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Hal Berghel on Mr. Snowden’s Legacy

“A well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy.”  Thomas Jefferson.

Mr. Snowden is in exile for spilling the beans about the depth of US domestic and international spying operations.  What was Mr. Snowden’s real offense?  Nothing really legally violated that has not been ignored before, except:
“… Let’s try this explanation on for size: what Snowden really did was take away the most cherished asset of hypocritical and autocratic governments— plausible deniability. Where before the public had suspicion, Snowden contributed a justification for it and provided tangible evidence. He gave us justified true suspicion—knowledge. Where the informed electorate had informed suspicion before Snowden, they had knowledge after. He added substance to claims of constitutional abuses by a government run by a Nobel Prize–winning president with a background in constitutional law. And what’s simply intolerable? Snowden sparked a public debate! There’s no greater threat to politicians who circumvent the law of the land than a public debate. …”  Hal Berghel, University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Computer, Vol 47, Number 4, pp 66-70, http://izigwea.berghel.net/col-edit/out-of-band/apr-14/oob_4-14.pdf

The author shows some compelling history of ignored, and legally offensive, revelations, to which Snowden was/is, by past operational responses,  innocent.

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Wearable Computers

A Wearable Computer with Surround Sound

A ‘Wearable Computer’

The big thing at this year’s CES appears to be wearable computers such as Google Glass.  Maybe it’s come of age.   But this author looked into it in 2004 and found this fun solution.  Been there, done that!  Surround Sound included!

Actually, there were products back then which would allow hands free operation, voice activated browsing, eye monocle, and networking.  Telephone linemen, US Military, and automechanics were using the systems for work order and tech manual access while at task.  Only problem then was the fanny packs were a bit bulky and battery drain was an issue.  Today’s versions should be much better.

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Ellensburg WA Dumps Small Wind

Ellensburg (pop 19000) is also the site for the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project west of the city. It is a follow on to the larger Wild Horse wind farm east of city. The Valley Wind project was protested by the county and city citizens because they could easily see it, etc. But, in executive decision, then Governor Christine Gregoire overrode locals.

In trying to follow the I-937 law on renewables, the city attempted to test smart grid and small wind via their own and 50% federal dollars. It became an albatross and was cancelled last month. Part of the problem was that several test generation cases cost more power than produced.  The city simply cannot fund cost doubling to finish the project, citing those costs, equipment falling apart, and unlikely success.

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Subsidies for Oil Seed in Washington State

A 2012 white paper from WSU Pullman (http://tiny.cc/g9ye3w) identifies that no farmers elected to participate in the 2011 Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) subsidies.  Why? Because the sharp penciled farmers found it economically bad compared to standard crop insurance and market reliability of standard wheat crop rotations.  According to the study, farmers in the mid-Columbia would have lost $211 million in 2011 assuming the switch.  Senator Maria Cantwell claimed this brainchild project in 2011.

Washington is 6th in national wheat production.  The lands approaching economic suitability and reliability (low rain dry land farming) for oil seed comprise 886000 acres or 17% of all state wheat land.  The arid/marginal land (2.8 million acres) need not apply due to failure to reliably grow camelina.

The study also notes that complete conversion would displace about 1.2% of the diesel consumed in the state.  With inclusion of jet fuel it would be 0.6%.

But wait, there’s more.  Canola oil from rape seed is part of our food supply.  The higher oil camelina analog plant does not provide food because it has some nasty natural pesticide chemicals in it.  There is concern that while diverting acreage to camelina instead of upsetting canola food chain, the residual seed pulp cannot be used.  It doesn’t work in chicken and pig feed because it’s toxic.  However, if we can Genetically Modify the plant to keep the toxins in the plant and not the seeds, then we can push the GM residue into the animal feed.  Thus the study grant to U. Mass to do just that.

But wait, there’s more.  The seed oil feedstock for bio-fuel to date in Washington has been limited and suffered transportation costs to the converter plant.  The output from the conversion is being exported to Europe.  Thus, any subsidy investment to date in the state of Washington is not providing any change in the state’s consumption of traditional fuels.

