August 2009

Mortal: What is a million years like to you?

God: Like one second.

Mortal: What is a million dollars like to you?

God: Like one penny.

Mortal: Can I have a penny?

God: Just a second


Beautiful day, not going to get too warm so we are leaving the windows and doors open all day. If it is going to be hot we open the doors and windows at night then close them in the morning when the ambient temperature gets back up up to the indoor temperature.

We also close the curtains on the sunny sides of the house so we don’t get any passive solar gain. The house then stays pretty cool all day. This doesn’t count towards renewable energy’s contribution to the energy pie like if we left the curtains open and then offset the solar gain by running an air conditioner powered by solar panels on the roof but if stuff like clotheslines and curtains were counted renewables would get much more credit.

Fossil fuels lobbies would of course oppose this sort of accounting as they need fear to maintain their practices like mountaintop removal coal mining which is an enormously destructive practice.

Another renewable practice that doesn’t count is animal draft power. Here is someone who has it going on in Cambodia:

oxen with umbrella

Anyway, it’s Krishna’s birthday today, known as Janmastami. I should really be focusing on chanting and prayer but I am too caught up into material life.

It does mean I am fasting all day and will be visiting the temple this evening for festivities.

If you can’t visit a temple today, you can meditate on New Vrindaban by checking out an article in the Philadelphia referenced in the Brijabasi or check out the New Vrindaban webcam which will be broadcasting today.

Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky

Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.

by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Ontario, Canada []

An NSERC-funded lab at the University of Waterloo has laid the groundwork for a lithium battery that can store and deliver more than three times the power of conventional lithium ion batteries, researchers say.

The research team of professor Linda Nazar, graduate student David Xiulei Ji and postdoctoral fellow Kyu Tae Lee are one of the first to demonstrate robust electrochemical performance for a lithium-sulfur battery.

The prospect of lithium-sulfur batteries has tantalized chemists for two decades, and not just because successfully combining the two chemistries delivers much higher energy densities. Sulphur is cheaper than many other materials currently used in lithium batteries. It has always showed great promise as the ideal partner for a safe, low cost, long lasting rechargeable battery, exactly the kind of battery needed for energy storage and transportation in a low carbon emission energy economy.

“The difficult challenge was always the cathode, the part of the battery that stores and releases electrons in the charge and recharge cycles,” said Dr. Nazar. “To enable a reversible electrochemical reaction at high current rates, the electrically-active sulfur needs to remain in the most intimate contact with a conductor, such as carbon.”

The Canadian research team leap-frogged the performance of other carbon-sulfur combinations by tackling the contact issue at the nanoscale level. Although they say the same approach could be used with other materials, for their proof of concept study they chose a member of a highly structured and porous carbon family called mesoporous carbon. At the nanoscale level, this type of carbon has a very uniform pore diameter and pore volume.

Using a nanocasting method, the team assembled a structure of 6.5 nanometre thick carbon rods separated by empty three to four nanometre wide channels. Carbon microfibres spanning the empty channels kept the voids open and prevented collapse of the architecture.

Filling the tiny voids proved simple. Sulfur was heated and melted. Once in contact with the carbon, it was drawn or imbibed into the channels by capillary forces, where it solidified and shrunk to form sulfur nanofibres. Scanning electron microscope sections revealed that all the spaces were uniformly filled with sulfur, exposing an enormous surface area of the active element to carbon and driving the exceptional test results of the new battery.

“This composite material can supply up to nearly 80 percent of the theoretical capacity of sulfur, which is three times the energy density of lithium transition metal oxide cathodes, at reasonable rates with good cycling stability,” said Dr. Nazar.

What is more, the researchers say, the high capacity of the carbon to incorporate active material opens the door for similar “imbibed” composites that could have applications in many areas of materials science.

The research team continues to study the material to work out remaining challenges and refine the cathode’s architecture and performance.

Dr. Nazar said a patent has been filed, and she is reviewing options for commercialization and practical applications.

From an email I received:

The Dutch poet Jacob Cats (1577-1660) wrote:

Het puntje van mijn gauwe pen is’t felste wapen dat ik ken.


The tip of my golden pen is the most violent weapon that I know.

As the keyboard of our computer has replaced our pen, we should be very careful when writing e-mails, as we can easily hurt someone.

FIVE important lessons to learn from your humble pencil:

1. It demonstrates how everything you write leaves a mark
2. Its possible to rub out your mistakes
3. Whats important is what is inside of you, not the external
4. In life you have to undergo painful sharpenings to make you much better  at what you do.
5. Allow yourself to be guided by the Hand that holds you – Krishna!!

I know I am backwards not being active on Facebook.

I did make the mistake of signing up because I was getting referrals from Facebook and wanted to see where they were coming from, but it just looped back to my own post anyway so it wasn’t effective getting that info.

Then I started to get invitations.  To those who sent them, nothing personal in my not replying,  I just don’t think I have the energy to deal with another internet project, like keeping current with Facebook.

To see my reasons/fears, check out this link and follow the cartoon strip forward through its week  long story arc.

Cathy gets a Facebook account.

Which doesn’t mean I have completely written Facebook off for moi, but not for now, anyway.

The next sentence is false. The previous sentence is true.

How to resolve the above? From wapedia:

In philosophy and logic, the liar paradox, known to the ancients as the pseudomenon, encompasses paradoxical statements such as “This sentence is false.” or “The next sentence is false. The previous sentence is true.” These statements are paradoxical because there is no way to assign them a consistent classical binary truth value. If “This sentence is false” is true, then it is true and what it says is the case; but what it says is that it is false, hence it is false. On the other hand, if it is false, then what it says is not the case; thus, since it says that it is false, it must be true…

A probably apocryphal story from the Spanish Inquisition claims that one day a particularly cruel Spanish leader told a Jew to make one statement about himself. If the statement was false, he would be executed; if the statement was true, he would be hanged. The Jew responded by declaring “Today I am going to be executed!” To execute the Jew would be to make his statement true, but execution was supposed to be the punishment for a false statement. To hang the Jew would be to make his statement false, in which case he should have been executed, not hanged. According to the story, the frustrated Spaniard, unable to escape this paradox, let the Jew go free…

Read a whole elaborate discussion of this here.

Here are a bunch of gourd giraffes getting ready to go to Shakerwoods, a craft show where Vidya will be selling for the next three weekends in Columbia, Ohio, near Youngstown just south of  the Ohio Turnpike (I-76)

giraffes blog size

Here are some flowers she picked for drying, the second cutting on a  small patch. She expects to get yet another cutting this year.

drying flowers

They are good for having some flowers in the winter when the only other option would be shipped in from far places heavily pesticided commercial flowers.

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