© Brooke Clarke 2000 - 2024

My Grandmother's sayings
Sleep Apnea 
Long Term Disability & ERISA
Very Important Information for people who are Managers or work for a Manager 
Parkinson's Law
A Pattern Language - Feng Shei
Buddhist Philosophy & Religion
Allergies -> Antibiotics -> Lactose Intolerance -> Hemorrhoids -> All is well
Seath Speaks or "Be Careful What You Want ......... You May Get It"
If you have Kaiser Medical Insurance - Read This
Geodesic Domes
PatentsMy Pat Pages - Bad URLs-
Handy External Links:
USPTO Quick , Pat #, List of Top Class #s, Index to Class #s, Top Level Class # (left) Application Serch - Assignment Search - Telcom Archive (&Tesla) -
2020 Classification Resources -
Google Advanced Pat Search - Google Plain Pat Search 
Brain Function: Myers-Briggs, Multiple (seven) Intelligence Theory, Left-Right Brain, IQ
AI Web Pages
Scrambled Words - can be sight read, amazing
Reasoning - or What's True & What's Not
Scientific Method
Tiny Art
Problems with the Legal System
Toilet Seat
Shoestrings, Tying
Linda's Parisian Burgers 
Earthlings 101
Looking for Things
Electric Grid
Electric Cars
Grid Scale Energy Storage
Nuclear Reactors
    Convert Uranium into weapons grade Plutonium
    Molten Salt Reactor
    Enriched Uranium
    W56 warhead for Minuteman
Berg Science Seminars
Insects & Light

My Grandmother's sayings

When a boy it was my task to climb in a tree with pruning shears or a pruning saw, and under the direction of my grandmother, cut off the limb at the place she would point out.  Later when I had my own house that came with some fruit trees I asked her when was it the best time to prune the trees (meaning season of the year).  Her response was "When the shears are sharp".  I've found many places to apply this saying that have nothing to do with pruning or shears.  i.e. the best time to do something is when you can do it.

When having a hard time finding something, I would say "I can't find it" and her response would be "If it was a snake it would bite you".

When someone makes a comment that's not too bright "you sure are a Fart Smeller",  . . . . . oh . . .  Smart Feller.

Sleep Apnea

This is a sleep disorder where breathing stops (apnea = without breath) for a short time.  There are two types, Central and ObstructiveRapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep was discovered by Kleitman and Aserinsky around 1953 and since there's been a lot of research related to sleep.  But there are now more questions than answers.  During REM sleep you dream and to keep from acting out the dream your body shuts down the motor neurons and so you don't try to run when you dream about running, but the brain is very active in REM sleep and it's not active in the other stages of sleep.  There's a lot of speculation on why REM sleep, but there's no answer so far. 

Maslow's hierarchy of needs (A Theory of Human Motivation 1943) has as it's foundation: Breathing, Food, Water, Sex, Sleep, Homeostasis, Excretion.  So even before the work of  Kleitman and Aserinsky the importance of sleep was recognized.  If you are deprived of sleep it has all kinds of negative consequences.  In sleep apnea you wake from REM sleep and go into a lighter sleep so loose the benefits of REM sleep.  I'd say that you don't dream much if you have severe sleep apnea.

The literature suggests that 80% of the people who have sleep apnea have not been diagnosed.  Also men are diagnosed 4 times as often as women.  One paper suggests that the same percentage of women have sleep apnea as men but that they are embarrassed to say that they are heavy snore's or there's some other gender bias at work.  Loud snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea correlates with neck size.

The most common remedy is to wear a nose mask during sleep that supplies slightly pressurized air.  This blows up your airway like a balloon so it will not stop your breathing.  This was invented by Colin Sullivan and is now available in a number of machines (C-PAP, Bi-PAP, etc.).

Sleep disorders Health Article -

Long Term Disability & ERISA

Even though I have a bad back (two major surgeries and still have back pain.) and the Social Security Administration has ruled that I'm totally disabled (I now have a medicare card and get what amounts to early retirement payments) the long term disability insurance company (VPA Inc) will not give me LTD benefits. 

When congress drafted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) they were concerned with private businesses taking the money that belonged to the people that the plan was designed for (retires or disabled).  So although ERISA contains a lot of language relating to the fiduciary responsibility of the plan administrators it contains NO language about protecting the people the plan is supposed to protect.

Since federal law preempts state laws ERISA allows the insurance companies to operate free of prosecution for fraud.  Just like in the movie Bullworth, the insurance companies have control of the government.  The Functional Capability Assessment report by Healthsouth of Santa Rosa was very unfair, has gross omissions and misleading information, but according to the lawyers they are immune from prosecution because of the ERISA laws.

So if you are starting to get involved with LTD issues my advice would to to hire a lawyer specializing in ERISA as soon as possible to protect you benefits.
U.S. Dept. of Labor - ERISA - Not much practical information
United States Code, Title 29 - Labor, Chapter 18, Employee Retirement Income Security Program -

Health Administration Responsibility Project - ERISA Outline - a web page with some legal details about ERISA.

Contacting your Federal Representatives:
Congressmen -
Senators -

Very Important Information for people who are Managers or work for a Manager

Management Implications of Statistical Process Control

Parkinson's Law

A neighbor who was the founder of a well known Silicon Valley company loaned me this book and said that most if not all of it was true although it is written in a humorous way.  After reading it I think he was correct.

Pattern Language

Pattern 238 "Filtered Light"
A Pattern Language # 238 "Filtered Light" CLICK
In the process of doing some landscape planning I looked into a book called A Pattern Language Towns Buildings Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein with Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl,-King and Shlomo Angel, Oxford University Press, 1977, Library of Congress Cat. Card # 74-22874  ISBN: 0195019199.  This book presents a number of "patterns" that the authors have discovered and each is rated on how true they feel it is.  Some like #105 "South Facing Outdoors" (People use open space if it is sunny, and do not use it if it isn't, in all but desert climates.) is ranked as very true.  This concept spans the whole world i.e. it is culture independent.  The concepts in this book can be used for space planning at all scales from a one room dwelling to Large cities.  There is another book with more information: The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander, Oxford University Press, 1979 ISBN 0-19-502402-8.  Doing a web search will turn up many references to this idea.

For me all the "patterns" with high ratings feel correct.  If you pay attention to the concepts in the book it can help you have a better life by making your surroundings much more pleasant and relaxing..

After a few years of cautious cutting of what is forest land that has been here forever, I have found a "pattern".  The original forest was so overgrown that all you could see was vegetation.  When the small (<4" dia.) shrubs are cut out so that you can walk the ground the feeling changes radically.  Now the land is very much like a park.

The "patterns" are universal the world over, not tied to any one culture.  Music also seems to be for the most part cross cultural.

An application of this book to web pages -
the book at amazon.com - plus other books in the series
Some Notes On Christopher Alexander. - a summary of Christopher Alexander's wide-ranging contributions - The Nature of Order - New book due mid/late 1999 and a course = Architecture ( ARCH ) 160 The Nature of Order   (3 units)
Architecture Dept. at U.C. Berkeley - where Christopher Alexander works

Feng Shei

This is an ancient Chinese idea of how to do space planning so that you will have a good result.  For example if you are going to build a farm house where to locate it on the land, which direction should it face, how should the rooms be laid out, etc.  Much of the original version, that made use of a special magnetic compass, was based on practical observation.  For example it is better to locate the farm house part way up a hill rather then beside a river that may change it's course and destroy the house.  It is better to orient the house so that those rooms used during the day will face the Sun.  This older school is based on a magnetic compass or Lo-Pan.
American Feng Shei Institute -
Web Links - Grouped by the old and new schools

The newer school of Feng Shei (Black Sect Tantra) uses the direction of the main entrance and the relation of the lesser elements to it rather than the compass.  For me this does not seem as good as the compass based version.

Both schools of Feng Shei have a strong relation with the pattern language mentioned above.  Feng Shei is promoted as having the ability of improving your life but not as having the capability of turning around your life.  There is no question that making changes based on Feng Shei or pattern language can have a profound effect on the feeling a space imparts to it's occupants.  In the case of a business this may mean the difference between staying solvent and going broke.

Feng Shui - A Layman's Guide to Chinese Geomancy, Evelun Lip, Heian International, Inc. 1987, ISBN 0-89346-286-1
Interior Design with Feng Shui, Sara Rossbach, E.P. Dutton, 1987, ISBN 0-525-48299-7
Yun Lin Temple - Professor Thomas Lin Yun practices the modern school of Feng Shei
Feng Shui Society - in the United Kingdom with many web links
The Feng Shui Web Index -
Skeptical Inquirer - They debunk many claims that have no basis.  Some of the Feng Shei web sites are also into paranormal ideas that I don't believe in.