But wait, there’s more.  Montana experimented with camelina prior to Washington’s discovery.  It failed economically and in production expectations.  Montana also has better rainfall for marginal land production than the wheat area of Washington.  Since it failed, why would we expect the BCAP to be any different here?

Isn’t this fun?

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Milestones – “Never Give Up!”

Robert E. Schenter 4-Jan-37 : 9-Jul-13, PhD. A continuous optimist for the things he understood: youth education and beneficial uses of nuclear physics.  Most important was the development and advancement of radioactive isotopes for medical diagnostics and therapies.

Known by close associates as ‘Dr. Bob’, he was also a co-founder of Citizens For Medical Isotopes (CMI), an education foundation promoting the education, development, and use of special radioactive isotopes for diagnosis and cure of dread diseases.  This author was privileged to co-author and publish a paper(1) describing medical isotope sources, availability and needs worldwide.  CMI was also involved with promoting the use of the Fast Flux Test Facility near Richland, Washington, for special isotope production.  Dr. Schenter  identified and prepared numerous isotopes using this reactor.

During the advocacy and continuing until his passing, Dr. Bob was noted for his nevergiveup‘Never Give Up’ attitude as characterized by his favorite cartoon.  His last advocacy activity was an interview with Mary Claire Birdsong and Dr. John Shanahan of GoNulcear only two weeks before his passing.

Dr. Schenter had been Chief Science Officer of Advanced Medical Isotopes Corporation since 2006. Dr. Schenter served as the Chairman of Scientific Advisory Board of Advanced Medical Isotope Corp., from June 2006 to August 2008. He had over 25 years’ experience in the area of radioisotope production for applications in the treatment and diagnosis of major diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. With more than 35 years’ experience in the use and production of nuclear data as applied to fission reactor systems, Dr. Schenter had a legacy of successful application to nuclear technology projects. Dr. Schenter had been the Site Manager for production of medical isotopes at Westinghouse Hanford and at The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He was active with several Cancer Foundations, an American Nuclear Society Fellow, a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on the medical uses of Isotopes, and had testified before Congress on Medical Isotope Supply and Applications. Dr. Schenter served as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Advanced Medical Isotopes Corporation.

Dr. Shenter’s achievements included 8 patents related to the production of medical isotopes (2-9).

  1. Medical isotope development and supply opportunities in the 21st century. Troyer, G. L.; Schenter, R. E. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry vol. 282 issue 1 October 2009. p. 243 – 246
  2. Robert E Schenter, Dennis W Wester, Glenn W Hollenberg, Brian M Rapko, Gregg J Lumetta: Medical radioisotopes and methods for producing the same. Battelle Memorial Institute February 2012: US 8126104
  3. Robert E Schenter, Dennis W Wester, Glenn W Hollenberg, Brian M Rapko, Gregg J Lumetta: Medical radioisotopes and methods for producing the same. March 2009: US 20090060812
  4. Charles S Holden, Robert E Schenter: Compound isotope target assembly for production of medical and commercial isotopes by means of spectrum shaping alloys. November 2009: US 20090274258
  5. Robert E Schenter, Dennis W Wester, Glen W Hollenberg, Brian M Rapko, Gregg J Lumetta: Medical radioisotopes and methods for producing the same. Battelle Memorial Institute February 2006: US 20060023829
  6. Robert E Schenter, Michael K Korenko: Very Large Enhancements of Thermal Neutron Fluxes Resulting in a Very Large Enhancement of the Production of Molybdenum-99 Including Spherical Vessels. May 2012: US 20120121053
  7. Robert E Schenter, Michael K Korenko: Method of transmuting very long lived isotopes. April 2011: US 20110080986
  8. Charles S Holden, Robert e Schenter: Compact neutron generator for medical and commercial isotope production, fission product purification and controlled gamma reactions for direct electric power generation. November 2011: US 20110268237
  9. Robert E Schenter: Very large enhancements of thermal neutron fluxes resulting in a very large enhancement of the production of molybdenum-99.
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