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Friday, July 25, 2014


The simple answer is YES, OTEC, similar to all renewable resources, can reduce global warming.  But enhance the environment?  

Every kilowatt-hour of electricity of generated in itself avoids the need to burn any carbon-emitting fossil fuel.  However, it is possible that the process of ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) provides additional mechanisms to improve conditions.  It is thus entirely possible that OTEC could actually ENHANCE the environment.  To the left is a current OTEC related experiment located at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA).

Let me first summarize a 1997 paper Stan Dunn and I presented in Singapore entitled ARTIFICIAL UPWELLING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ENHANCEMENT:
  • An open-ocean artificial upwelled system, however, shows promise for both providing revenues and, possibly, positively impacting the environment. Properly managed, the high-nutrient deep waters can induce growth in the photic zone, on balance, although possibly with the need to add iron, uptaking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Much of the CO2 formed will sink to the bottom of the ocean, where much of it will remain trapped for a long, long period. The carbonate cycle slowly transforms the gas back into the atmosphere, but those bound in silicate compounds remain in place for many millennia (Berner and Lasaga, 1989).

Above is an OTEC facility on Kumejima, Okinawa, actually producing OTEC electricity today.  To the right is the open cycle OTEC power plant built by the Pacific International Center for High Technology at NELHA, borrowed from the website of Ocean Thermal Development Corporation, one of the more progressive companies in this business.
    Victor Phillips
  • Two potential oceanic mechanisms to help mitigate global warming are (Phillips, et al, 1991):  
    • enhanced carbon dioxide uptake via nutrient subsidy to marine algae and subsequent deposition in marine sediments and
    • enhanced dimethyl sulfide production via marine algae to increase cloud formation and albedo.
(I couldn't find that 1991 article, but might add that I searched Google and found Victor Phillips, who is now Professor and Director of Global Environmental Management Center at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.  I haven't seen him since he worked for me a 23 years ago...and he still looks about the same.  You can contact him for details.)

The paper Stan Dunn, other colleagues and I wrote (incidentally, elimination of hurricane formation was another enhancive potential, which was detailed in that publication, but left out in this discussion today) went on to conclude that:

An international partnership of industry, government, and academia to design, build and operate a VLFS powered by OTEC and producing the range of co-products, while providing environmental benefits, would be a magnificent undertaking for the new millennium (Takahashi, 1996). As developed by a 1992 workshop in Hawaii of 50 participants representing six nations (Takahashi and Vadus, 1992), the Blue Revolution plantship would be a 1 hectare (100,000 square feet) grazing structure estimated to cost $500 million for full operation early in the 21st Century to:

serve as an incubator for new marine industries,
develop the package of integrated products, and
test the upwelling concept.

While $500 million might seem staggeringly high, one might consider that this sum represents one tenth of 1% the cost of the 1991 Gulf War and one-fifth the current value of each B-1 bomber (left). Reports also indicate that the U.S. space station would have cost $50 billion and the Mars Project about $500 billion. Now that dreams have come back down to earth, this pioneering venture to develop next generation marine products for Humanity while, possibly, enhancing the environment, seems like a wise bargain.

Okay, that was nearly two decades ago.  What about today?  Well, Blue Revolution Hawaii has proposed the Pacific International Ocean Station (PIOS) to accomplish all of the immediate above.  In addition, I am part of a discussion group that began with an article by Jim Baird entitled:

     Carbon Sequestering Energy Production

It was about a year ago that I featured Jim in


Basically, an additional step is inserted to remediate global warming, with hydrogen as a by-product.    This would mean additional costs, of course, with potentially significant benefits.  At the risk of terrorizing my readers, here is a schematic of the mechanism:

The discussion has evolved into a call of action to secure developmental funds to actually build and operate this system.  Who knows, depending on how financial support materializes, Jim's concept might someday sit on a PIOS platform.

There are four tropical disturbances headed for Hawaii:

None should approach hurricane strength.  Which leads to the question of the day.  What was unusual about the hurricane season in the Atlantic a century ago, 1914?  ZERO HURRICANES.