Buddhist Philosophy & Religion

If religion is related to the time before you were born and after you die
philosophy is related to the time you are alive
I feel that Buddhist philosophy is a good way to live.
Brooke J. Clarke
My thought is that thousands of years ago great people spent a lot of time observing the human condition and trying to improve man's life.  They saw that if people had certain ways of thinking about what was happening to them those people suffered and if other people looked at the same things with a different attitude they did not suffer.  This may have been in a practical way such as observing that if people ate the meat of pigs many of those people got sick and died.  Today we know about trichinoses and the need for refrigeration and through cooking, but thousands of years ago they didn't.  In order to get people to not eat pork the great people came up with a religious reason.  I think this was required because most people would not change their habits based on practical observations.  I can remember that when reports started becoming available that smoking caused medical problems, a great many people did not believe that was the case.  Even today, almost 50 years later, there are still people who think that smoking will not hurt them.  By having a religious reason to do or not do something, peoples behavior can be changed in a way that benefits them.

Different religions have different philosophies on how you should live based on their religious beliefs.

A Modest Proposal about Life

Today (1998) there is a large effort to understand the DNA molecule.  This is what determines your genetic make up.  We all know that physical traits are passed from the parents to the children.  A common example of a dominant physical trait is red hair.  If either parent has red hair then all their children will have red hair.  Other physical traits only get passed on depending on other conditions.  There has been research that says that if either or both of the parents have great knowledge in some subject that does not mean that their children will inherit the knowledge. 

What has not yet been addressed, as far as I know, is a more subtle trait.  For example a study, of identical twins that were separated shortly after birth and had not been in contact, showed that they had an amazing amount of commonality in their preferences and behavior.  This was in the area of what jobs they liked, the type of people they choose for their spouse, the way they dressed etc.  I think that your "pre-disposition" in a certain area is genetically based.  It is interesting that the Blues musicians B.B. King and Albert King are brothers.  Another case is that of the Fenwick brothers, both made great contributions to the art of radio. In the case of the Kennedy's (some would argue about their quality) but they both were important in Politics.  I think that many more cases can be found.  This is very similar to the Buddhist idea of Karma.  Some things are going to happen to you because of something that happened in the past.

My wife (and her son) have many behavioral characteristics that are clearly a family trait.  This is very clearly genetically controlled behavior.  Fighting it just causes suffering, better to work with it.

In the Sci-Fi movie  Gattaca only physical traits are discussed, but the behavior traits will also be on the table in the not too distant future.

As a clarification, based on an input from Vikki, I don't think that heredity determines who you are, it is just one of the factors.  As far as I know it is not now considered in a light similar to the concept of karma but I feel it has that effect.  Your environment and free will can make a big difference.

Scientific Method

Some people have argued that science is flawed because "facts" get changed.  For example Newton's Laws were repealed by Einstein.  This is not the case.  When Einstein developed the Special and General Theories of Relativity, he did not in any way refute or discount Newton's Principia. On the contrary, if the astronomically large, the vanishingly small, and the extremely fast are reduced out from Einstein's theories — all phenomena that Newton could not have observed — Newton's equations remain. Einstein's theories are expansions and refinements of Newton's theories, and observations that increase our confidence in them also increase our confidence in Newton's approximations to them.  That's why Netwon's laws are still taught in schools and used in everyday applications.

In the Movie "Men in Black" Tommy Lee Jones has the lines:
"Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew...  the Earth was the center of the universe.  Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat."  The first statment predates the scientific method which was first used around the year 1000 (Wiki Scientific Method).  The second was not a scientific method type of fact.

2018 - In the past few years I've read a lot of books by Karl Popper on the epistemology of science and think he has got it correct.  see How Science Works

Human Gnome Project -

"Begun in 1990, the U.S. Human Genome Project is a 15 year effort coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health to Identify all the estimated 80,000 genes in human DNA, Determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical bases that make up human DNA, store this information in databases, and develop tools for data analysis.  To help achieve these goals, researchers also are studying the genetic makeup of several non human organisms. These include the common human gut bacterium Escherichia coli, the fruit fly, and the laboratory mouse.  A unique aspect of the U.S. Human Genome Project is that it is the first large scientific undertaking to address the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that may arise from the project."

Booke's Note:  this project is just to identify the sequences, I don't think they are looking at what the sequences actually do.

Gene Expression -
Also see Diet & Nutrition, Reality and Belief.


The way this is taught in schools can be a very boring .  But when revolutionary concepts in economics are understood they can have a profound impact on your life.  This is the case for me with both the "Two Factor Theory of Economics" and "New Economics".

Two Factor Theory of Economics

Many people in the U.S. have been taught the Puritan Ethic or more properly said - cursed with the Puritan Ethic.  It says that if you work hard you will be rewarded.  This idea is what is called a single or one factor of economics viewpoint and is not correct.  In the U.S. and most other countries there are two ways of making money, they are:
(1) Labor - Labor is clear, you work for someone and get paid in proportion to your value to them.
(2) Capital - If you invest capital (money) somewhere then you can get a return on your capital.

This idea was published by Louis O. Kelso (Wiki) in a book Two-Factor Theory: The Economics of Reality/How to Turn 80 Million Workers into Capitalists...Louis O. Kelso and Patricia Hatter. 1967 Published by __________ Lib of Congress #___________ Pub date _________, Link---- (I think I have a copy, but it is hiding amongst many other books)  He also wrote The Capitalist Manifesto and other books on economic topics.  Many companies have an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) which came directly from his efforts. Democracy and Economic Power : Extending the Esop Revolution Through Binary Economics is another of his books.

The classic example is the case where we set up two moving companies each with one employee, one with a modern 18 wheel tractor trailer rig and the other with a horse and buggy.  After one year we come back and ask: Which company made the most money and Which person worked the hardest?   It is clear that the modern truck allowed it's operator to make more money than the horse and buggy moving company and at the same time the operator worked less and in the comfort of an air conditioned cab.  The reason is the capital invested in the truck.

So the idea is rather than working hard, just work smart and invest you disposable income and spend your extra time managing your investments rather than trying to get a promotion.  There is no limit on your investment income but there are very real limits on your income if it is from working for someone else.

New Economics

Oct. 2002 - in retrospect the stock market was at it's peak when the New Economics information was written.  I still think it is an important factor but would not account for overpriced stocks.
Starting in the late 1990's the P/E ratios of some stocks seemed to be extremely high.  The classical stock valuation methods like "value line" would say that a P/E of 14 was reasonable but many stocks had/have P/E ratios into 3 digits!

I discovered this "New Economics" concept while web surfing at "The Motley Fool" web page: "Can't You See The Assets?". - "Accounting is broken, Lev says. The 500-year-old system developed by Pacioli Luca misses some of the most valuable and compelling aspects of a business today. ....Accounting, in other words, no longer delivers accountability."  This led to . .

Fast Company site "New Math for a New Economy". - "Look at the Standard & Poor's 500 -- 500 of the largest companies in the United States, many of which are not in high-tech industries. The market-to-book ratio of these companies -- that is, the ratio between the market value of these companies and the net-asset value of the company (the number that appears on the balance sheet ) -- is now greater than six. What this means is that the balance-sheet number -- which is what traditional accounting measures -- represents only 10% to 15% of the value of these companies."
Intangible Assets Plus Hard Numbers Equals Soft Finance - a similar article, but they are beating around the bush.
Financial accounting Standards Board - Edmund Jenkins is COB and did study for American Institute of CPAs titled:
"Improving Business Reporting—A Customer Focus (a.k.a. The Jenkins Report)"  is on line under the sidebar "pubs". For me this report also is beating around the bush, it does not get to the heart of the matter as Lev does.

Baruch Lev - Professor of Accounting and Finance at New York University has done a lot of research in this area and the two articles above are from his work.  His web site is a gold mine of information!
10/20/2000 Brookings report on Intangibles.doc  -

The current GAAP practice of expensing R&D is quite wrong.  There are many other intangibles that should be accounted for so that investors and even more importantly managers will have the information they need to make go/no-go decisions.

Elizabeth A. Demers - was a co author on some of these New Economics papers.

