Sunday, June 27, 2010

The handbasket is getting cramped.

Still wrassling with the cruddy tummy; plus, we're one of those places where it's been raining constantly.  Last night I was up until midnight, watching the weather radar; waiting to see if I needed to head for the root cellar.  We lucked out; the storms lost a fair amount of intensity just before passing over; an inch of rain and a couple near lightning strikes was all we got.

As many of you know, I frequently comment over on The Automatic Earth.  (There are a lot of days when I can manage to read and react; but don't really have the energy needed for a coherent and worthwhile post of my own.)

One of the readers there took some of Stoneleigh's words, and some of the pictures Ilargi uses to introduce each post there; and edited it all into this video.

   For some reason, the embed process wasn't working for me today.   Watch it; it's not long, nice music.  And pretty pessimistic.  But if you're not feeling pessimistic these days, I'd have to think you're not paying attention.  The rate at which really bad news hits us seems to have doubled from only 6 months ago.  One million people in the US have lost all unemployment benefits recently; and many more will be in the same handbasket to hell shortly.  They will have nothing to pay any of their bills with.  Which means some of the people they've managed to keep paying will now be unable to pay their bills.  Even Joe Biden admitted last week that many of the jobs lost so far will never come back.

  One good thing.  Listen to the tone of Stoneleigh's voice.  She knows how bad things look, in an astonishingly lucid way.  But you will not hear despair in her voice.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Whole Planet Picnic! Again!

  Time zooms past.  Monday is the Summer Solstice- the absolute middle of the year.  Half the year is gone.

  I'm still fighting the tummy thing; so am seriously short on time; most I can do today is link here to past posts.   There are actually a number of them; if you have the interest, you can do a search the blog thingy for those.

  We're doing it!

  Wolfmamma had asked for some specific games we do; mostly after dusk the kids are either catching fireflies, then letting them go; or playing some jungle version of hide and seek.  Before that, there's a fox and goose course mowed in tall grass, and a steep very grassy hill for grass sledding.  One of the best bets; if you've got some elders in the group- ask them to teach the kids something.  That's usually pretty cool.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How to fix the Gulf oil leak. Seriously.

  I wasn't going to do this.  Because it seems such a waste of time; first, tons of good people thinking hard, and second; the thousands of idiots yelling moronic ideas about how to fix it make any sensible suggestions impossible to hear.

  But.  It occurred to me today that I have US, Chinese, and Canadian patents on a metallurgy process.  Which is based on the work of brilliant engineers.  Who totally failed to see; or even look; outside their narrow focus.

 They can do that.  And watching them today, carefully grinding down the cut off pipe so it will be nice and neat- I'm thinking  WTF!!!!!!??????

  The focus on precision is a disaster; it's why they keep failing; and it's utterly unnecessary.  If you just think in a different direction.

  Now.  For any serious engineer readers.  This is not a technical spec sheet.  It's a broad concept.  Don't let me catch you knee-jerking "that won't work because...".  When you spot a problem, ask instead, "ok, how do we get around that??"  Because I assure you- I've thought of it- and there are ways around.  Enumerating them would make this incomprehensible.

  For technical critics:  keep in mind: US Patent Office certified thinking here; on a very technical process where very bright people failed to understand their own work.

  In a nutshell:

  DO NOT try to fit a pipe onto that sawed off riser.

  Instead- think of the riser as the nozzle on a tank full of helium.  And put the equivalent of a balloon onto it.


  The crude is coming out at something like 9,000 psi, yes?  And what is the pressure of the oil about 30' away from the pipe; after exit?  Why- zero, relatively speaking, and velocity is reduced to the speed of oil rising due to differing density.

  Seriously.  Go get a big hot-air balloon, today; the big ones have a capacity of over 200,000 cubic feet; around 1.28 million US gallons; about 30,000 barrels.

  The point to the balloon is to create a large reservoir, with lots of buffering capacity.  You hook your FLEXIBLE and OVERSIZED pipes up to it, and then hook up to suction pipe, and take it to the surface.

  You could easily have a capture envelope big enough to allow gases and liquids to separate; so you could suck gas out of the top of the envelope, say, and liquids out of the middle regions.

  Ok.  Really?  A hot air balloon is not big enough; or strong enough; but it gives you the idea.  And you could practice with one today.

You make the envelope out of industrial neoprene; with a mouth about 60 feet wide.  I'd make mine about 300 feet tall, and 200 feet wide, to start.  Bigger is better, but manipulating it and mooring it are better learned smaller.  You move the mouth over the plume at a distance of 20 feet or so, and then move it down; and moor it to the floor in 5 places. The envelope will  inflate; just like your helium balloon.  You, of course, have 8 different flexible suction hose ports already attached to the envelope in different places.

  Hook up, and suck.


  Could this be done so it doesn't work?  Hell yes.

  Could it be done so it DOES work?  HELL YES.

  You'll probably have to try a couple times to figure it out.

  Beats the bloody hell out of what's going on now.


Folks; if you think this has merit; pass it on.  Who knows; eventually the right person might see it.


  Oh, yeah.   An expected reaction to this is "Why, that's obvious.  I'm sure they've already thought about THAT.  Must not work for some reason."

  You may want to check on that.  Totally obvious ideas have gone unthought of for millennia; in fact, that's the usual path of progress.

tummy upchu, uh, date.

  I can't tell you how much I appreciate the concern about my tummy, guys.  Very seriously.  And, you're all correct, it was way past time to do something.

  It means a lot when people yell at you.  :-)

  As it turned out, I didn't even need Crunchy's dulcet coo of "dumbass!" to get me motivated.

  All I needed was the emergency room.

  Ha, I hear you crow, "told you so!"

  Yes, you did.  :-)  and yes, you were right.

  I'll keep this as short as I can; other fish to fry; but, Sat evening, the nausea got uncontrollable and the vomiting rate was up.  So it's time for urgent care.  Saturday night is our standard choice for emergency room visits.

  I lucked out and got my old family doctor who knows me intimately, and is sharp as they come.  Just to prove everything, not that I had to, I threw up for him.

  He's been friend as well as doctor for decades; he checked everything; liver function, etc etc, blood, urine, barium swallow/injected vascular visualizer CAT scan.

  And.  Nothing.  very slight elevated white count, tiny bit of protein in urine- and nothing.  Definitely no cancer, etc.

  SEE!?  Told ya.

  This is my life story.  "yup, you're sick- but we can't find it."

  Then, for more fun (I LOVE artificially berry flavored barium) - one day later; Smidgen started throwing up, at 7PM.  Spice started at 9 PM.  Smidgen stopped around 4 AM, Spice about 6.

  Pretty clearly, my urgent visit was not an escalation of the chronic problem; but a case of "stomach flu" (aka food poisoning) grafted on top of it.

  Got the CAT done for the chronic thing, anyway.

  We're all still recovering from the food poisoning; gripy stomachs; and it looks like square 1 for the chronic.

  Who knows, maybe the food poisoning will knock out the chronic, right?