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Sunday, July 23, 2017

THE PATRICKS ON THE SUBJECT OF WORLD CRUISES

I have been fantasizing about a world cruise since my posting a year and a half ago of my plans.  The details have evolved into, now, a 2020 global cruise beginning in January of that year.  Mind you, the true reality remains fanciful, for this is just another of my assorted illusions, like the Blue Revolution and Rainbow Pearls International, I continue to nurture, hoping for miracles to occur.

First, a minor deviation, for Friday night I had dinner with long-time friends Joyce and David Patrick.  I was the third Patrick.  They recently moved into Tower 2 of Craigside (left, with Punchbowl in the background).  I lived in Tower 1 for 32 years.    I just took this photo while sitting at my computer creating this posting.  It is only appropriate to mention that three years ago I was elevated to Purgatory, otherwise known as 15 Craigside.  They are getting closer to this higher level of future non-existence.  Hey, this is Sunday.

We went to HABR Bistro, located on the fringe of Honolulu Chinatown.   Chaine des Rotisseurs dined here 3.5 years ago, where I indicated that HASR was the acronym for Highly Allocated Spoiled Rotten.


Located on their premise is a wine shop, where you can purchase your bottle and avoid the corkage charge.  What is surprising is that the parking cost about as much as the French Sauvignon Blanc we got.

I ordered an escargot with Caesar salad:


My meal was truly excellent.  Joyce had prepared a delicious assortment of seafood and cheese and stuff which I had with glasses of Cabernet and Pinot Grigio at their apartment, so I was already partially satiated.  Here are the other two Patricks:


During our dinner discussion, we talked a lot about cruises, for they have been on something like 80, yes, eighty, of them.  Their next major one, this Fall, will be on Regent from Rome to Dubai, and, who knows, maybe I'll join them.  (I later checked.  Cost?  $10,299/person double occupancy.  The six cheapest categories are either sold out or on waiting list.   Then there is that not-insignificant singles supplement.)  Anyway, they said there will be a Regent 2020 World Cruise.  


This Regent Seven Seas Mariner around the world cruise features FREE:
  • Roundtrip first class air
  • unlimited shore excursions, and there will be 330 of them
  • all the wine and premium spirits you want to drink
  • entrance to specialty restaurants
  • unlimited wifi
  • no gratuities
Beginning 24January2020 from San Francisco for 131 nights.  Stay in one of their 350 expansive suites, all with a private balcony, and be serviced by 445 crew members eager to exceed your expectations.  Their words.  Each cabin will have a king-size bed and spacious walk-in closet.  If you prefer, you can depart 6January2020 from Miami.

Oh, the cost:  a low of $64,999/person, two minimum.  Wouldn't it be terrific if there is some fabulous female reading this who can afford to join me, and perhaps even subsidize part of my fare?

Dreaming on, there are two Master Suites available for $175,000/person, double occupancy (which means you pay $350,000/couple), where you get 2000 square feet instead of the bourgeois 300 square feet set aside for peons, like me.  However, you need to read this Cruise Critic critique of Regent Master Suites if you are somehow serious about this option. Also, the Mariner is 16 years old.

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A week ago, Hurricane Fernanda was supposed to be over Honolulu today, but as that photo at the top shows, the weather is nice and sunny, for the storm dissipated and moved north.  However, there are seven ocean disturbances in the Pacific:


Hilary to the extreme right shows some dangerous potential for Hawaii:


However, most models see Hilary weakening by the end of this coming week.  Typhoon Noru, located far east of Japan, now at 100 MPH, will attain Category 3 strength, but, curiously, not head west for Japan, but, as currently projected, will make a complete circle and return back to where it started:


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Saturday, July 22, 2017

THE CURRENT STATUS OF OTEC

I regularly bring you up to date on ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).  Today, I will quickly summarize this technology again, by sending you to who I today consider to be among the three most knowledgeable experts on the subject.  Who are the other two?  Well....  However, as half of you who are reading this posting are new to this blog site, and no doubt know zero about OTEC, I will begin by providing some background.