In 2012 I ran for the US House of Representatives and as part of that studied a number of issues.  The economy was one of them.  It turns out that Modern Monetary Theory is the best explanation of how the economy of a country works. 

Free to Choose : A Personal Statement

This book by Milton & Rose Friedman is very good at explaining who spends for whom: The efficiency of the result in the above cases is very different.  When you spend your own money for yourself the efficiency is high because you have to live with the result.  In the case of government spending someone else's money on others the efficiency is very poor because what difference does it make to them.

Eat the Rich

This book by P. J. O'Rourke looks at the economics of some Cities and comments on what is right and wrong with them.  He misses two factor theory but clearly sees capitalism.

Modern Monetary Theory (Wiki)

I learned about MMT around 2012 and as of 2021 think it's the best framework to view the federal economy.

Freedom of Choice (Title?)

An interesting concept about the relation between economics and politics is that a politician's first priority is to get re-elected so he tends to vote for bills that move money into his district rather than what is good for the country.  Another is that voters are very good at voting on any measure that effects their own personal economic situation but very poor on voting for all other things (like who will be president).

Allergies -> Antibiotics -> Lactose Intolerance -> Hemorrhoids -> All is well

When I was young our house was on a 1/4 acre parcel and our block of houses was surrounded by apricot, prune and strawberry fields.  I now know that I had allergies, but at the time all I know was that I got a lot of sore throats and then a lot of antibiotics.  Later as an adult I had a very bad case of pneumonia and got a whopping dose of antibiotics.  I had the runs more than others, like after eating at a nice restaurant, but the others did not have any "food poisoning".  I developed hemorrhoids and the doctor that removed them said that one of the causes of hemorrhoids was a lot of the runs and that could be caused by Lactose intolerance.  I did a test and ate a few grilled cheese sandwiches, which I had stopped eating because they upset my stomach and .... sure enough a couple of hours later .... you guessed it. (See the movie "French Kiss and listen to Meg Ryan's line on this topic.)

I was also seeing a doctor for my allergies to get shots and prescriptions for Seldane.  I asked him what could be done for Lactose intolerance and found out that it is caused by the lack of helpful bacteria in your body.  These bacteria can be killed by antibiotics.  The solution is to go to your pharmacy and ask for "Lactobacillus Tablets".  They do not require a prescription, but you will never find them by looking around because they need to be kept in the refrigerator.  Another source for restarting the helpful bacteria is a health food store.  Tell them you are taking antibiotics and they will recommend a product like "BioFlora" that is kept in the refrigerator.  It contains: Bifidobacterium Longum, Bifidobacterium Bifidum, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, FOS (fructooligosacchrides) and Champigon Mushroom.  The directions are on the bottle.  Note that this is a real cure not just a treatment of symptoms.

To get rid of the allergies I used a Chinese herbal "green pill" (Pe Min Kan Wan) and took them four times a day for a month.   The plastic bottle that holds the pills comes in a box that is about 2 1/2" high and just over 1 1/2" square.  The label is green with white Chinese characters.  There are two small characters on the top and four larger ones on the bottom.  I will try to get a translation of the label. I used a dozen bottles (they also come packaged that way). Ingredients:
Cang er zi:  Cocklebur
huo xiang : Agastache
Xin Yi hua: Magnolia
ju hua:  Chrysanthemum
jin yin hua Honeysuckle
bai zhi:  Angelica (root)
I tried other Chinese herbal allergy remedies and this one worked.  You may need to try the others if this one doesn't work for you.

Another product that offers a cure is "beano" to build up the bacteria that help digest beans.  This helps prevent things like the camp fire scene in the movie Blazing Saddles.  Note that AkPharma Inc. that makes beano also makes Lactaid which is an enzyme that helps digest lactose but is only works when it is taken.  That is to say it is treating symptoms and is not a cure.

Seath Speaks or "Be Careful What You Want ......... You May Get It"

For about a year I went to meetings where the Seath Speaks idea was discussed by a very perceptive Chinese man.  By paying attention to where people sat, their posture, clothes, etc. he could tell a lot about a person, not by magic, just perception.  He had translated the book "Seth Speaks" by Jane Roberts, Bantam Books, 1972, ISBN 0-553-25592-4 into Chinese.  Almost all of the participants were Chinese but often they would speak English so that I could follow.  The idea was that your mind was very powerful and you could accomplish anything if you had a strong enough desire for it.  Also in many cases if you know the essence of what you want you may already have it!

Another aspect of this class that amazed many of the participants, including myself, was that I understood a lot about what people were talking about and yet I did not understand a word of what they were saying.  On a number of occasions someone new would come to the group who did not speak English or wanted to speak Mandarin because they were much more comfortable with it.  They would tell the host a story which where I could not understand any words.  Later they would ask me what was going on, and I was able to tell them based on non verbal communication.  You may have heard that only 20% of communication is in the language, well I think this is really the case.

In one of my photography classes, taught by a photographer (Wickers?) that had worked for Hiller Helicopters, I learned not only photography but philosophy.  I liked this very much but some of the other students did not appreciate the philosophy.  He taught us "Be careful what you want ... you may get it."  I found this to be true in my life.  If I really wanted anything I would end up with it.

If you have Kaiser Medical Insurance Read This

When I had Kaiser Medical Insurance I heard that it was their policy to set up an annual budget to be used for diagnosing what was wrong with patients.  At the end of the year any money left over was distributed to the doctors as a bonus.  In my opinion this is a conflict of interest. Now for some facts:

I Survived Terminal Lung Cancer

I was feeling very weak and sick and went toKaiser in Santa Clara.  They ran a number of tests including a chest X-ray.  I was so weak that I was using a wheel chair.  When the doctor was going to tell me what he found I asked him to tell my wife because I could not remember all the details of what pill to take when and how many times and how many pills....
After I went home my wife treated my very well and gave me the pills and any food that I wanted.  After a week or so she told me what the Kaiser Doctor had told her...I had terminal lung cancer and there was nothing that Kaiser could do for me, so I should go home to die.   As you know I am not dead.  The doctor did not properly diagnose that I had a bad case of pneumonia.

My father in law passed a Kaiser medical examination and in two days had a massive heart failure

We received a call from my in-laws saying that my father in law was having very bad chest pains.  We knew at this time that Kaiser was on the flaky side and since they had Kaiser medical insurance we told them to have an ambulance deliver him to El Camino hospital in Mountain View at our expense.  They found his heart to need a pacemaker and installed it.  The doctor at El Camino said that anyone who listened to his heart two days ago could not help but to hear the problem.

Butcher Bob gets a job at Kaiser

A good friend of mine worked at a large company that had a company doctor.  It turns out that this particular doctor was called Butcher Bob (I have changed the name).  While my friend worked there, every now and then, there would be a Butcher Bob story.  One day while I was at Kaiser in Santa Clara I discovered that Butcher Bob now worked there.

San Jose Mercury Runs a Week long feature on Kaiser

The San Jose Mercury ran a series of articles describing all kinds of malpractice problems at Kaiser.  I still remember the one about the women that went to have her baby.  Kaiser strapped her to a table, gave her some drugs and then the doctors and nurses left her.  Her baby came out and onto the floor.  Kaiser is self insured for malpractice and when you join them you must agree to binding arbitration.  You can not sue Kaiser for malpractice.

Sister in Law sent to Stanford for Surgery

My sister in-law was with Kaiser and had a major medical problem and Kaiser sent her to Stanford for surgery.  It was an easy diagnoses.


If you are with Kaiser and have a problem, go to a private doctor for diagnoses.  Get a written statement form the doctor and take it to Kaiser.

If Kaiser (or any doctor) gives you a diagnoses that is negative, GET A SECOND OPINION.

Merck Manuals

One of the books my mother had (for some time she worked as a nurse) was the Merck Manual.  In it all kinds of problems are described with symptoms and treatments.  The tricky part is you seem to have whatever problem you are reading about, but you can figure out a lot.

Geodesic Domes

These were invented by Buckminster Fuller.  There are a number of books on this subject, but the key to understanding his domes is the original patent.  The idea is to have the joints be on (or near) the surface of a sphere.
Geodesic Domes "Structures and Homes" -
Patents -
DOME magazine -
Buckminster Fuller Institute - Patents -


Patents tend to have information that you will not find in books, I currently don't know why this is, but so far I find it to be true.  There may be a reluctance on the part of authors to write about patented ideas or maybe they just don't know about them.  Most patented ideas are not discussed outside of the patent so remain hidden from most people.