Thursday, July 24, 2014


USA Today had an article last week entitled:

To quote:

Which brings us to the BBC Trust and climate change.
The Trust, which oversees Britain's prestigious public broadcasting operations, recently issued a report chastising the Beeb's journalists for devoting entirely too much time and attention to climate change deniers.
Since 2010, the BBC has provided training to staffers to help them do a better job of covering science properly. But apparently the lessons haven't sunk in.
The report found that thanks to the "over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality," the BBC continues to give "undue attention to marginal opinion" when it comes to climate change and other scientific concerns.
Even I'm guilty of perhaps unnecessarily bending over backyards to be fair.  See WE MUST TAKE ACTION ON GLOBAL WARMING NOW! to the right by scrolling down.  Surely enough, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this week published a rather long article, Climate scientist gets cold shoulder.  And this was from the 15 July 2014 issue of the New York Times.  The skeptic is John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  Here, I'm doing it again, actually showing  his photo.

The fact of the matter is that Planet Earth is heating up.  Our globe set an all-time high temperature in May, then, exceeded that record last month.  Now, 61.2 F seems kind of cold to me, but this temperature is 1.3 F higher that the average of the entire 1900's.  All 12 of the monthly heat records were set after 1997.

Worse yet, the world's oceans last month attained the hottest temperature yet in recorded history (1880):  62.7 F.   This presentation wasn't clear if it was only the ocean or overall average, but last month was the 352nd straight hotter-than-average month in a  row!  

Why is this bad?  Hotter oceans produce more severe hurricanes.  Further, there are also now more cyclonic storms:

Two years ago, ABC News said it may be too late to stop global warming.  The scary thing is that ONLY 54% said no.  But one of the noisiest, and reputable, fear monger, James Hanson, of NOAA, said, we still have time if.....  Unfortunately, China and India are waiting for the USA to do something, and our Congress is not interested.  Incredible.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I was planning to spend today making fun of things on Hump Day.  But there is the reality of  our world, so let me start with...:

  • ...the tragedy of MH 17, and that 50-hearse procession today from a military airport in Eindhoven, Netherlands with tens of thousands standing in solemn respect along the roads, bringing tears to viewers.

Otherwise, I love that Geico camel.  Here is a minute and a half re-mix of Martin the Camel.  The voice, incidentally, is that of Chris Sullivan.

How many of you know that the new president of Indonesia is 53-year old Joko Widodo, a child of the slum?  He beat Prabowo Subianto (left), a retired army general and son-in-law of former authoritarian president Suharto.  Prabowo called the election a fraud.  In excess of  135 million Indonesians cast ballots, more than Americans voting in the 2012 American presidential election.  Obama spent his first, second and part of third grades here.
In another tragedy, the pine tree dedicated to Beetle George Harrison was killed by beatles.  No, make that:  The pine tree dedicated to Beatle George Harrison was killed by beetles.  In a decade, the tree had grown ten feet tall.  But bark beetles and ladybugs did it in.

I brought a Zippy's Kokua Pac to my University campus office today and after taking a photo, noticed yellow flowers on the lawn outside my window:

There are a dozen of these Gold Trees around my building, but only one is blooming.  There are also numerous rainbow shower trees in my parking lot:

Over the next few days I still plan to blog on:

  • global climate change, 
  • the latest on the risk of niacin, plus another medical reversal having to do with not needing to fast for your blood lipid test, 
  • progress on battery storage, and
  • a pathway for reducing climate change through ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).

  • -

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    215TH "COUNTRY" TO VISIT THIS SITE: Saint Barthelemy

    Welcome Saint Barthelemy, the 215th entity to visit this blog site.  How can this number exceed 196 (193 United Nations members, plus Vatican City, Kosovo and Taiwan)?   Google uses country codes, and best as I can tell, there are 260 CCs, so I still have 45 locations to go.  Antarctica, Guam and various island communities are included.

    Saint Barthelemy (good luck finding it above) has had an interesting history.  Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 (and named after his brother Bartolomeo), this Caribbean island was first settled by the French in 1648, sold to Sweden in 1784, then repurchased by France in 1877 and placed under the administration of Guadaloupe.  However, the street names remained Swedish.  In 2003, the people voted to secede, becoming a French overseas collectivity.

    Saint Barthelemy, also known as St. Barts, is one-eighth the size of Washington, D.C., has a population of 9,000, speaks French, features high-end tourism, and, lacking freshwater, imports almost everything.  The most notable individual was Eugenie Blanchard, who passed away in 2010 at the age of almost 115 as the oldest person in the world.

    Hotel Guanahani and Spa starts at $694/night:

    140,000 of their 200,000 tourists visit by cruise ship.  Good thing, for watch this You Tube clip of why their airport is considered to be dangerous.  Another clip.  However, this is a safe island.  No one has ever been mugged.