The beginning was all French, for the concept was suggested by Jules Verne in 1870 with his Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.  In any case, Jacques-Arsene d'Arsonval (left), a noted electrophysiologist, in 1881 first proposed tapping the thermal energy of the ocean.  His student, Georges Claude (right), in 1930, built a 60 kW OTEC facility powered by cold water from a pipe of 1.6 meters diameter in the Bay of Matanzas off Cuba.  What an ordeal, and he did actually produce 22 kW of electricity, but failed to reach net positive.  Here is his article from that year:

Claude again tried a few years later off Brazil, but ran into weather problems.  Rather than list the full history of OTEC, let me send you to my Huffington Post article of almost a decade ago entitled, The Coming of OTEC.   I mentioned that Claude, who also invented the neon tube, was during World War II sentenced to life in prison for being a Nazi collaborator.  He was released in 1950, as sympathy for his work with OTEC.
The next real attempt was Mini-OTEC by Lockheed off Keyhole Point, Hawaii in 1979.  They produced 50 kW of net OTEC power on a Navy boat borrowed by U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga.  I happened to be working for him in DC when this happened in Hawaii, so he asked me to draft the first OTEC bill, which became law in 1980.

In the early '80's, Fumio Ito of Tokyo Electric Power Company led a Japanese effort with a 110 kW plant at the coastline of Nauru.  It is said that they attained a net closed cycle OTEC power of 31.4 kW.  Unfortunately, a hurricane wiped them out.  Here is a video of their adventure.

More than thirty years ago I made a special trip to Berkeley, California to visit a two-man ocean technology company.  I talked Luis Vega and Gerard Nihous into joining me at the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, and they, with others I recruited, built a 210 kW open cycle OTEC facility at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in the early 1990's.  Not sure if this one really reached net positive, but we did also produce some freshwater.  Anyway, here is a video of Luis articulating on OTEC.  Another video the Seasteading Institute released of my talk on the subject at their San Francisco gathering in 2012.  They are moving on with their Tahiti Floating City Project.

A dozen years ago I was asked to visit Le Reunion and Mauritius to interest them on OTEC.  The former, especially, took some steps, as it remains a French state.  DCNS, a French organization, is moving forward with various partnerships.  A small group  from Le Reunion visited me to discuss OTEC.  I usually take these groups to Orchids for a Diamond Head background.  After all, that is the backdrop for this blog site.

  Six years ago I posted:


Soon thereafter:


There has been a series of Okinawa-Hawaii symposia on OTEC, which catalyzed the construction of 100 kW gross electricity experiments at Kumejima (left) and Keahole Point (right).  These are today the primary physical evidence of OTEC activity.

Yes, sad, considering that the OTEC Act in 1980 suggested that there would be 10,000 MW (10,000,000 kW) of OTEC by 1999.  The problem is that the first large OTEC system will cost so much that there is no current financial instrument, nor risk-averse organization, to do so.

But we do not give up so easily.  Japan is continuing through the leadership of Saga University and Xenesys.  Here I am with Yasu Ikegami, probably the top professor of OTEC today, and Mac Takahashi, formerly of Tokyo University, who, like me, is more in a retirement mode.

We certainly can't write off Lockheed Martin's collaboration with the Reignwood Group of China.  With 19 OTEC patents, LM has designed a 10 MW plant, but the partnership is yet to announce exactly where it will be built.

In the meantime, Honolulu is pressing forth with a seawater air conditioning project, which keeps fading from finish.  According to Luis Vega, we do have OTEC promise:


Frankly, nothing much has happened in more than two decades.  And there has been some carping.  They have a good point, sort of like the $150 billion International Space Station which will not create a successful company when it crashes back to Earth in a few years.

Blue Revolution Hawaii seeks just one percent of that cost, only $1.5 billion, to design, build and operate the Pacific International Ocean Station.  All we lack is an enlightened billionaire seeking a grand legacy.

All the above brings me to today, for I was sent this interview with Ted Johnson, formerly head of renewable energy at Lockheed Martin, and now with Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion.  There is no one today more involved with the commercialization of this technology.  I thought Ted was just interviewed, but I just now noticed that this happened more than two years ago.  Hey, Ted, please send me your latest thoughts, then I'll update the actual status.

To the right is a photo of us at Vintage Cave, and to the left a lunch (yes, again, Diamond Head) Ted and I had with Jeremy Feakins, chairman and CEO of Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation.  Seems as if my efforts these days focus more on fine cuisine rather than the arduous task of doing anything real.  Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion is, however, actively moving forward, and I wish them another oil shock skyrocketing oil up to $120/barrel to make them more competitive.  That or a 5 cents/pound carbon dioxide credit to fund global warming remediation.