The free U.S. Government Patent Office has the older patents on line ( Expired Patents  means within the active time, but not renewed by owner, not the same as old patent) on their Search page.  There are a lot of important ideas in these that should be accessible like Fuller's original dome patent.  Derwent also has patent searching.


This is how I find patents.
Update Nov 2007 -  There are now two approaches that can be used by going back and forth adding a tremendous amount of search power.


The USPTO Classification Resources web page is a way to see the meaning of class and sub-class numbers. 

Definitions: CPC: Cooperative Patent Classification, USPC: United States Patent Classification.  Since my searches are pretty much for long expired patents I use the older USPC system.  That's the classification system shown on old patents.

For example if you're interested in Locks then on the resources web page in the "Classification Text Search" box at the right check "All USPC", enter "Lock" in the search box and click SEARCH.   The third result is "Class Schedule for Class 70 Locks (a concise indented list of all the sub classes with the ability to select the expansion level) and the forth result is Class Definition for Class 70 Locks (a lot of words to help understanding).

Invention Secrecy Act of 1954 (Wiki )

Also see Born Secret (Wiki) and Classified information in the United States (Wiki).
I've seen that patents going back way before W.W. II were not published until many decades later.  There may be cases going back to W.W. I.


If you're trying to find the first patent for something, for example Flashlight, and you search on that word you will not find it.  That's because before it was invented there probably was no word for it.  For maybe the first 100 years the patent titles were very unimaginative and typically the vast majority of patents in a sub class or group of sub classes all had the same title.

Google patents uses Optical Character Recognition (Wiki:OCR) but it is far from perfect.  There's also the problem of how names are handled at different times for example: Last, First Middle or First Middle Last, so the same inventor may be listed a number of ways.  Also the layout of a patent has changed over time so Google may confuse the inventor's name and the title.

USPTO patent searches (2021)

Patent Number

The result page will be the entry page for a single patent. A common use I make of this search is to get the Current U.S. Class number for a patent which is on this page.
Note:  In order to see an Image you must have a .tif viewer in your browser.  Using the .tif images is awkward since you must view one page at a time unlike the Google .pdf version where you can rapidly scroll the whole document.


Allows searching in one or two fields from a drop down list of fields that has about four dozen entries. I mostly use one term and the Current US Classification.
I also change the Select years drop down to 1790 to present [entire database].

If the quick search results in a list of patents the "Refine Search" field will show you the advanced search text. For example searching for:
Term 1: 70/286 Current US Classification, Term 2: (black), Select years 1790 to present gives: Refine Search [CLL/70/286] i.e. the advanced text for this search.


The Query box is just plain white and you need to enter text that defines you search.  For example:
PN/1398642 -> 00 patents when Select Years is set to 1976 to present [full text], but goes to the top page of patent 1398642 when Select Years is set to 1790 to present [entire database].

ISD/01/07/1964 ANDNOT APD/01/07/1944->01/07/1964 - Issue Date Jan 7, 1964 (Tuesday) ANDNOT Application date is

Old Method = USPTO Only

Note the older patents are on line only in image form.  You need to have a TIFF viewer (there is a web page explaining how to get a free viewer) to see them.  The older patents can only be accessed by either their patent number or by the primary class/sub class number.  NOT by date, title, inventor etc.

Some of the image only patents have references to other patent numbers.  These typically appear on the first page of specifications, the last page, or occasionally in the description of prior art.

New Method = Google Patents

Google has in beta form a patent search based on the same Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that they are using to scan books where the copyright has expired.  The very good news is that you can search on every character in the patent, i.e. it includes names, dates, everything.  The bad news is that it's got bugs.  The common problems are the classical grabling of letters when the source document is of poor quality and a format problem.  For example if the inventor's name is at the top of the page above the real title the name and title get partially merged so neither is correct.  This means the advanced search often fails because the OCR is not good at knowing who the inventor, or asignee really is.  Current class numbers is another area where Google is very weak.  Also poor on date range searching.  All these are related to the quality of the OCR and not being smart about patent layout formats.  BUT being able to search the complete document is very powerful like in the plain Google Patent search.

The method is to use the plain Google patent search for some key words (which can be in any order) and then use the link to sort the result in date order.  This can give you a toe hold in the form of a class number which can then be used at USPTO where it can be combined with a date or date range.  You can also use Google Advanced Patent Search where the most powerful searches are at the top in the blue filed:
with all of the words
All the words in any order is good for a list of unconnected words.
with the exact phrase
Here the order of the words is important so is good for dates and names
with at least one of the words
This is good when you don't know the word that may be used, for example it might be Flashlight, Flash Light, Lamp, Lantern, Candle, illumination
without the words
This is good to get rid of a similar series of patents that have some common key word that can get them out of the search results
The search boxes in the white area are of the "contains" type.  So if you enter just one word if that word appears in that catagory you get a hit, but if the OCR messes up on the catagory you will not get a hit.  Worth a try, just keep in mind it may be missing things.

My Patent Pages

In the past I have used commas in the patent numbers on my web pages, but find that search engines think all commas are item separators and don't find the patent numbers. As of Feb 2006 all commas have been removed from patent numbers so hopefully search engines will work and the links have been updated to the stable format.  If  you cut and paste a URL to any USPTO patent that link will become bad in the future becuase it's based on a list points to a search result.

Not all patentable ideas are actually patented.  For example TRW made any inventions into "trade secrets".  Anyone working at TRW signed an agreement not to disclose their "trade secrets".  This was good for TRW in that they were not publishing their capabilities.  The formula for Coca Cola is handled as a trade secret rather than a patent.  The problem comes after these companies go out of business and the information is lost.  If someone else "invents" what has already been made a "trade secret" then the person with the trade secret has no liability to the patent holder since then can show dates when their idea came about.  But the "trade secret" holder can not go after the patent holder unless they can show that one of their employees gave away the secret.

Also it's my understanding that the U.S. government can use any patented technology if they are the end user.  For example if a company is bidding on a contract where the end user (probably not the buyer) is the U.S. government they can use their competitors patented technology for that contract.  So a defense contractor, like TRW, has a big advantage in keeping trade secrets rather than getting patents.

I agree with the case that Don Lancaster has made against getting a patent.  I have heard that the U.S. is divided up into patent districts and the district for the central U.S. has NEVER found for the patent holder in any disputed case.  Only recently has the Eastern court found for Polaroid over Kodak for making instant cameras.  In the case of the individual that patented the windshield wiper delay idea that the cost of bringing the lawsuits used up all the money won.

US Patent No./Date Reference Table - this is a great help when looking for pre 1976 patents.
Table of Issue Years and Patent Numbers, for Selected Document Types Issued Since 1836 
Fringe Patents -
National Inventors Hall of Fame -
UK Patent Office -
Japanese Patent Office - Other Patent Offices are listed, but this is a frames page so no links here
Trilateral Database  - search EPO, JPO or USPTO databases from a common starting point
European Patent Office - Patent information on the Internet - another URL - Countries & years for images -
MicroPatent USA - searching for a fee
Patent Fetcher high speed site - Free Public Site - they generate a pdf version which you then download limited use
FreePatentsOnline - may have better search for older patents, have not yet tested
Fresh Patents - service to track patent applications
Patent Storm - on line search service
freePat™ for Windows - Windows program downloads patent as a pdf file
Patent to pdf - Commercial site   Free site - download a USPTO patent in pdf format unlimited use
DEPATISnet - German Search engine - has English interface and patents are in their native language
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) -
The Delphion IP Network (formerly IBM Patent server) has current patents with a lot of on line info.  This was originally the IBM patent data base and has now been commercialized.  No longer user friendly and now charges a fee.

My Patent Pages

[date links changed to stable format & commas removed)
Automatic Astro Compass [17 July 2006] top of page pat dwg
Battpat Battery Patents
Cryptographic [ 10 Nov 2005]
Disiplined Oscillators and Time & Frequency related [21 Dec 2005]
Crystal Temperature Compensation [21 Dec 2005]
Faradic and other quack devices like Violet Ray
FCP Frequency Counter Patents
Fluxgate (& other) Magnetic Sensors [ 14 Feb 2005]
Flashlights - created 2007 with photos of may patented flashlights
GPS [8 Sep 2005]
IntrusionAlarmPatent - Intrusion Alarm Patents
Leclanché Battery [9 Feb 2005]
Leroy Lettering [12 Aug 2006]
Loran Navigation [30 Dec 2006]
Microwave Test Equipment - [21 Dec 2005]
RF & Microwave Power Sensor Patents [27 July 2006]
Music [19 Dec 2005]- synthesizers
Pendulums Pendulum Patents
PSPatent RF & Microwave Power Sensor Patents
Sensors [ 28 May 2005]- has some patents on the page
Stellar Timekeeping (satellite navigation) [17 July 2006]
StkTckPat Stock Ticker Patents
Sundials [19 Dec 2005 & added dozens more]
Surveying [21 Dec 2005]
Telephone [ 10 Feb 2005]
ttw_pat Tilting Three Wheeler Patents
Vibrators - massage type
VoiceX Voice Scrambling US Patents
Xtc Crystal Temperature compensation Patents

Formerly Secret Patents - These are patents that were held for many years instead of being granted in the normal manner.  Typically because of government military security.

