Archive for February, 2021

Sustainable Energy

Posted on 02/26/2021. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

A definition of sustainable energy is a source of energy that can be used without depriving future generations of its use. Fossil fuel is not a sustainable energy source. The earths source of fossil fuels is finite and certain to be depleted as a source of energy before humans need for energy does. That was a concern before climate change became an issue. Now climate change is the driving issue that if solved, will also solve the need for the replacement of fossil fuel for energy generation.

Currently there number of candidates to replace fossil fuels: Hydro, thermal, nucellar, wind, and solar are current ways energy can be produced by non-fossil means. Hydro has been exploited about as much as possible and acceptable in this country. Thermal needs hot spots to get the energy needed to turn a turbine. It is known where hot spots exists and they can contribute to the sustainable energy pool. Lower thermal temperatures are available throughout the planet and can be used to heat and cool individual homes, commercial buildings and can contribute to the sustainable energy pool. Nucellar energy does not require fossil fuel but current designs require scarce fissile material and in addition produces waste that is extremely difficult to handle. Research continues and some form of sustainable nuclear or molecular power may emerge. This leaves wind and solar as the currently available sustainable energy sources. They also contribute to mitigating climate change.

Both wind and solar have the problem of intermittent power generation. Solar panels use precious metals. Windmills have high construction and maintenance costs. However, the energy to be captured from the wind and sun are sustainable, reliable and free. Currently, both wind and solar require backup power. There is talk of battery backup. This hardly seems feasible for high energy us. Fossil fuel backup defeats the sustainable and climate change issues. There is no free lunch. A modern nation wide power grid that can move power around to where is is needed could eliminate backup power generation. Wind is blowing somewhere all the time. The middle of the country, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas are wind rich and have the potential to produce as much power as needed to power the nation, if it can be available where needed. These problems have to be worked out, not only in this country, but also the entire planet. Lets hope human ingenuity is up to the task.

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Armed Services

Posted on 02/01/2021. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

During the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States capital, many of the participants arrested were individuals that had served in the United States armed services. Some commentators found it disturbing to find that those that we had counted on to protect our nation and constitution to participate in an attempt change the results of a fairly won election by force. I was not surprised by the this finding. My claim to expertise on the subject is that I served as an enlisted person in the United States Navy for seven years.

The services enlisted ranks come from varied backgrounds, but tilted toward the less wealthy the less educated. This is the same segment of the population that is most supportive of former president Trump. So it shouldn’t be surprising to find service veterans participating in the January 6, 2021 occupation of the United States Capital .

Since 9/11 there has been tendency by Americans to treat armed forces members and veterans with some sort of fealty. In a way, implying service people and veterans were patriots willing to sacrificing their lives to defend our country and constitution. People now go out of their way to personally thank those who served their country. To me, it is kind of embarrassing when some person becomes aware that I’m a veteran of a war before that person was born and is thanking me for my service.

It has not alway been this way. In the 1970’s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam members of the armed services and veterans were often vilived. The country was sick of that war, probably in part because during the Vietnam conflict we were so inept and in part because we did not win it. It wasn’t until the 1980’s and Ronald Reagan that the prestige of the armed services began improving. It was during the Gulf War, under George H W Bush, in which the United States had a devind plan, which was flawlessly executed, that the armed forces fully regained its respect.

I did not join the service because I was a patriot and certainly not to to sacrifice my life for any cause. I was at a point in my life where I didn’t know what to do with my life. I didn’t have many options, I grew up during the Great Depression in a wonderful but struggling family and had a minimal education. I was a typical candidate to serve as an enlisted man in the United States armed services.

I served in the Navy. I Enlisted in 1947 and was discharged in 1954. I would have gotten out in 1950 when my initial three-year enlistment was completed. However, the Korean war had erupted and I had the choice of being extended or reenlisting. If I reenlisted, I would get a two-hundred-dollar bonus. That was a no brainer and I reenlisted, bought a twelve-gage shotgun with the bonus and used it to hunt quail near the base I was stationed at in California.

I flew as a radioman on patrol and logistic type aircraft during my enlistments. During 1952-1953 I flew with a crew that did electronic surveillance patrols along the coastline of eastern Asia from Vladivostok to Saigon. I was awarded an Air Medal during that time which I considered as some kind of joke. Everytime we flew a Patrol within a area designated as part of the Korean War zone it would earn crew members a credit toward twenty-five credits that would earn an Air Medal. Sometimes patrols would be scheduled to catch the edge of the Koran zone to earn a credit. Medals are important to career officers.

Picture by R. A. Scholefield

P4M-1Q Used for Electronic Surveillances

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