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Sunday, March 17, 2024

The criminal Supreme Court

Taking bribes and making laws that reward the bribers is peanuts compared to what the Supreme Court is up to now.  The moves the SC is attempting now will destroy what little democracy still remains in the USA and it ain't much.  America has:

*the delegate system, 

*denial of voting registration, 

*denial of voting even when you are registered, 

*placement of polling stations to make it as difficult as possible for some folks to vote, 

*a lack of polling stations, 

*closing polling stations when there are people who have been waiting all day to vote,

*and a gerrymandering system that would embarrass an 18th century lord in a rotten English borough.

What little democracy remains in America is under threat by the Supreme court.

Anyone who is not part of the Trump cult realizes that to get him elected in November would put an end to the American way of life.  That is what the Supreme court is about to try and the fools don't realize that if successful they become   Trump's bitches.  One false move and he will come after them too. 


The decision by the supreme court to examine whether or not a president can be held criminally liable for 'Official acts'  carried out while in office, is equivalent to Trump paying off a porn star. Both are designed to hide information from the American public that could well affect the way they vote and that is the least of it.


 The members of the supreme court should be charged with exactly what Trump was charged with when he paid off Stormy to hide the fact that he consorted with a prostitute, and they should also be charged with  anti-democratic, anti-constitutional and anti-American activity.

The wording of the question that they are prepared to examine, the timing of when they are going to start deliberations, the verdict they will deliver and, most importantly, when they will deliver the verdict are all criminal activities.

The Question they are prepared to examine is whether or not a president can be held criminally liable for 'official acts' carried out while in office. It is a trite question and just kicks the can down the road. Of course a president can not be held criminally liable for 'official acts'. The question then becomes what are official
acts. Is falsifying business records, not paying his taxes, paying off a porn star, threatening witnesses, fraud, giving government secrets to a foreign country, fomenting insurrection and so forth - are they official acts. Of course not, so they are not affected by the question.

And it gets far worse. I will make a prediction. The Supreme court already knows exactly what they will find and when they will announce their verdict. That is why they phrased the question as they did. 

They will release their findings a short time before the coming election in November and they will, of course, find that a president can not be held criminally liable for "Official acts". They will phrase their finding in all sorts of confusing legalese gobbledygook.   But Trump supporters will crow from the roof tops "Trump Innocent" "Trump Exonerated" when the SC finding says nothing of the kind.  This will affect the way many people vote and especially amongst the large, politically ignorant portion of the American public that might not vote for a convicted felon.

The Supreme court is corrupt far beyond anything exposed to date. Destroying the little democracy that still remains in America is far more serious than them accepting bribes from rich donors and making laws to enrich them.

Besides being fiscally corrupt, the four Republican members of the Supreme Court are anti-democratic, anti-constitution and anti-American and should be treated as such.

Friday, December 15, 2023


 Skylights really annoy me.  Not the having of them but the way they are integrated into a house.  It's an engineering abortion.  We are living in a house in which I built the sky lights. We are downsizing to a house that is being built for us.  And we have 4 sky lights, bought a great expense with silly engineering.

The bought sky lights stick up above the corrugated iron cladding so any rain that runs down the roof above the sky light wants to flow into the roof cavity.  To avoid this you need some sophisticated flashing and lots of sealant.  There is a far simpler and vastly cheaper option.

The thickness from the cladding of a roof to the ceiling is typically about 6 inche-sometimes more.  This is the width of the perlons (the horizontal boards which are laid on edge across the rafters).  There are lots of other configurations but generally there is lots of space between the ceiling and the cladding.  So what do we do.  

First build what is essentially a picture frame with dimensions to take a glass sandwich plus 5mm or so in both directions. This is built into the roof at the level of the ceiling.

The glass sandwich you can get made up by any glazier.  It consists of a lower sheet made of that safety glass which itself is a sandwich of plastic between two sheets of glass.  If you ever have some sort of a disaster, this glass will ensure that no shards fall and hurt someone.  

The upper layer I would recommend be some sort of diffusing glass.  Basically the sort of thing you would have in a bathroom window.  You don't want a sharp edged beam of light with deep shadows around it but rather light that is dispersed over the whole room. The two sheets of glass are separated by an aluminum  strip of around 5mm thickness.  If you really want to get sophisticated, you can get the hollow between the layers of glass, filled with Argon.