Wiki List of Patents -


8 Sep 2004 - After doing a search when you click on a link to a patent the URL is NOT for the patent, but rather is pointing to one of the patents in the list of results.  If this URL is saved and later clicked, then a new search is run and whatever patent is in the same list position will be displayed, so if the list changes most linkey a different patent will be displayed.  Because of this most of the links to patents on my web pages were broken but have been repaired as of Feb 2006. 
Operational Notices and Status - This web page explains about the unstable URLs you get at USPTO.  Apparently they have multiple servers and so can not simply provide a stable URL when you are viewing a patent.  You need to manually force the URL to look like:
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=5123456  where the patent number is at the end.

Brain Function: Myers-Briggs, Multiple (seven) Intelligence Theory, Left-Right Brain

All of these have to do with how the brain is perceived to operate.
UNO - Learning Theories -
Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD) - Theories On Brain-Based Learning -
Jung Typology Test - based on the Jung - Myers-Briggs typological approach to personality


This seems to indicate that for marriage people should have similar personality types.  A common goal is also very desirable so that the both people are heading in the same direction.
Gifts Differing : Understanding Personality Type by Isabel Briggs Myers -
Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence by David W. Keirsey,
A Summary of Personality Typing (FAQ)-
Keirsey Temperament and Character Web Site - many sub pages & test
Keirsey Temperament Sorter - on the tests web page
What is your Myers-Briggs Personality Type? - on line simple test with links for the different 4 letter groups

Multiple (seven) Intelligence Theory (MI)

I did some teaching and could see many of these in action.  This required some unconventional teaching methods that in my opinion worked very well for those students that were not intelligent in the classical reading and hearing modes.
Multiple Intelligence's : The Theory in Practice by Howard E. Gardner - Wiki -
HOWARD GARDNER  Multiple Intelligence Theory Proponent - a basic intro to the idea
Developing Higher Order Thinking Skills and Multiple Intelligence's -
UNO - Multiple Intelligence's -Comparative Links -
Odyssey of the Mind - a great program for school children to learn many things in a project environment
Rube Goldberg - another program for school children, a web search on his name will turn up over 1,000 web hits

Left-Right Brain

I took a test at work and found it very difficult to choose the answers to the questions.  I didn't know what was being tested and complained that the test was not very good.  Others that took the test had no problem choosing their answers because they were either left or right brained.  People with balance tend to see both sides of a question and have a harder time making decisions but make good decisions.
Left Brain, Right Brain : Perspective from Cognitive Neuroscience by Sally P. Springer -
UNO- Right Brain/Left Brain Thinking -
Left and Right Sides of the Brain - one page with a number of different takes on this
Neuroscience for Kids - 1--One Brain...or Two?--2 - excellent site for ALL ages -
Pandora - Left Brain/Right Brain Ask yourself: - Pandora also has a bunch of pseudo science stuff  

Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

Your IQ is your mental age divided by your physical age expressed as a percent.  If they are both the same (which is the usual case) then your IQ would be 100.  If your mental age was twice your physical age then your IQ would be 200.  If a 20 year old man has an IQ of 150 then his mental age is 30.  Another man 40 years old (with an IQ of 100), will know more than the first man.  In many cultures there is a tradition of respecting the elders.  As people get older, if they keep learning, they will know way more than the younger kids.

But . . .  (see MI above) . .  intelligence may be related to the subject area.  Classical education is based on the learning through reading or lecture and if your IQ in this area is high you do well in shcool, but if it's high in another area you will not do that well.  It's not uncommon to hear of high school drop outs doing very well in business, the arts, entertainment, music, etc.

a bunch of online IQ tests -
TEST YOUR IQ!  - Mensa related - they are a group that only accepts high IQ people
Traditional IQ tests - Personality tests on the Web -
Traditional IQ Tests on the WWW -
www.brain.com - free tests to support their products (books, vitamins, etc.)


Amazon.com Search: - Left-Right Brain - Multiple Intelligence's - Myers-Briggs -IQ - this web site has reviews of the books and music CD-ROMS that can give you a pretty good feel what they are about.

AI Web Pages

John Oliver:

Scrambled Words

Mind Bender   Try to read this. I'm sure you can....very interesting.

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.

Reasoning - or What's True & What's Not

An interesting thing is that IQ (see above) is related to how much knowledge you have acquired and is really independent of reasoning.  Reasoning has to do with the truth of relationships .  People with high IQ can come to conclusions that are far from logical.

Some Books:
The Demon Haunted World by Sagan - Maybe a couple of times a year a couple of people show up on my doorstep and want me to read their religous publication.  I have offered a trade where they promise to read The Demon Haunted World in exchange, but they seem to have closed minds and will not accept.
Why People Believe Weird Things by Shermer
How we Know What isn't So by Gilovich - the graphs in the early part of the book all seem to be wrong in that they proport to show rapid unending growth, but in fact all of them have an upper limit or cap that will change the slope from steep to flat.
Dumbth by Allen
911 Myths - I found this site by pruning the URL for the paper http://www.911myths.com/WTCREPORT.pdf that has an analysis based on common physics that supports the many of the observed facts surrounding the colapse of the twin towers.  Assumptions are made then tested.
Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit - Based on the book "The Demon Haunted WorldCarl Sagan Productions, Inc. -
Critical Thinking Community - Resources - Library - History of C.T. - Socrates - Readings -
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) -  encourages the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminates factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community and the public. Publishes the Skeptical Inquirer that has on line articles.  There's a Skeptical References section with an alphabetical list of topics.
Australian Skeptics - Links -
Quackwatch - Your Guide to Health Fraud, Quackery, and Intelligent Decisions
Journal of Irreproducible Results - Some articles - more articles - Scholarly articles written by famous scientists, but with wrong & humorous ideas. Subscribe
Annals of Improbable Research - Ig Nobel Prizes -
See my Roswell UFO comments for similar stuff
Darwin Awards - are given, usually posthumously, to the individual(s) who remove themselves from the gene pool in the most spectacular fashion
Virtual Kick in the Pants (VKP) -
James Randi Educational Foundation - If you are or one of your friends is psychic -> apply and collect $1,000,000. Pigasus Awards -
Massimo Polidoro - Ranidi's apprentice
News Group: sci.skeptic -
Skepdic.com - Skeptic's Dictionary
The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science -
Robert L. Park - The Seven Warning Sings of Voodoo Science

Tiny Art

Silicon Zoo - Graphics images hidden in Silicon chips
Silicon Art -

Problems with the Legal System

When you go to court, for whatever purpose, pay attention to what's going on.

Toilet Seat

The L3-L4-L5 disks in my back fused solid it is impossible to properly clean my bottom.  The solution was to install a Magic Clean SB-620 toilet seat.  This required both a plumbing and electrical connection.  Highly recommended for much better cleanliness than can be achieved with toilet paper.

Installation Tip

My house is only a few years old and so had both a GFI outlet in the bathroom and copper plumbing.  The existing shut off valve feeding the toilet had the connecting tube made as part of the valve.  This is an indication that the valve uses a compression connection to a copper pipe that is sticking out from the wall.  In order to remove the compression ring from the pipe coming from the wall to allow installing the new valve with a new compressioon ring requires a trick.

By using a Dremel tool and the narrow cutting wheel (or a hack saw would be much more work) a slot is cut into the ring but not all the way to the copper pipe.  Then a flat blade screwdriver is used to "pop" the ring off of the pipe.  This worked great for my installation and saved the need to buy a special puller that could have also removed the old ring. 


Some info related to the Yamaha DX-7 Synthesizer, mostly music synth patents.


Our local health food store carries WigWam socks.  These are by far the best socks you can buy.  Both very comfortable and long lasting.
Good both summer and winter.

