January 2012

By James Montgomery, News Editor, Photovoltaics World

New Hampshire, USA — Researchers at MIT and Germany’s RWTH Aachen U. have devised a new way to set up a concentrated solar power (CSP) project that both increases the system’s efficiency and reduces the land footprint — all thanks to inspiration from Mother Nature.

January 17, 2012 – Researchers at MIT and Germany’s RWTH Aachen U. have devised a new way to set up a concentrated solar power (CSP) project that both increases the system’s efficiency and reduces the land footprint — all thanks to inspiration from Mother Nature.

The Andalucia, Spain “PS10” CSP install incorporates more than 600 heliostat mirrors tracking the sun through the day, all arranged radially around a central tower and staggered to align every other row — but this also creates some unavoidable shadowing and blocking that reduces the light reflected to the tower. The team, led by MIT’s Alexander Mitsos and postgrad Corey Noone and RWTH’s Manuel Torrilhon, developed a computational model to evaluate the efficiency of heliostat layouts, dividing mirrors into sections and calculating the light reflectivity in each, and comparing to PS10’s layout to determine overall efficiency. What they discovered, and reported in the journal Solar Energy, was that using their numerical optimization brought the fanned-out layers closer together, reducing the amount of land needed without affecting the mirrors’ ability to reflect light.

They then compared the layout to the “Fermat spiral” pattern seen in, among other occurrences in nature, the florets of a sunflower, which are turned at a mathematical “golden angle” (roughly 137°) to each other. By rearranging a model of a CSP field to resemble this layout, they calculate a 20 percent smaller footprint than the PS10 field in Andalucia. And the spiral pattern reduces problematic shading and blocking, thus increasing the system’s total efficiency, too.

From the paper abstract:

Specifically, this new heuristic is shown to improve the existing PS10 field by 0.36% points in efficiency while simultaneously reducing the land area by 15.8%. Moreover, the new pattern achieves a better trade-off between land area usage and efficiency, i.e., it can reduce the area requirement significantly for any desired efficiency. Finally, the improvement in area becomes more pronounced with an increased number of heliostats, when maximal efficiency is the objective.

Concentrated solar power has been somewhat overshadowed by plunging-cost solar PV, leading some developers to swap CSP plans to solar PV technology (roughly 3-GW worth over the past year or so). However, CSP has some tricks up its sleeve. Not only does it have a foothold in energy storage, but a recent NREL study suggests that having CSP/storage gives grids more flexibility to add other less-constant renewable energy sources in their portfolio. (This article goes into more detail about the pros/cons of each type of CSP technology.)


What do Madhava Gosh, Kat Von D’stroya, Velvet Assassin,  Rudie Mental,  GivEmhel Kel, and  Dead Wreckoning all have in common?  Answer: We were all skating at the Roller Derby  last night.

Since my hernia operation I am not supposed to do any lifting until Feb. 7th so a lot of stuff I would normally do around the homestead that has the side effect of being exercise (which is essentially a miracle drug) hasn’t been getting done.   I suffer from chronic fatigue so it isn’t always easy to motivate myself to get out and exercise for exercise sake.

As a living entity, I have a propensity for sense gratification so it’s easier to do something I  enjoy and that is roller skating.  I used to do it a lot but most local rinks have closed up and the one that is still open has a tweens and younger crowd so I don’t feel so comfortable there.

Recently an Adult Skate started up in St. Clairsville so I have gone there a few times.  While it is out of the way a bit, I have been doing some business with Amish guys south of Barnesville  so I meet them on days the skating is scheduled then skate on the way back.

When I heard there was a fund raiser for the  Ohio Valley Roller Girls  right nearby in Moundsville I decided to go.

One thing about roller skaters is it tends to be a clean  crowd because intoxication affects balance and roller skating is all about balance.  This event was, as advertised, a family crowd as it turns out women who are peak ages for the physicality of roller derby (a contact sport) are also in peak child rearing age so there was more kids  than adults.