If you decide to seal this glass into the frame, make sure to use a thick layer of rubber or silicon sealer so the glass can expand and  contract as it heats and cools without cracking the glass.

So how about the rest of the sky light.  Under a corrugated iron roof, you usually put a layer of tar paper or similar membrane to take any condensation drips from the iron, down toward the eves.  At the location where you have the sky light, you use a layer of transparent polycarbonate instead.  Then we only have to clad the roof.  From the ridge down to the sky light (hang tough, I'll start from the eves).  From the eves up to the bottom of the sky light is regular corrugated iron.  This is overlapped by a sheet of corrugate transparent poly-carbonate over the glass, up to the top of the sky light and beyond a bit.  From the top of the sky light to the ridge is another piece of corrugated iron.  

No way is this going to leak, it is cheap and simplicity itself to construct.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

How to destroy China

 It will take a little time but China should be gone as a major state in 50 to 100 years.  And it is simple.  Do you realize that, while Greece and Rome and many other empires rose and fell, China remained as an organized, prosperous country through it all.  Greece and Rome destroyed their soils and fell.  Rome ended up being dependent on countries in North Africa for her food.  It was so extreme that it was a capital offense to interfere in any way with the transport of food to Rome from Africa.    What we have to do to destroy China as a world power is to get them  to destroy their soils.  And it would be easy to do.  Simply mock them about their use of human manure on their fields.  Convince them that it is backward and yucky and the modern way is to use chemical fertilizers and to use flush toilets.  Much more aesthetic and look at the great harvests America gets. (steer the conversation away from the destruction of American soils by using chemical fertilizers)..

The reason that China has survived and prospered for some 5000 years is that they have always cycled every bit of organic material back into their soils.  Stover (the part of the plant that we don't utilize) animal manure, human manure, waste wood - in fact anything that will compost is put back into their soils.  And this has allowed them to maintain prosperity over such a long time.  Sure they had floods and droughts and this caused severe social dislocation but over all, they bounced back based on a working agriculture.

And if we get them to adopt flush toilets, it is a double (or triple) whammy.  If they can be convinced to do only primary treatment or even secondary treatment and to pour the used water into their rivers, they will kill off the life in the rivers.  In addition this added use of water for flushing, may tip them over the edge in some of the drier parts of China.  Then when the river pours out into the ocean, it will likely result in an anaerobic area which trashes the fish and other marine life in the area.  

Then, of course, they will have to mine more phosporous, fix more nitrogen and obtain all the other elements that makes for good crops.  All this will put more strain on their economy.  Oh and convince them that the use of the plow is the formula for better crops.  If they start using the plows extensively, for a short period, their crops will improve* while at the same time, destroying their soils.  By the time they have woken up to the harm the plow does, it will be too late.  With the very best of management it takes about three years to restore a soil to a passable level of production.

* Using the plow is like taking the capital from your bank account rater than just using the interest.  Over time you bank account falls to zero.  

And don't let them know about the sewage plants that turn sewage into valuable fertilizer.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Batteries for Static Applications

 To my way of thinking, we should try very hard to discontinue the use of batteries based on Li chemistry for static applications such as home batteries and grid storage.  One reason for this is that doing so would reduce the demand for Li and reduce its price.  This would bring down the price of Li batteries for mobile applications, reduce the price of EVs (Electric Vehicles) and hence widen the market for these cars and increase how fast we shift away from fossil fuels. 


Better still, some of the alternate chemistries produce batteries that are superior to Li batteries for static applications.  The reason we stick with Li for mobile applications is weight.  I'm not aware of any other battery that holds more power per kg(Kilogram) of battery than Li batteries.   Weight is of very little significance for batteries which are used for static applications.  So what other possibilities are there and how are they superior to Li batteries.


Liquid metal batteries

Conceptually one of my favorite types is the liquid metal battery.  These were developed by professor Sadoway and his team at MIT.  His favorite comment when he is talking about his battery is that if you want a battery that is dirt cheap, make it from dirt.  OK, it is not exactly dirt that is used but fairly close.  His batteries are based on Ca(Calcium), Sb(Antimony) and a calcium chloride salt.  They operate at about 500 degrees C(centigrade).  And, many experiments are ongoing to use different chemistries that need lower temperatures.