Shoestrings, Tying

When a bad (stiff) back (L3-L4-L5 fusion) it's difficult to bend over to tie shoe strings.  I came up with this lacing method so when sitting in a chair you put one foot on the opposite leg and both shoe strings are on the top side.

It's probably easier for most people this way.

PS Mephisto shoes are very comfortable and extremely long lasting.  They are waterproof.  But not cheap.  Wig Wam socks, see above.
Shoestrings on side of shoe for
                easier tying

Linda's Parisian Burgers

Linda/s Parisian
            Burger & Tater Tots
It was named for Linda Riggs, the daughter of the founders.
Linda's was a one of a kind 1950s style hamburger stand located at the intersection of El Camino and Escuela in Mountain View, CA.  It was one of the hangouts for those who attended Mtn. View High. They served crisp Tater Tots instead of ordinary frys. 
They also had the:
 Parisian Burger
"Two fresh ground beef patties
our own special sauce & cheese
served on a Fisherman's wharf
style sourdough bun."
Painted on front window shown in the 1985 photo.

It was made from two ordinary patties grill fried (not Bar-B-Qued which changes the flavor) with a slice of cheese added and melted.  The key was the sauce.  It contained ketchup and dehydrated onions, and two more ingredients.  I think the sauce was cooked and served heated.   I have found the recipe, but on the condition that I don't publish it or use it commercially.

The steak sandwich was thin steak on a French roll.  I think it too used their special sauce.

Around 1999 there was a Galvin's Bar & Grill a few miles from Linda's location.  It was next to the rail road tracks about a mile from Castro St. and they were serving "Linda's Parisian burgers" and also Tater Tots.  The flavor was the same as the original.  I heard Sam Galvin died and now there are offices in that location. 

2009 - The Armadillo Willy's locations close to Linda's old location have been offering the Parisian Burger maybe as a trial.

I'm sure that when I got one at Galvin's he had the sauce simmering on the stove, and I'm reasonably sure that at Linda's the sauce was on the hot plate (off in a corner that was not that hot), the idea being to serve the sauce hot.

Spivie's Drive in and the Standard Station at Grant and El Camino were related local landmarks.
A Mountain View Century -
A Guide to Mountain View - Downtown Mountan View -

By Kim Boatman  for the Mercury News Article Launched: 01/02/2008 01:51:04 AM PST Home Plates: Secret to Linda's Parisian burger eludes devotees - Linda's-style Parisian burgers Receipe not quite the same as mine, but close
Johnny Mac's Drive-In, Mountain View - What a difference a Half Century Makes, Mountain View Voice
Brooke's Recipes web page.


When a high volume product is in the design phase it's cost of manufacture can be optimized by making the life span of all the parts about the same.  For example if a car were to last 7 years and it had a part that typically would last 20 years then that part could be made less expensive by redesigning it to last 7 years.

When color television sets came out one of the major manufacturers designed the picture tube to last just over 1 year since that was the warranty on the tube.  That way they could sell you a new picture tube.

Back in 1960 the military came out with Handbook 217 that described how to calculate the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) for whatever you were making.  Many military products have specified MTBF numbers so that the system they are in will operate at least as long as a mission time.  Although not all system met that goal.

In satellites reliability is the key parameter, to the point that new technology is avoided because it has not been characterized for MTBF.  When Aertech was selling tunnel diode amplifiers to TRW we had a locked office cabinet with a number of amplifiers running 24/7 and every now and then would need to replace the test equipment that failed, but those amps kept on ticking.

There is the concept of a "single point failure".  It means that if one part fails what happens.  For example if a truck has it's load held on by a single rope and if that rope fails the load is lost.  But if two ropes are used and one fails then the load may not be lost.  In a satellite you go to great lengths so that when one thing fails the satellite keeps on working.


For example my name Brooke Clarke might be Cerebral Kook.
See: FutureBoyAnagram Generator


Eva Vertes looks to the future of medicine - 2005 - Cancer, anti-angiogenic & Alzheimer's, cancer seems to be a direct result of injury, as if cancer is a repair response
William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer? - 2010 - anti-angiogenic

Earthlings 101 by Zogg

Extremely well thought and accurate depiction of Earthlings.

Earthlings 101 Channel Trailer
Mankind: An introduction for aliens (Earthlings 101, Episode 1)
Origins: A brief history of life on earth (Earthlings 101, Episode 2)
Sex: Game changer of evolution (Earthlings 101, Episode 3)
Ethics: What is good and evil? (Earthlings 101, Episode 4)
Imagination: Games, dreams and stories (Earthlings 101, Episode 5)
Aesthetics: What is beauty? (Earthlings 101, Episode 6)
Social Mechanics: Bonding, Gratitude and Karma (Earthlings 101, Episode 7)
Humour: Funny things, laughing, and jokes (Earthlings 101, Episode 8)
Food: Eating, drinking, and cooking (Earthlings 101, Episode 9)
Language: A reef of dead metaphores (Earthlings 101, Episode 10)
Rituals: The gears of society (Earthlings 101, Episode 11)
Vision: How the world gets into the brain (Earthlings 101, Episode 12)

-----These are not Earthlings 101 lessons ------

Basic Saucer Physics (a video response)
    Spinning Disk Trick    
    Spinning Disk Trick Solution
No Edge: The Shape of the Universe. (Part 1: Flat Models)
No Edge 2: The Curvature of the Universe.

Looking for Things

From the Movie Zero Effect (IMBD, Wiki)
Daryl Zero: "Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."


Walter Lewin MIT
8.01 Classical Mechanics - YouTube - Academic Earth
8.03 Electricity & Magnetism - YouTube - Academic Earth
8.03 Vibrations & Waves - YouTube  - Academic Earth
Richard Muller UC - YouTube: Sound Channel

Electric Grid

Electricity (Wiki) is a transport mechanism for moving energy.  Electricity is not a primary source of energy.  I'm saying this because many news articles mistakenly talk about electricity or hydrogen as if they were replacements for fossil fuels (Wiki). 

May 2023 - It occurred to me that wind farms and roof top PV solar are what's called "grid tie" systems that only work when the electrical grid is up and running.  This is different from a classical electric plant that uses a generator in that these classical sources of electricity can do a "black start". (YouTube: What Is A Black Start Of The Power Grid?, 17:05)
The 2021 Texas grid failure (Wiki) had many causes, one of which was local electrical outages shutting down natural gas pumping stations which in turn shut down grid level electrical generating plants.

So when there's a major grid outage wind farms and grid intertie solar will be the last energy sources to be brought on line.

A key point is that in a major electrical outage you can expect the natural gas system to also fail because it's pumping stations depend on electricity.

Electricity is needed in many diverse areas and when the electric grid fails these other areas will shut down unless they have a source of back-up electricity.

YouTube: Furnaces: Why we still burn fuel to heat our homes, 10:02 -  The overall (heater * electric generation) efficiency with gas heating is better than electric heating.  So cities that are banning new gas hookups will cause more CO2.

Electric Cars

2021 October - there's talk at the federal level of promoting electric cars as a climate change solution.  My gut feeling is that it's not a good idea. 

First on a sustainability basis.  In the long term we need all manufactured products to be made to last a long time.  The more waste generated the shorter time humans can survive.

Second there's no CO2 improvement in using electricity instead of gasoline to power a car since the energy must come from somewhere, i.e. from the electrical grid.  The only way there's an lowering of CO2 emissions is if, after taking into account the efficiency of getting the electric power into the battery and the efficiency of converting the electricity into car motion, the electricity is generated in such a way that less CO2 is put into the atmosphere.  If the electricity comes from a coal fired generating plant there's more CO2 than if gasoline was burned.  Nuclear power plants produce no CO2 and so may be a green solution.

Third relates to problems with the electric grid.  Some U.S. facts from 2020:

42 gallons = 1 Barrel
1 Gallon of gasoline = 33.7 kWh (slightly different from the barrel) wt: 6 lbs
1 Barrel = 1,628 kWh (38.7 kWh/Gal)
1 Horsepower = 746 Watts (Wiki)
111,000 Gas stations, around 1 Million jobs
2,946,014,000 Barrels of gasoline used in the U.S. per year
A Tesla Model 3 has a battery capacity of 80 kWh
The U.S. electric grid delivers 4,000 Billion kWh per year.
2.3% of U.S. electricity comes from PV panels.
8.4 % of U.S. electricity comes from wind generators..
Gasoline engine is about 20% efficient (Wiki) update 2022-01-13
Coal fired generation plant is 32% efficient (CRS)
Natural gas turbine plant is 38% efficient (Bright Hub Engineering)

2,946,014,000 B/yr *1628 kWh/B = 4796 Billion kWh/yr  This means the energy now used by gasoline engines is larger than all of the power delivered by the electric grid. Because 80% of the gasoline used to power a vehicle is wasted because of the low efficiency there's a considerable energy savings if the method of generating the electricity for the grid is more efficient.