It was like  New Vrindaban in the 1980s when there was 120 kids in the gurukula and lots more rug rats at home. Nowadays the demographics have shifted heavily to an older crowd here and although there are kids around,  they aren’t as dominant a force as they used to be in the 1980s.  So being around all those kids was a little nostalgic for me.

Roller Derby has a strong punk music influence so many of the ladies were sporting lots of tattoos. Their jerseys are sleeveless and many of them have fully tattooed arms.  I got their names from the back of their jerseys.

One thing different about skating with Roller Derby girls was when one took off sprinting there was no skate guard saying “Slow down” as is the case at most commercial rinks.

As it was the second time I skated this week, I found I regained a lot of smoothness that isn’t there when I skate irregularly.  As Vladamir Horowitz said, “If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, my wife knows it. If I don’t practice for three days, the world knows it.” Not practicing for years at a time has a really deleterious effect on skills.

I tried a few moves I used to be able to do but they weren’t there.  For example, I used to be able to do 360 jumps from either a forward or backwards start but the best I was able to manage was a 180 and the landing wasn’t smooth.  I don’t know if that is gone for good or if I can manage to regain it.

FYI, according to their website, Kat Von D’stroya, who was there skating,  was in the movie Whip It with Drew Barrymore.


The Dangers of the Additive Brominated Vegetable Oil in Drinks

I can almost thank my lucky stars, that I’ve never been much of a soda drinker, in fact, I haven’t consumed any in years. First, I find them way too sickeningly sweet, for the regular types. I also never cared for the diet type as I just didn’t care for the taste, and in consideration that there are now warnings about the health hazards of the added artificial sweetener, aspartame, I would think anyone would steer clear of diet drinks in general.

Now I’ve come across information, of yet another dangerous additive that is found in the citrus flavored type sodas or drinks, such as Mountain Dew, Fresca, Fanta, and is even found in the power drinks, such as the familiar Gatorade, and that is the additive of Brominated Vegetable Oil or BVO. The real kicker in all this is that BVO has actually been banned in over 100 countries, and even the FDA considers this additive as unsafe, yet, so far, no measures have been taken to ban it’s usage here in this country.

Brominated Vegetable Oil, has as it’s composition the element of bromine in which, believe it or not, the vapors of bromine are considered both corrosive and toxic…in other words can outrightly be considered a poisonous chemical. The chemical bromine is used for a number of products, from one of the chemicals that treat surfaces for light-sensitive photographic printing papers, as an additive for gasoline, to agricultural fumigants. At one time, bromine was even used to make sedatives, but then the FDA banned its usage around 1975, as it was found to trigger a whole host of psychiatric disorders.

Just why is BVO used in certain drinks? Supposedly, the reason Brominated Vegetable Oil used in citrus type drinks, is to stabilize the citrus oils to prevent them from separating, giving them a more unified appearance. One can always tell that Brominated Vegetable Oil has been added even if one doesn’t read the ingredient label, as such drinks will have a rather murky, cloudy look to them, rather than clear. And believe it or not, many drinks containing BVO, do not include it on their labels!

Now of course, the FDA claims that BVO is used in acceptable levels that would do no harm, however, it has been proven that BVO, when consumed is stored in a person’s fat cells, thus over time can accumulate. With time, if the average person consumes enough of these beverages that contain BVO, you can just bet, its toxic side effects will start to show up. And what are the side effects? Do you really want to know? Yes, they are that bad.

I’ve taken the liberty to include the list of the effects of BVO are from the Natural Thyroid Choices Website This websites primarily discusses about the soda Mountain Dew, but it can pertain to any of the drinks that contain BVO in them.