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Speaking of the sea around us, there are now eight ocean storms in the Pacific:



Hurricane Francesca will considerable weaken and ease north of Hawaii early next week, but Tropical Storm Noru is beginning to organize to the east of Japan and will soon become a typhoon:



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Friday, July 21, 2017

THE WHITE HOUSE IS CRUMBLING

The White House has been used as the residence of the President of the USA since John Adams in 1800.  The building itself has been well-maintained.

Just learned a new word from Wikipedia, and to quote:

The term White House is often used as a metonym for the president and his advisers, as in "The White House announced that...".


Barack Obama was in office for eight years.  Incredibly, there were no personal scandals of any note.  Whoops, sorry, there was one.  Michelle was dressed by Versace, Tisci, Wu, Gurung, Taylor, Browne, as only a beginning.  That was okay.  Our POTUS #44 wore the same  tuxedo for his two terms.  

I've actually got a bigger tuxedo admission.  About a third of a century ago, I accompanied my Oxnard sister-in-law to what appeared to be a huge used clothing store for Mexican immigrants.  Rummaging around, I noticed just one tuxedo.  The material was not to my liking, but, for $16, it looked like it would fit me, so I bought it.  I still have it, here to the right in 15 Craigside.

But back to politics today and his amazing display of survival, as Donald Trump has now been PUS #45 for exactly six months.  Click on this site to view:
  • cheat sheets of his scandals
  • whether Trump is mentally ill
  • 25 worst quotes
  • 30 most outrageous quotes
  • list of business failures
Here are some of his tweets you might never have seen, for they go back to 2012, and he must have really despised Arianna Huffington.
Just this week we have learned that:
You will get lost in the tri-letters, but the KGB became the FSB, and the IPA, also known as the SVR RF, succeeded the PGU.  There are links of all the Russians to these letters.

But the truly monumental news of the day is that President Trump fired (the media says Spicer resigned, but...) the only endearing virtue of the WH Administration, Press Secretary Sean Spicer.  The crushing disappointment is that Melissa McCarthy was not named as his replacement.  Here are only two of her Saturday Night Live appearances:
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is now the PS, and hedge fund expert Anthony Scaramucci is the new communications director.  No, she is not married to Bernie Sanders, but is the daughter of Mike Huckabee, perpetual presidential candidate.  

Clearly, Trump is surrounding himself now only with family and trusted insiders.  It is more and more appearing that people like WH Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon and WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus are losing influence.  About Scaramucci, he was close to being named to the White House staff in January, but his ethics record was murky.  Still is.

Holy Moly, what are all those ocean storms doing in the Pacific?

At least Fernanda is continuing to weaken and will only bring rain to Hawaii:


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR HIGH AND LOW BLOOD PRESSURES

If you are from 65 to 74, 64% of males and 71% of females have high blood pressure.  These hypertension percentages increase to 72% for men and 80% for women from the age of 75.

I couldn't find the percentages for hypotension, or low blood pressure,  lower than 90/60.  This fraction must not be of much concern, for almost all medical research is focused on hypertension.

I am the only one I know who suffers from both high and low blood pressures.  Certainly, my simple solutions should not be taken as a cure for your hypertension and hypotension.  But you can take hints and check with your doctor before actually doing anything.

I take two pills for hypertension, and I tolerate them because they keep usually keep my pressures below 140 / 90, and there are other so-called benefits to my body.

If I miss a lunch, the pressures zoom up to 180/100, but eating drops these numbers, usually into the 130 / 85 range.  Advice #1, then, is don't get too hungry.

Sure, I know that foodstuffs like bananas, potatoes, watermelon and nuts can lower your BP.  Further, there is still some controversy here, but, apparently, coffee, as now reported, should lower your blood pressure, and two cups might also reduce the onset of Alzheimer's.  Also, too, while you can find articles indicating that alcohol increases your blood pressure, the very latest research seems to suggest that one or two drinks/day can actually lower your blood pressure.  I believe what best applies to me, plus, this point of view is more recent.