Charging Batteries (Wiki: Charging Station).
Notice that car charging stations require a HUGE amount of electrical power.
Most modern houses in the U.S. have an electrical meter rated at 240 Volts & 200 Amps (i.e. 48kW).  Older houses have smaller meters.

The following analysis is for charging a totally dead battery to 100% capacity.  If you start with a partial 40% and charge to say 90% the charge time will be half that shown.

A U.S. wall outlet is 120 VAC with a maximum current of 15 Amps, or 1.8 kW (Level 1 AC charger).  The time to charge an 80 kWh battery is (80 kWh/1.8 kW) 44 hours at 100% efficiency, a little longer practically.

A U.S. dryer outlet is 240 VAC with a maximum current of 30 Amps or 7.2 kW (Level 2 AC charger).  The time to charge an 80 kWh battery is (80 kWh/7.2 kW) 11 hours at 100% efficiency, a little longer practically.

A DC Level 1 charger has up to 50 kW capacity and a DC Level 2 charger has more than 50 kW capacity (these are commonly called Level 3 chargers).  A 50 kW charger can charge an 80 kWh battery in 1.6 hours. But almost all homes do not have an electrical service that would support this much power so they are typically in locations where there is 3-phase electricity.  Charging at this level will shorten the battery life and is not as efficient as charging at a lower current since less battery heating will occur at lower charging currents.  Note with Li-Ion batteries there is a very real danger in setting the battery on fire during charging.  That why battery manufacturers suggest charging be done outside in the open.  Charging in a garage may light a house on fire.

Forth is the stability of the electric grid.  If a vehicle battery can be connected to the electric grid via an inverter (Wiki: V2G) then the power in the vehicle's battery helps make the electric grid more stable, but at the cost of loss of car range after the power has been removed.  A typical case might be during the summer when air conditioning is drawing a lot of power in the afternoon so the car's battery is drained and then refilled during the night.  The Tesla wall mounted battery can be used that way, i.e. supplying power when the demand is high and charging at night when demand is low.  But note if a battery is used to feed the grid it also gets recharged from the grid and so does not contribute any net power, actually a small net loss because of inefficiency of the discharge and charge modes.

On the other hand public charging stations consume a lot of power and so might make the peak load on the electric grid higher that it would be otherwise. Thus decreasing grid stability.

2021 October 28 - Less than a week after writing the above this article appeared in the NYT:

Old Power Gear Is Slowing Use of Clean Energy and Electric Cars, By Ivan Penn.  "Consider the following example: If all 330,000 households in San Jose (BC: They have banned natural gas for new construction) gave up using gasoline and natural gas and switched to electric cars, heat pumps and electric water heaters and stoves, the city would use three times as much electricity as it does now, according to Rewiring America, a nonprofit group that advocates grid upgrades and policies to fight climate change."

Rewiring America -Saul Griffith - No Place Like Home: Fighting climate change (and saving money) by electrifying America's households.pdf - missing the upgrades to the total electrical grid needed including generation.

Hi Saul:

After reading this story in today's NYT: "Old Power Gear Is Slowing Use of Clean Energy and Electric Cars"
I found a reference to Rewiring America and have surfed the document on households.

I think you have missed some ideas. 
* Depending on what you include in "renewable energy sources" the US electrical grid now gets around 10% from them.  At some % renewable the grid will become unstable.  By that I mean, the renewable energy will fall below the demand and there will be blackouts.  This will not happen if conventional power plants are kept on line or "peaking plants" are used.  The answer to this is adding some way to store energy, and as far as I know there's no known way to do this at grid scale.

* A back of the envelope calculation shows that if all gasoline use is converted to electricity then the size of the US electrical grid needs to more than double.  The referenced NYT article says that if Gasoline and natural gas are converted to electricity the size of the US grid will need to triple.  By size I do not mean just transmission and distribution, but also generation.  The energy needs to come from somewhere.  Nuclear seems to be the only way to do that.  The above NYT article mentions a house in Portola Valley where the owners installed a 30kW grid tie solar system and PG&E will not allow them to connect it because the local distribution system can not handle the power. Tesla "Super Chargers" require energy that's around half a dozen houses.  So that peak load means the grid will need to be even more robust that the 2X or 3X would suggest in order to handle those peak loads.

* You might want to look into Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) which may be very beneficial in terms of funding a modern electrical grid.  While MMT may make funding much easier, it also points out that provisioning will be the problem.  If you just fund the electrification then the money will compete with other things causing inflation.

PS I have a Polaris Ranger EV and it's been retrofitted with solar panels.  I'm in Northern California so for most of the year the panels top up the battery and are the only source of energy for my weekly use moving garbage cans.  I expect to need to plug it in around winter Solstice.

electrify america - a charging business for EVs.

Too Many Eggs in One Basket

The below articles point out another problem.  Currently I drive my gasoline powered car to a local gas station that has a backup generator in order to buy gasoline for my backup generator.  If all my vehicles were electric powered and the electric grid goes down for a number of days, like it has a few times in the past couple of years due to both fires and PG&E planned outages, then I would have no transportation and no power for my house.  I would not want to have all electric vehicles.

Where I live the electric grid is far from reliable, not only for the reasons mentioned above but also because PG&E is now doing some maintenance, which requires shutting down my section of the grid for a day at a time.  Also a few times a year a vehicle knocks down a pole.

Electric cars become worthless in an emergency that takes out the electric grid.

Range and Mountains
Electric vehicles have some stated range "over level ground".  That's because the definition of Horse Power (Wiki) has to do with lifting a known weight at a known speed.  When you go up a Hill the faster you go and the heavier your vehicle to more horsepower it takes.  So the range of an EV on mountain roads is much much shorter than on level ground.

Washington Post - Will Englund:

Where electric cars could help save coal: In states like North Dakota, giving up gasoline might not mean giving up fossil fuels -

Longer, more frequent outages afflict the U.S. power grid as states fail to prepare for climate change: State officials are reluctant to ask ratepayers to foot the bill for investments experts say are needed to fortify the grid against increasingly severe weather -

Plug-in cars are the future. The grid isn’t ready: By 2035, the chief automakers will have turned away from the internal combustion engine. It’ll be up to the grid to fuel all those new cars, trucks and buses. -

YouTube: Naturgy: "The energy transition and natural gas" with Vaclav Smil (Wiki, Amazon, YouTube) - "scale matters".
Policy-Relevant Science & Technology: Energy Systems : Transition & Innovation | Vaclav Smil - @11:34 - there is no electric car.  It depends on where it gets it's energy.  An electric car in china is a coal car.
The University of British Columbia: Vaclav Smil - Drivers of environmental change: focus on energy transitions, 1:29:24 -
@1:14 "... Qualitative approach is alright in emotional terms, qualitative approach is not enough to understand how things work, how machines there and how nature takes you need numbers.  You need lots of numbers and you don't need at the same time numbers as such.  You need the right orders of magnitude to begin with..."
@21:00 on home construction, HRV (Wiki: Heat Recovery Ventilation)

Heat of Combustion Tables (Wiki) from damp Peat (6MJ/kg) to Wood (22MJ/kg) to Coal (32MJ/kg) to Kerosene aka JP4 (46MJ/kg).

California Office of Emergency Services: YouTube: FIRESCOPE Lithium-Ion Battery Awareness Training, 15:33 -
There have been a number of aircraft related Li battery fires, some of which brought down planes.  Submarines flat out ban Li batteries on board.  Many older submarines have sunk because of lead acid battery problems.

Grid Scale Energy Storage

I had the idea that looking for grid scale energy storage that will allow renewable energy sources, like PV solar or wind, to power the electric grid on a massive scale is not going to happen in the short term.  I's similar to the idea that using rockets to launch anything into space can not work.  That was the thinking of top scientists world wide in the 1930s and 1940s.  The reason was that the useful payload was a tiny fraction of the overall weight of the rocket.  That's to say it would be extremely expensive to put anything into space.