Abdominal cramps
Blurred vision
Constricted pupils
Cyanosis (skin blueness)
Heart beat malfunction
Tremors of the tongue and eyelids
Muscular cramps
Respiritory difficulty
Slow pulse
Vomiting (1)

Other possible side effects I found listed in other sources also includes birth defects, growth problems, memory loss and fatigue (2) & (3)

It actual makes me shudder to think that people are consuming beverages that contain such an additive with so many dangerous side affects. Think for instance, how many people, including children, will drink Gatorade, especially after strenuous physical or sports activity and are under the impression that this is a “wonder” drink to rehydrate and replenish one’s body of vitally needed fluids, instead what they are getting is a dose of a toxic chemical.

Thankfully, I just never cared for the taste of Mountain Dew, and only once tried Gatorade and completely hated the taste. I’d much rather drink pure juices or even just plain water. I’m hoping that enough people will put pressure on the FDA to completely ban the use of BVO in any beverage, just as it’s been banned in over 100 countries. Isn’t our health worth it?

Information About Brominated Vegetable Oil




Image taken from a post on Living Next Door to Alice.  (Find John Prine lyrics there.)

” Because Krsna’s feet is compared as lotus — “lotus feet,” we say — so where there is lotus, there is hamsa, swan. Swan, you’ll find. That is the difference between the crows and the swan. Crows gather in a place, filthy place, where all rotten things are kept. The crows come there. Where all rotten things are there, all the crows will come. But when there is lotus, the crows will not go there; the hamsa, swan, they’ll go there.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.18 — Mayapur, February 25, 1976

soon, industry and agriculture converged
                        and the combustion engine
sowed the dirtclod truck farms green
                                  with onion tops and chicory
mowed the hay, fed the swine and mutton
                      through belts and chutes
cleared the blue oak and the chaparral
                                    chipping the wood for mulch
back-filled the marshes
                        replacing buckbean with dent corn
removed the unsavory foliage of quag
                                 made the land into a production
made it produce, pistoned and oiled
                              and forged against its own nature
and—with enterprise—built silos
                            stockyards, warehouses, processing plants
abattoirs, walk-in refrigerators, canneries, mills
                                                                & centers of distribution
it meant something—in spite of machinery—
                      to say the country, to say apple season
though what it meant was a kind of nose-thumbing
                                           and a kind of sweetness
                      as when one says how quaint
knowing that a refined listener understands the doubleness
and the leveling of the land, enduing it in sameness, cured malaria
as the standing water in low glades disappeared,
                                                       as the muskegs drained
typhoid and yellow fever decreased
                                  even milksickness abated
thanks to the rise of the feeding pen
                         cattle no longer grazing on white snakeroot
vanquished:    the germs that bedeviled the rural areas
                                                       the rural areas also
vanquished:    made monochromatic and mechanized, made suburban
the illnesses we contract are chronic illnesses:    dyspepsia, arthritis
            heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, asthma
                           chronic pain, allergies, anxiety, emphysema
                                       diabetes, cirrhosis, lyme disease, aids
            chronic fatigue syndrome, malnutrition, morbid obesity
hypertension, cancers of the various kinds:    bladder bone eye lymph
                     mouth ovary thyroid liver colon bileduct lung
                               breast throat & sundry areas of the brain
we are no better in accounting for death, and no worse:       we still die
we carry our uninhabited mortal frames back to the land
                      cover them in sod, we take the land to the brink
          of our dying:    it stands watch, dutifully, artfully
enriched with sewer sludge and urea
                                             to green against eternity of green
hocus-pocus:    here is a pig in a farrowing crate
                                     eating its own feces
human in its ability to litter inside a cage
                        to nest, to grow gravid and to throw its young
I know I should be mindful of dangerous analogy:
          the pig is only the pig
                         and we aren’t merely the wide-open field
                                    flattened to a space resembling nothing
you want me to tell you the marvels of invention?    that we persevere
that the time of flourishing is at hand?    I should like to think it
meanwhile, where have I put the notebook on which I was scribbling
it began like:
                     “the smell of droppings and that narrow country road . . .”

