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Wednesday, May 24, 2017


At least half the time, and probably much more, I have no idea what I will be writing about when I first sit at my computer.  Sometimes I gaze out hoping to be inspired.  Today, my view was of a rainbow:

I love rainbows.  The colors, the ethereal and ephemeral nature, the virtuality, all embody my life of fantasy today.

I have been accumulating ideas over the past few weeks by cutting out newspaper and magazine articles and jotting down notes.  Thus, over the next few days and weeks I will be addressing the following issues and pathways:
  • Elon Musk has done it again.  He has announced the glass solar roof.  On the one hand, the concept makes sense, for this device will replace any roof material, thus reducing costs for new homes.  On the other, glass is heavy and expensive.  A quarter century ago Iris and Stanford Ovshinsky, who where among my dearest of friends, talked to me about their process whereby photovoltaic material would be deposited on a material that would have strength, but be also flexible so that the finished product could be rolled for shipping as aluminum foil is sold.  This would significantly reduce installation costs for new roof material.  Then, what about organic solar cells, quantum dot PV and mega solar farms?
  • There was a recent article on the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR), featuring CEO Dennis Teranishi.  More than a third of a century ago Paul Yuen, who was then a new dean at the University of Hawaii College of Engineering, and I, fresh from three years as an advisor to U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga in DC, decided to create our own funding agency.  We thought what was lacking was that technology transfer bridge between university research and the marketplace.  Thus came PICHTR to funnel federal, industrial and international funds to undertake monumental sustainable resource programs of value to Hawaii and the Pacific Basin. Incredibly enough, in a six year period we ultimately were able to secure $10 million/year to initiate the pioneering development of open cycle ocean thermal energy conversion and the production of bioethanol from biomass.  These funds also enabled me to travel the world, something I have continued to do even in my 18th year of retirement.
  • The surprising news about salt.  SALT DOESN'T CAUSE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE!!! What?
  • Iceland has drilled a 3-mile deep hole to generate electricity from the earth.  Forty years ago I submitted a proposal to do the same from magma.  Reviewers laughed.
  • When I played tennis in high school, and that was 60 years ago, a can of three tennis balls cost $3.  A three-pack of Wilson balls today costs $1.99!  In 1930 Wilson's cost $1.50/3.  Depending on what economic parameter you use, the value of $1.50 today ranges from $17.30 to $293, which is what three tennis balls should cost today, not $1.99.  What happened?  I'll go back a century and show how home, bread, college and other prices have changed.
For years, Donald Trump railed against wind farms in Scotland, arguing that tall wind turbines would undermine Scotland’s natural beauty. 
The president-elect also happens to own a golf course just north of Aberdeen, near a proposed wind farm off of Scotland’s east coast. He sent over a dozen letters to Scottish officials to voice his opposition to the project. 
But the president-elect’s disdain for wind power goes beyond the disrupted view. 
“The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that,” Trump said during a campaign rally in August. 
After the election, Trump reportedly encouraged British politician Nigel Farage to oppose offshore wind farms in the United Kingdom during a meeting at Trump Tower.

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