These batteries are kept molten by the electric current flowing through them during charging and discharging so there is some waste of power.  The effectiveness of the insulation is of primary importance.  When shipped the chemicals are simply dumped into the battery and the battery sealed.  When they arrive at their destination, the chemicals are heated up until they melt, separate into their layers and the battery is ready to go.  This sort of battery works well under heavy use but if left unused for some time, the components will eventually solidify and have to be melted again to regain function.  If left fully charged, when the components solidify, the battery is fully charged and ready to go when melted.  So what are the characteristics of these batteries.

They can be cycled between 0 and 100% charge with no damage.  This has a lot to do with their liquid nature.  Because all the components are liquid, they can't form spicules which in other batteries, grow and short out the plates.

They last far longer than Li batteries with no fade.  In fact I am not sure if they have even found a limit to the number of times they can be cycled from 0 to 100% and back again, before they show some fade.

They are completely safe to ship and so can be shipped by air, sea or land.  Ingredients are solid, mixed and you could short out the terminals with no effect.

They are made from elements which are readily available and cheap from multiple sources.  Antimony is mainly from the sulfide mineral known as stibnite.  It is not particularly expensive, ranging from US$2 to US$6 per pound at various times in the past.  Calcium metal is obtained from the electrolysis of a calcium salt such a Calcium cloride.

Liquid metal batteries operate under a wider range of external temperatures than Li batteries

ZnBr Batteries

There are two types of ZnBr batteries.  On is the flow/plating batteries.  It is essentially a Zn electroplating unit.   Zinc Bromide is dissolved in an aqueous solution and there are plastic horizontal 'shelves' in the battery dosed with C to make them conductive.  Under charging, the Zinc comes out of solution and electro-plates the plastic shelves.  The bromine which is heavier than the solution accumulates at the bottom of the battery.  Under discharge, the Zn and the Br recombine and zinc bromide dissolves into the solution.  It is not only possible but is recommended that the battery be discharged completely from time to time as this eliminates any build up of dendrites (spicules) that could short out the battery.  Thus it is useful to have your battery pack operate in multiple stacks.  One stack is completely discharged into the other pack on an established schedule.

The other type of ZnBr battery is the gel battery.  Instead of a solution, the electrolyte is in the form of a gel.  From the outside, these batteries look very much like a Lead-Acid battery and in fact the manufacturing process is very similar.  Apparently a Lead-Acid battery manufacturing plant can be converted to making ZnBr gel batteries with only modest modifications.  Gel batteries also need to be completely discharged from time to time.  To me they sound like a real winner since you simply stack them in series and parallel to get the voltage and capacity that you need. And there are no moving parts.  It remains to be seen what their cost per kWh stored will be and what their working life will be.

For their advantages, look back at the advantages of liquid metal batteries.  They are the same.

Redox Batteries

These batteries are based on elements with two or more valence states.  For instance Fe (iron) compounds exists in the Ferric (+3) state and the Ferrous (+2) state.  You have two tanks, one with an iron salt in the +3 state and one in the +2 state.  And you have a reactor through which these solutions flow separated by a membrane.  What is notable about such batteries is that if there is a small amount of leakage through the membrane, it is of little consequence.  It is still an Iron salt.  If you were using two different elements, you could quickly contaminate your solution.  If you want more capacity you simply need bigger tanks.  If you want more power you need more reactors.  I don't know how they get around the solubility problem.  The ferric state is far less soluble than the ferrous state*.

The other element used so far is V(Vanadium) which has multiple valence states.

*By the way, this is why there are huge deposits of iron in some parts of the world.  In the early years of the world there was no oxygen.  The oceans were anaerobic.  Iron was dissolved in the oceans in the soluble ferrous state.  Then stromatolites  developed.  These are sort of like reef building algae that take in Carbon dioxide and put out oxygen.  Apparently the oceans were full of ferrous iron.  As oxygen was produced, the ferrous iron used up the oxygen, converting it to ferric iron which precipitated.  Western Australia is a region where you can see this and in the shallow water there are still some living stromatolites.

Iron oxygen Batteries

These are also being worked on and apparently a very large one is about to be built.  As they discharge, iron is combined with oxygen producing rust.  When charging the rust is converted back into Iron and Oxygen.  An interesting aside here is that this is a way to produce iron from Iron ore which is essentially rust.  This would be a carbon free method of refining iron ore.  I have read speculation that you could put the oxides of other metals into the retort and produce alloys of iron such as stainless steel.

