Daily Archives: May 2, 2014

Inventing it and patenting it wasn’t enough – Timing is everything

Hi readers:

Jeanne’s uncle Dr. Philip Carlson patented this thing back in the 1960s.  Got himself and it all written up in Popular Mechanics.  So you’d figure when they put it together to serve a need of civilization, quid pro quo, wouldn’t you?

Well, there ain’t.  They’re building it though, and someone’s going to get rich off it in a timely manner.

Brings to mind the story of my ex-wife, Carolyn’s uncle Arthur, who invented the forklift while serving in the Army during WWII.  General Eisenhower visited his mom and dad in Comfort, Texas when he died, but they never saw a penny for the forklift.


The Not-So-Crazy Plan to Build a Colossal Energy Skyscraper In Arizona

The Not-So-Crazy Plan to Build a Colossal Energy Skyscraper In Arizona

This week, a small town near the U.S.-Mexico border gave an unusual company the right to build a 2,250-foot-tower, destined to become the tallest structure in the U.S. The company, Solar Wind Energy Tower Inc, is only three years old. But the idea it’s hocking dates all the way back to the 1960s.

It’s called an “energy tower,” or in the words of Forbes, an “energy skyscraper:” A massively tall hollow concrete structure situated in a warm, arid climate. The sun’s rays super-heat the top of the tower, and a cool mist gets sprayed across. The water evaporates and the cool, heavy air is then sucked down into the base at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. At the bottom, the whooshing gusts of air push through a circle of wind turbines—producing energy.

Solar Wind, which is based in Maryland, wants to start construction on the first major energy tower in the country, in San Luis, Arizona, by 2018. The town of 26,000 has also agreed to sell the company the water it needs to continually spray a fine mist over the 1,200-foot wide top of the tower. This mega-structure will sit on a 600-acre piece of desert near the Mexican border where the temperatures regularly reach 106 degrees—perfect for the technology, which relies on hot, dry climates.

So, where does this fairly incredible-sounding idea come from? It turns out that the energy tower dates back to the 1960s, when an engineer names Dr. Philip Carlson floated the idea. In a December 1981 issue of Popular Mechanics, Carlson, then an engineer at Lockheed, describes how the idea came to him while working on a desalinization plant in the 1960s:

We ran some calculations and found that, theoretically, we’d get out eight times the energy we put in to pump the water to the top of the chimney. But, in 1965, there didn’t seem to be any need for new energy sources.

Carlson did patent the concept in 1975, but it seems the idea was tabled. Since then, two engineers named Professor Dan Zaslavsky and Dr. Rami Guetta from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have resurrected the idea, studying it extensively and publishing a number of papers on the topic.

The Not-So-Crazy Plan to Build a Colossal Energy Skyscraper In Arizona

Image: Popular Mechanics

So, why isn’t the American Southwest dotted with 2,000-foot-high energy towers? First of all, there are considerable challenges involved in actually building them—including not only funding the construction of such a huge tower, but also the cost of pumping water up to the top at a constant rate. Building Solar Wind’s tower, in Arizona, will require $1.5 billion in capital, according to Businessweek.

It’s also easy to imagine that communities aren’t excited to welcome huge, industrial-looking towers that would loom over their homes. But as a San Luis city official told Forbes, it’s also an economic driver and an opportunity for smaller, struggling cities:

In Arizona you do get a lot of dreamers who say, ‘You could really do something with this.’ With (Solar Wind Energy), they have already gotten permission and concurrence from federal agencies in Washington. They weren’t starting with the Air Force, they weren’t starting with BLM. They were starting at the top. It isn’t a guarantee of success, but it is a lot more feasible than a lot of the other things I’ve seen.

The deal with San Luis no doubt hinges on the fact that the construction and upkeep of the tower would bring thousands of jobs to the area—not to mention producing 1,200 megawatt-hours of power in the hotted, driest months.

Still, there are plenty of questions about how their plan would work—starting with who’s going to put up the $1.5 billion to build it. But Solar Wind doesn’t seem to be letting that slow it down: Beyond putting up a tower in San Luis, the company reportedly wants to license its technology to developers all over the world. For now, winning approval from the small town is a huge step forward. [SMH; Businessweek; Forbes; Solar Wind Energy Tower]

Old Jules

The white man’s burden: My lucky goozle

The arrow indicates the crowd pleaser point of interest.  "I can't believe it ain't cancer!' Chorus of GI specialists declares.  "Go back in and biopsy that SOB again!"

The arrow indicates the crowd pleaser point of interest. “I can’t believe it ain’t cancer!’ Chorus of GI specialists declares. “Go back in and biopsy that SOB again!”. It ain’t all because I’m a white guy. White guys, it turns out, are one hell of a lot more prone to cancer of the goozle than non-white guys. And nobody likes to see anyone win in lotteries of this nature. It makes everyone look bad.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I just this morning had my third endoscopy in two months.  Not to mention various CAT Scans, etc, and one of those big things involving a donut and a magnet on a rolling human-scale tray.  Jeanne tells me it’s the MRI, which I can’t have anymore because of my electric cow-prod defibrillator.

This week I had a manometry, gastric emptying tests, and fights with the VA hospital concerning whether I ought to be letting them do nothing instead of going to the private physicians and them doing stuff.

In fact I’m bankrupting Medicare with my heartfelt cardiac flaws and my Disneyland esophagus darling of gastroenterologists and Asian male physicians.  They do the snake swallowing a camera routine, take pics and biopsy it.  Look at the pics and say, “Ohshitohdear!”

“It MIGHTN’T be malignant,” they cautiously confide.  “We won’t know for certain until the biopsy results come back.”

Well, the nice Asian GI specialist today came after I regained my cogitude to give me a puzzled frown and tell me it ain’t cancer again this time.  But it’s inflamed as hell, got a grotesque growth about it, and has every right to rear up on its hind legs and be what it damned well wants to be.  Thinks they’d better have another look at it as soon as they can forget it ain’t.

What I haven’t confided to them is the part about Caisse’s herbal tea.  Black burdock, turkey rhubarb, sheep sorrel and slippery elm all boiled together half an hour in stainless steel, left 12 hours, boiled again, strained, and taken in increments of an ounce morning, another nights.

I call it making my own luck.  I’m not evangelical about it, but if anyone ever tells you you’ve got terminal cancer and you might as well go home and tell the heirs who’s getting what, consider remembering it.  Black burdock, turkey rhubarb, sheep sorrel and slippery elm.

My lungs and goozle think it’s death to oncologists.

Old Jules


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