a need for more jobs.  Combining these areas with an alternate, renewable energy producer may be of interest

To improve California’s energy position, and provide jobs in the “green” sector, I would like to bring to your attention and that of the California Energy Commission the concept of the Solar Updraft Tower, .

“In 1903, Isidoro Cabanyes first proposed the concept of a solar chimney in the magazine “Electrical Energy.”

In 1982 an experimental tower was built in Manzanares, Spain, about 150 km/95 miles south of Madrid.  While intended to only operate for approximately 3 years, it did in fact produce up to 50kW until 1989.

This paper suggests some quite interesting variations on how to develop and use the concept.

Unlike a lot of experimental technology, this one has produced power.  The research data is available for study and advancement.

My suggestion to you is that California make use of this technology to produce power for the state’s energy users.  I’m not unaware that the initial tower[s] will be part experimental, part power producer and part of the energy grid for California.

The capital costs for such projects will most likely be high, though the upkeep and maintenance of the Solar Updraft Towers will be quite low.  My concept for a tax break, and to increase the incentive to build such a project, would be to allow a company to write off the capital expenses in, say 5 years, using accelerated depreciation.  This assumes the Solar Updraft Tower would be built to last & produce power for 40 years.

Where to put the towers?  I would suggest the desert portions of San Bernardino county for a start or jointly with neighboring states.  The project, as I envision it, would consist of a series of towers each larger than the previous: 10 MW, 100 MW, 500 MW, 1 GW & 10 GW.  Each succeeding tower would initiate construction about 3 years after ground is broken for the previous tower.  These new towers would build on and incorporate new technologies and materials as well as adapting to any challenges appearing during construction and operation of the previous towers.

In 25 years since the previous tower was built and operated not only have wind turbines improved, but so have the materials needed to build a Solar Updraft Tower.  They will continue to improve over the coming years.

Thank you for hearing me out.

Yours sincerely,

If Napoleon says so, then …

September 5, 2009

Society cannot exist without inequality of fortunes and the inequality of fortunes could not subsist without religion. Whenever a half-starved person is near another who is glutted, it is impossible to reconcile the difference if there is not an authority who tells him to. -Napoleon Bonaparte, general and politician (1769-1821)

I’m siding with the dolphins!

September 5, 2009

Humans think they are smarter than dolphins because we build cars and buildings and start wars etc., and all that dolphins do is swim in the water, eat fish and play around. Dolphins believe that they are smarter for exactly the same reasons. -Douglas Adams, writer, dramatist, and musician (1952-2001)