The following is for devotees who use Vedabase, and will only be an abstraction for many of my readers.

Today I got two different emails with quotes from the Vedabase. The following isn’t one of them just selected for sake of example:

“Therefore to become wise after many, many births of struggling or cultivating knowledge, when one comes to perfection of knowledge he surrenders to Kåñëa.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Conversation with Bajaj and Bhusan — September 11, 1972, Arlington, Texas, At Their Home

Note how Krsna is written as Kåñëa. This happens when things are copied and pasted out of the Vedabase.

The Vedabase is a database done by the Bhaktivedanta Archives which has all of Srila Prabhupada’s books, all of his transcribed lectures and conversations and books about him, lots of ISKCON related stuff et cetera. It turns any schmo like me into a researcher with access to lots of material right on my personal computer.

Sanskrit uses a nonWestern set of characters. When it is transliterated into English alphabet there are a lot of diacritical markings used in order to cope with the limitations of said alphabet.

In order for these diacritics to display properly a Sanskrit font has to be used, otherwise Krsna displays as Kåñëa and most other transliterated Sanskrit words are also messed up.

So I am on a campaign to eliminate Kåñëa from devotee writing.  Hence the following, which should make sense if you use Vedabase:

When copying from Vedabase there is a Copy With Reference without Diacritics feature.

On the toolbar that has the Search box, go to the right past the Arrows and the Show History icons and then there is the Copy with Reference icon, then the Copy with Reference without Diacritics icon which looks like two pages one on top of the other. When you have selected some text, one of the sheets turns yellow. Click on that instead of using other ways to Copy.

Then when the text is pasted in Krsna stays Krsna.

At least that is the way it works in my version.

If you use generic Copy by right clicking, diacritics are included and then it Pastes weird looking in places like email or word processing software where a Sanskrit font isn’t installed. Note the differences hereafter first with diacritics, then without:

You do not understand Kåñëa, and you want to understand Kåñëa’s dealings with Rädhäräëé.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Conversation with Indian Guests — April 12, 1975, Hyderabad

You do not understand Krsna, and you want to understand Krsna’s dealings with Radharani.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Conversation with Indian Guests — April 12, 1975, Hyderabad

Anyway I sent this out in reply to the emails I received, which came from a email group, which means everyone in the group got it.

Dulal Candra sent this in reply:

“Or better yet, use the new Vedabase.com online which is in unicode (diacritics will properly display in any font). It also has a wonderful search feature. Please note that diacritics will be automatically be stripped on pamho.net


“Thank you Bhaktivedanta Archives for this wonderful tool.”

Next day (Jan. 25th) addendum:

I got this feedback:

> Thanks for the Vedabase tips, although my copy doesn’t have such features.

My reply:

If you go to the View tab in the menu bar go down and click on Toolbars and there will be a popup window.  Make sure Copy Options is selected.

Another update:

Ekanath sent an image of another way to get the icons on the Toolbar. Click on the thumbnail to see. You get to Customize under the Tools tab.


“False ego is the pure soul’s illusory identification with the subtle material mind and the gross material body. As a result of this illusory identification, the conditioned soul feels lamentation for things lost, jubilation over things gained, fear of things inauspicious, anger at the frustration of his desires, and greed for sense gratification.

“And so, bewildered by such false attractions and aversions, the conditioned soul must accept further material bodies, which means he must undergo repeated births and deaths. One who is self-realized knows that all such mundane emotions have nothing to do with the pure soul, whose natural propensity is to engage in the loving service of the Lord.”

Srimad Bhagvatam 11.28.15

“Alienation begins when culture divides me against myself, puts a mask on me, gives me a role I may or may not want to play. Alienation is complete when I become completely identified with my mask, totally satisfied with my role, and convince myself that any other identity or role is inconceivable.”

Merton, Thomas. The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton, edited by Patrick Hart (New
York: New Directions, 1981) 381

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