I'll add more batteries as they are shown and described.  So far it is hard to get reliable data on the longevity and other characteristics of these alternate batteries.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Inheritance (death) taxes

I tried to come up with a single word or phrase that describes Inheritance (death) taxes.  Illegal doesn't work because what is illegal is whatever the government says it is.  Immoral isn't quite right because it tends to refer to  human relationships.... but it is closer.  The best I could come up with is 'it just ain't right'


Part of it has to do with one's world view.  People who are for inheritance tax tend to look at a family as a mom and dad and their children.  I look at a family and I see an extended family including the deceased great grand parents, the living grand parents, the current generation, their children and as time goes on, their children's children.  All these element of a family are giving support to each other both up and down the generations in many ways both pecuniary and non-pecuniary.   

Lets take an example.  A man working at a crap job has scraped and saved and can finally buy that farm he has dreamed about.  Every cent he has earned, he has paid taxes on.  Every bite of food he has put into the mouths of his family likewise.  He has paid taxes on the fuel to get back and forth to his job and on the car he bought.  If he has saved his money in a bank, the bank has paid taxes which reduced the return on his loan* to the bank.  But finally he can buy the farm with the residual that has been left to him.

*That's right.  When you deposit your money in the bank, you are loaning it to the bank.

He needs a place to live (more taxes on every bit of material to build the house) and with luck he is able to build his own house.  Alternately, he gets a contractor to build his house.  The contractor pays tax on everything he does and has to cover this by charging our farmer more for his construction work.  He will spend more to have the municipality inspect every stage of construction.  Then he needs machinery, seed, chemicals, fencing etc etc.  The list is endless and you guessed it.  Taxes on everything he buys.  And his wife is probably working outside the farm to bring in needed funds to run the farm until it can stand on its own.  More taxes.  And every bite he buys outside to feed his family has been taxed

In the fullness of time the farm is successful but Dad is getting a bit long in the tooth by this time.  He still does a lot around the farm but as his strength wanes, his sons and daughters take over more and more of the functions of the farm.

One of his sons realizes that the model his father is using is destroying the soil with the plow and the chemicals dad uses and he begins to convert the farm to what is know as regenerative farming.  This could show a constant bottom line but is more likely to have anything up to three years with the bottom line suffering.  From then on he has greatly reduced input costs, has improved the bottom line and has made his farm much more resilient to vulgarities in the weather and crop prices.  He has stopped polluting nearby streams and rivers, is helping to mitigate floods and is sequestering carbon.  None of this is recognized by his government despite the fact that it decreases their expenses (cleaning water of pollution, compensating flood victums and paying for their carbon output).

But it is actually a bit more complicated than this.  Let's look at the customer who buys a loaf of bread made from the wheat our farmer grew in his field.  The farmer sells his wheat to a mill.  They pay a whole range of taxes and have to recover this when they sell the flour to the bakery.  The bakery pays a whole range of taxes which they have to recover in the price of a loaf of bread.  Each stage in an economic chain of this sort pays taxes and here is the rub.  Some of the taxes are on the product they sell so they are paying taxes on the taxes from the former level.  How does this concern the farmer.  I puts considerable downward pressure on what he can charge for his wheat. Compound taxes make it so.


Now in a well run country, all these taxes are necessary.   The infrastructure that only the government can implement is needed for all the enterprises of the country.

Then Dad dies.

The one son or daughter that wants to remain on the farm has to buy out his siblings or split the revenue of the farm with them so he is faced with added expense.  In a country that has death duties, the farmer then has to find  as much as 40% of the value of the farm that he and his father have carved out of a virgin piece of land, greatly increasing its value, to pay the government.  Not only has the family paid taxes on every single financial interaction  throughout the life of the farm since his dad bought it but the value of the farm is mainly due to the blood, sweat and tears of his dad and his siblings.  They have created this value and now they have to pay taxes.  The more succesful they were, the greater their taxes.


Along comes the government evaluator.  The farm is worth far more than the piece of land that Dad bought and the value is mainly due to the efforts of the family.  The family now has to pay taxes on this added value that they created.

Like I said, it just ain't right.  He will probably have to sell the farm - often at a loss, just to pay the death duties and this at a very stressful time when he has lost his dad.  It just ain't right.