    Monday, July 21, 2014


    What interesting things in history happened this week?

    • Yesterday in 1969 Neil Armstrong first walked on the Moon.  That was 45 years ago, when he reported, "Houston, Tranquility Base here.  The Eagle has landed."  This was a huge relief at the Space Center where they were worried that the lander only had seconds of fuel remaining.  While Buzz Aldridge was originally scheduled to make that initial step on the Moon, the logistics of the seats sent Armstrong down first, where he declared, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."  Watch that 5-minute clip from liftoff to Moonwalk.  Perhaps the proudest moment in American History.  He later taught at the University of Cincinnati in the College of Engineering, and I met him on my only visit to that campus.  As he only had a master's degree, he left in 1979 and lived away from the public eye, passing away two years ago in Ohio.
    • Further back in time, on this day in 1911,  Machu Picchu was found.  When I visited in 2011, I reported:  

    It was a hundred years ago that Hiram Bingham III, a  Hawaii-born Yale professor, became the first Westerner to view Machu Picchu.  After half a millennium since abandonment (possibly because of smallpox), the city had become a jungle, with a few locals farming the edges.  The  Spanish Explorers never found it, and neither did a swarm of other explorers.

    Quite a family, for his grandfather, Hiram Bingham was a missionary in Hawaii who designed Kawaiahao Church, II was also a Hawaiian missionary, and IV was a World War II hero and saved Jews.  III also went on to become a U.S. Senator and Governor of Connecticutt.

    Looks like any market doesn't it?  Well, those are LCD screens, you touch what you want, pay by credit card at the register, and, in time, will be able to either take your bag with you or arrange to send it to your home.  Clearly, you will also be able to shop from your home computer.  In the USA, Amazon has proposed to deliver by drone.

    I'll later this week be reporting on 
    • global climate change, 
    • the latest on the risk of niacin, plus another medical reversal having to do with not needing to fast for your blood lipid test, 
    • progress on battery storage, and
    • a pathway for reducing climate change through ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).
    Typhoon Matmo, now at 80 MPH, will trundle across Taiwan south of Hualian as a Category 2, then head for China.


    Sunday, July 20, 2014

    THE FINAL TRANSITION: Part 15E--A Possible Physical Clue Proving There Must be an AFTERLIFE

    I again quote from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:

    As we get older, the notion of eternal gloom more and more becomes terrifying for some of us. This is the 21st Century. I’m an educated person. Yes, there are a lot of things I don’t understand, but something so fundamental as an afterlife surely should have been resolved by now. Why haven’t our best minds come up with some proof? Will another billion years of progress add to the information base? Chances are, the answer will be no! Thus, I have come to believe that there is no Afterlife, and, furthermore, no life controlling Supreme Being. The notion that in the beginning God was created by Man, as we also invented the family structure, agriculture and television, is sounding more and more plausible

    But that was written a few years ago.  More recently, I've had a potentially transforming experience...which I'll relate at the end of this posting. 

    Let me first delve into miracles, and, again from my Chapter on the Golden Evolution:

    Most religions feature miracles, especially the Christian ones. In fact, C.S. Lewis has been quoted to say that without miracles there cannot be Christianity. What is a miracle? Merriam and Webster say, “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.” In many, some scientific law of nature is seemingly being violated, and, therefore, if this “something” actually happened, we should be able to explain why. The incident is a lot more difficult to resolve if it happened two millennia ago.
    If an individual with cancer of the liver is given three months to live, but completely recovers, is that a miracle? No doubt yes for a very religious person who knows that his family and friends prayed a lot for his recovery. However, any body, now and then, can cure itself. In my definition, this was not a miracle. Some people are luckier than or genetically superior to others.

    Popes have attained sainthood for similar "miracles," as for example, Pope Paul II for curing Floribeth More (above) of a brain aneurysm.