Advice #2:  be careful when you first wake up.   In one study:

The researchers found that a morning blood pressure reading of higher than 155 mm Hg was associated with a seven times higher risk of stroke than a morning blood pressure reading of less than 135 mm Hg. In contrast, an evening blood pressure reading over 155 mm Hg was not associated with any increase in stroke risk, compared with an evening blood pressure reading under 135 mm Hg.

If you try to read these fundamental medical reports, you will get lost in the terms and the high-faluting science.  As far as I can determine, simplifying the gobbledegook, your blood pressure should be at a maximum when you wake up because:
  • there is the shock of awaking
  • you need to go to the bathroom
  • you are very hungry, for your last meal was, maybe, 12 hours ago
  • if you are on medication, you have not taken them for some time
  • your pulse rate is at a minimum:
    • my rate is around 52/minute when I awake
    • I know that, for me, there is an inverse relationship between blood pressure and pulse rate
      • the higher the pulse rate, the lower my pressure
      • the lower the pulse rate, the higher my pressure
For a long time, when I first awoke, my blood pressure ranged between 155-170 / 85-95.  Why not take one of my blood pressure pills when I wake up around 2AM to take a pee?  2.5 mg of Amlodipine besylate dropped my wake-up pressure to 140-150 / 75-85.  Fabulous!  Problem one  mostly solved.  This solution only came this month.

I had a second BP problem, and this is the one that was confounding.  For the longest time, when walking on a golf course, I got weak during the first few holes, then dizzy when I picked up my ball on the 6th hole.  What I was doing was getting a huge bento from Rainbow Drive-In or Zippy's, had a filling lunch at Diamond Lookout, and then soon thereafter went golfing.  Food in your belly significantly drops my blood pressure when my pulse rate approaches 100/minute.

Advice #3 purchase a blood pressure device, and carefully check your status at different times of day and physical conditions.  My typical pressures and pulse rates soon after the meal were:
  • before golfing:  140/85, 70
  • second hole:  120/70, 85
  • fourth hole:  100/60, 100
  • sixth hole:  as low as 80/50, 105
  • tenth hole:  110/65, 95
  • fifteenth  hole:  115/70, 95
  • eighteenth hole:  125/75, 90
  • after a hot bath at home:  110/65, 80
If there was a crowd ahead of my group, which allowed me to slow my walk, my pulse rate only rose to 90, and my blood pressure did not drop so low.  I tried li hing mui, ume and other high sodium shocks, but they did not seem to do much.  My theory was that if I quickly ingested salt, my blood pressure would go up.  There is, too, of course, an inverse relationship between my blood pressure and pulse rate.  The faster I walked, the higher went my pulse rate, resulting in lower blood pressures.

My doctor said try compression socks.  I thought that was too much of a humbug and physical discomfort, so I came up with my own solution, which was to have a big breakfast at home, and golf at least an hour and a half after eating.  This largely cured the problem:
  • before golfing:  135/80,70
  • second hole:  120/70, 85
  • fourth hole:  110/65, 95
  • sixth hole:  100/65, 105
  • tenth hole:  110/65, 95
  • fifteenth  hole:  115/70, 90
  • eighteenth hole:  125/80, 85
  • after a hot bath at home:  110/65, 80
My blood pressure still reached a low around the sixth hole, but 100/65 is manageable.  I don't get dizzy.  In subsequent holes, my body tended to naturally adjust, bringing my pressures up to normality by the end of the round.

Keep in mind that when I finish golfing, all I have had is an apple, plus, perhaps, a small piece of candy or some chips, so I'm very hungry, meaning that my pressure would normally rise.  I don't get this surge after golf.  In fact, after I get home, when I take a hot bath with an alcoholic drink, I'm still very hungry, but my blood pressure drops to 110/65.  In any case, my high/low blood pressure dilemma now seems under control, and the weight stabilization with the strenuous exercise allows me to eat and drink whatever I want.  

Finally, how's this for a future option?  Marijuana lowers your blood pressure.  Medical marijuana is now legal in Hawaii.  I understand, though, that mere high blood pressure does not qualify you for this soon to be available product.  I might go see my personal doctor to get his professional opinion.


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Hurricane Fernanda has weakened into a tropical storm, is moving further north, and now should not begin impacting Hawaii with some rain until Monday:



Right behind are two more disturbances, with Tropical Storm Gregg predicted to attain hurricane status, and also head for Hawaii:




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