This implies that it may make sense to use grid scale renewable energy sources in what appear today to be inefficient ways.  For example to generate hydrogen or clean water. This could be done now, not waiting for a viable grid scale energy storage system.  That way renewable energy would be used to do something useful and would bring down the cost of those systems.

It may be a good idea to use Hydrogen for energy storage even though it is not as efficient as other methods.  This is because there are no byproducts like with batteries or most other chemical reactions.  See the video about Li battery fires above.  Even if a Li battery does not catch fire, at some point it will be dead, then what.  The existing curbside recycling (blue and green waste bins) has proven to be ineffective, yet we still pay for it.  A Li battery recycling program will be even less effective.  Something like Hydrogen or compressed air may be a sustainable way to store energy at grid scale.

Nuclear Reactors

Convert Uranium into weapons grade Plutonium

Nuclear fission reactors (Wiki) work be breaking apart heavy atoms like U235 into lighter atoms.

The first generation nuclear reactors were designed to make Weapons Grade Plutonium (Wiki) which was needed for the Fat Man bomb (Wiki) and the reactors were located at the Hanford Site (Wiki).  These are water cooled reactors.  Notre that they were not then used for power generation.

2708656 Neutronic reactor, Fermi Enrico (Wiki) Szilard Leo (Wiki), App: 1944-12-19, W.W. II, Pub: 1955-05-17, - Concerned with such criteria for operativeness of a reactor as purity and amount of the fissionable material, purity and amount of the moderator, and the exact mode or manner of disposition of the fissionable material in the moderator to produce a chain reaction. (description from patent 2890158)  The Chicago Pile (Wiki) generated about half a watt.  This is THE foundational patent on nuclear reactors.

2890158 Neutronic reactor, Leo A Ohlinger, Eugene P Wigner (Wiki), Alvin M Weinberg (Wiki), Gale J Young (Wiki), App: 1944-12-19, W.W.II, Pub: 1959-06-09, - "...concerned with the unloading and loading of a liquid cooled neutronic reactor particularly after it has operated for a substantial period of time."

Molten Salt Reactor

The Molten Salt Reactor (Wiki) is a different way to generate heat like used in power plants.  An early test was the Aircraft Reactor Experiment (Wiki) in 1954 where the idea was to use it to power a bomber.

2743225 Reactor, Leo A Ohlinger, Eugene P Wigner, Gale J Young, Alvin M Weinberg, App: 1946-08-27, W.W.II, Pub: 1956-04-24, - "An object of the invention is to provide a system of the above described type wherein the moderator liquid is subjected to pressure, thereby permitting higher temperatures without boiling and also facilitating emergency draining of the liquid through a dump valve under emergency conditions wherein it is desired quickly to stop the reaction. It will be understood that boiling of the liquid moderator reduces the density thereof and thus increases the critical size of the reactor or, in other words, reduces the neutron reproduction ratio thereof, an undesirable condition which is preferably avoided by operating the reactor at temperatures lower than the boiling point of the liquid moderator." uses Thorium
3105804 Nuclear reactors, Cottrell Alan Howard, Thompson Michael Warwick, UK Atomic Energy Authority, 1963-10-01 - to counter Wigner effect (Wiki) in graphite moderators. Not Molten salt reactor related.
4045286 Molten fuel-salt reactor, Jacques Marcel Blum, Michel Grenon, Edmond Ventre, Electricite de France, 1977-08-30, -

Enriched Uranium

Enriched Uranium (Wiki) is used in nuclear reactors and in atomic bombs (Wiki).  Note that a the Little Boy (Wiki) atomic bomb was a gun-type fission weapon (Wiki) based on U235 developed after it was figured out that the Thin Man (Wiki) gun-type fission weapon based on Pu94 (Wiki) would have contamination with Pu240 (Wiki) which would make it subject to predetonation.  So the Thin Man project was cancelled.

Oak Ridge in Tennessee was where Uranium enrichment was done. The liquid thermal diffusion (Thermophoresis, (S-50 Project) was the first step.  Followed by Gaseous diffusion (Wiki) at the K- series of plants starting with K-25 (Wiki) at Clinton Engineer Works (Wiki).  a more modern version of this is the Gas Centrifuge (Wiki) based on  uranium hexafluoride (UF6). Also see Stuxnet computer virus (Wiki) used to attack centrifuges in Iran.  Then Calutrons (Wiki, CALifornia University CycloTRON) at the Y-12 plant (Wiki) further refined the Uranium.  Since copper was is very short supply during W.W.II they borrowed 12,300 tons of coinage silver from the US Treasury to wind the electromagnets for the mass spectrometer. (Wiki).  At the end of the war the silver was returned with a loss of about 0.036%.

National Park - YouTube: History of Oak Ridge, 5:59 -

2551815 Multiple-effect centrifugation process and apparatus, Helmut W Schulz, App: 1942-09-25, Top Secret, Pub: 1951-05-08, - cited by 19 - no external coils, but heater at bottom
2736811 Calutron receiver, Harold F Weaver, Chester M Van Atta, AEC, App: 1946-06-28, TOP SECRET, Pub: 1956-02-28, - these guys worked on the Mk 25 sea mine.
3955757 Ultracentrifuge for separating fluid mixtures, Ralph A. Lowry, ERDA, App: 1960-09-28, Top Secret, Pub: 1976-05-11, - 192,000 RPM, external cooling coils,

Stuxnet: The Cyber Weapon That Destroyed Iran's Nuclear Program, 24:15 -

W56 warhead for Minuteman

                  atomic bomb warhead for Minuteman - thermonuclear
                  warhead - Hydrogen bomb
In the YouTube: 1964 Vale, S.D. Minuteman Missile Accident, 16:51 - @4:50 is a cutaway photo of the W56 (Wiki).


Ref: Has the US been flying black triangle UFOs since DESERT STORM?!, 27:04 -
The War Zone: The Secretive Inventor Of The Navy’s Bizarre ‘UFO Patents’ Finally Talks, Bret Tingley interviewing Carl Willis about Dr. Salvatore Pais, Oct 2020 -
The "Beast of Kandahar" turned out to be the RQ-170 (Wiki).
LA Times: Next Secret Weapon: The Stealth Blimp : Aerospace: Low cost, unmanned and invisible to radar, it is being developed under an Army contract for guerrilla surveillance. John Medearis, Feb 27, 1990 -

2949550 Electrokinetic apparatus, Brown Thomas Townsend, Whitehall Rand Inc, 1960-08-16, - electrostatic motor
20060145019A1 Triangular spacecraft, John St. Clair (many quack sounding patents), 2006-07-06, -
20180047462 Encapsulating Magnetic Fields for Plasma Confinement, Thomas John McGuire, Lockheed Martin, 2018-05-01, -
10144532 Craft using an inertial mass reduction device, Salvatore Cezar Pais, Navy, 2018-12-04, -
10322827 High frequency gravitational wave generator, Salvatore Cezar Pais, Navy, 2019-06-18, -
20190295733 Plasma Compression Fusion Device, Salvatore Cezar Pais, Navy,2019-09-26, - The War Zone:Scientist Behind The Navy’s “UFO Patents” Has Now Filed One For A Compact Fusion Reactor

Joe Berg Science Seminars

I was part of a group of about a couple dozen students in the Mountain View school district that got to attend the Joe Berg Science Seminars (Wiki) in the 1956 - 1960 time frame.

One of the demonstrations was how a simple mechanism could stop the spin of a satellite.  Today (20 July 2023) I stumbled on a patent for this exact thing.
4350315 Device to de-spin objects with very high spin, Irvin Pollin, Army, 1982-09-21, - references NASA technical bulletin D-708 which points to:
Analysis of the Dynamic Tests of the Stgreach Yo-Yo De-spin System, Sep 1963 (19630011465.pdf) -
The example had something like bicycle wheel that could be spun and when a central release was pulled the weight would unwind a string and when the weight was exactly on a line through the center of the wheel a pin released the weight and string.  A safety string was supposed to capture the weight, but it broke.  This made clear that the weight moved tangent to the wheel not away from it's center.  This was presented by NASA which has a facility in Mountain View.

Another demonstration was done by passing out a small (1" x 1/2") pieces of filter paper.  Once everyone had the paper we were told to put it in our mouth.  To me it tasted like filter paper, but to a couple of students it must have been a very bitter taste since the spit it out.  The point is not everyone has the same taste buts.

It would be good to revive this idea and emphasize epistemology (Wiki) - see: Reality and Belief

Insects & Light

2024 Jan Nature: Why flying insects gather at artificial light - they use light to know which way is up.


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