    I have three miracles to suggest, the third one possibly a hint that there might be an afterlife. 
    • First, six years ago, for curiosity, I initiated an experiment.  I kept re-using my Schick shaving system.  Click on it to read the details.  At one point three or four years ago I dropped it, breaking it.  So I bought another one. The two two-blade razor (one for each) are the only ones I've used at home now for six years, and I shave every day.  On the road I've also had similar plastic travel versions with no brand name, the second because I forgot the first one in one of my hotel rooms.  By all modern day conventions, this has to be a miracle, for just the corrosion of the blades should have made them useless after a few months.  This must be a miracle, for it generally meets the criteria cited above.  A hint that continued reuse is actually possible, though, is the Infinity Razor, where for $4.99 you can purchase from the razor to the right.  That was the price six years ago, and is still the same today.
    It sounds looney, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but  a true miracle is that urban legend: a bar of soap between the bedsheets will prevent leg cramps. There is something about getting older and lying horizontal. My wife and I, now and then, no, make it frequently, used to suffer from painful cramps. That bar, and I think it was Irish Spring, was placed a few months ago, and, amazingly, no leg cramps.  Place the unwrapped soap in a cloth bag, held in place by a safety pin, under the bottom sheet at the bottom of your bed.  For some reason, Dove and Dial, apparently, don't work, and Dove is worst.  Ann Landers a long time ago mentioned this solution, and so do some doctors. What is the explanation? No one knows. There is no scientific proof. But it works. It’s a puzzlement, or miracle. Maybe there is a God. Hopefully, this crack in rationality will lead me to an afterlife

    Snopes investigated and expressed general amazement, but could not refute this practice.  People's Pharmacy (PP) provides a reasonably thorough analysis.   A miracle?  Divine intervention?  Interesting, though, that the PP blog site indicated that you needed to change (or scrape the surface) of the soap every few months.  I've used the same bar untouched in the same bag for more than six years.  Which apparently means the effect must be psychosomatic.   To me, these razor (which is a physical effect, not mental) and soap bar results are a lot more compellingly convincing as noteworthy than any Pope praying for millions and having a few testify that they were cured by him.
    • I mention those two miracles because it is possible I just went through a "supernatural" experience last week where the circumstance was equally confounding, and, could well be that compelling piece of metaphysical evidence I have long been searching for to convince me that there could well be an afterlife after all.  Here is the story:
      • About ten weeks ago, I joined Kenji's Safari where we golfed five straight days in the outskirts of Napa Valley.
      • On the third day, I had an easy 130 yard shot to the green.  I had dropped of Kenji at this ball and drove to mine.  I took the cover off my 8-iron and I think placed it on top of my golf bag.  After I hit the ball, I came back to the cart and could not find my 8-iron cover.  We had time at the end of the hole so I quickly emptied the golf bag, but no cover.
      • The next day, again, with no one around me, I was a hundred yards from the pin, so I took out my pitching wedge, because of the puzzlement the day before, carefully placed the cover on my seat, went to hit my ball, returned, and, again, could not find the cover.  Looked everywhere.
      • After my return to Honolulu, I had now played at least ten times, and my eight-iron and pitching wedge stood out in my bag because they were the shiny non-putter ones without a cover.  I never got around to replacing the set.

      • Last week, I was alone at my golf cart, went to hit my pitching wedge, and soon after that noticed a golf cover next to my feet.  It was my pitching wedge cover.  And this was my lost cover because what are the odds that I could  find another gray and old one that matched my set?  The first time I had seen it since Vacaville.  I could not explain how it got there, and no one was around me during this period, so the only explanation I could imagine is that someone from the afterlife first stole it in California, then placed it back ten weeks later in Honolulu at my feet.   Unlike a soap bar preventing cramps, which has no logical explanation, mine can only be ascribed to some divine intervention at play here.  On the other hand, Kenji and I have had numerous discussions about the afterlife, and it is not totally impossible that, somehow, he had a role to play in these incidents.
      • So does this prove there is an afterlife?  Nah, I'm willing to allow for this potential miracle as something to do with a feeble mind.
      • However, if over the next few weeks, that 8-iron cover mysteriously reappears, then, perhaps, I can convince myself that there must be something after I die, and I can forever banish any thoughts of my still expected eternal gloom.
    After all these TRANSITIONS postings, it seems anti-climactic to end with a golf 8-iron cover as the crucial link to the Afterlife.  On the other hand, if this were to transpire, what an appropriate conclusion:  a prosaic ordinary event to confirm the ginormous answer and evidential solution to a question that has been eluding our best thinkers for millennia.  Real physical proof!  A book, maybe, followed by an epic movie.  But perhaps of greatest importance to me:  I would then be able to face the final transition in supreme peace.

    Typhoon Matmo is now at 80 MPH and strengthening.  The expectation is landfall as a Category 3 at Hualian, Taiwan, then on to China: