Cool news on the nuclear front

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A two-fer - this first one will have wonderful trickle-down effect for small towns and towns in very remote areas. From the Nuclear Energy Institute:

Micro-Reactors Could Power Remote Military Bases Within a Decade
With more than 70 advanced nuclear reactor projects in various stages of development in the United States alone, there is exciting growth in this field. “Micro-reactors” are one class of these innovative technologies, whose particular attributes hold out special promise to the nation’s largest energy user—the United States military.

Working closely with the reactor vendors and with relevant offices at the U.S. departments of Defense (DOD) and Energy (DOE), the Nuclear Energy Institute this week published a road map laying out the actions needed to ensure the successful deployment of a first-of-a-kind micro-reactor at a domestic defense installation by the end of 2027.

A bit more:

In contrast with the large nuclear reactors in operation all over the world that have a generating capacity of about 1,000 megawatts-electric (MWe), micro-reactors are typically less than 10 MWe in size. These smaller reactor designs are well-suited for transportation to and installation at remote military bases, where they can provide both electricity and heat for years at a time without refueling. They are capable of operating independently of external electricity grids that could be vulnerable to threats, natural and otherwise, in areas where DOD bases operate.

Micro-reactors are thus capable of providing the resilient energy the military needs, providing primary power under normal and emergency conditions and enhancing DOD’s range of operations, endurance, agility and mission assurance.

The key thing here is that the fully fueled core inside of its containment vessel and radioactive shielding is small enough that it can be trucked to the site or flown in on a cargo plane. The cores are not refueled in the field, they are returned to the manufacturer for processing so the on-site maintenance is basically nil.

Second - two excellent postings. From Neutron Bytes:

INL’s Rita Baranwal Nominated to be DOE A/Sec of Nuclear Energy
The Idaho Falls Post Register reported this week that Rita Barta the head of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has been nominated to serve as the U.S. Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy.

The White House announced the nomination of Rita Baranwal, who heads GAIN, which DOE created in 2015 to support nuclear startups and help universities, industries and other private groups get nuclear technology to the market more quickly. GAIN is managed by Idaho National Laboratory.

Previously, Baranwal was director of technology development and application at Westinghouse. She was a manager in materials technology at Bechtel Bettis. She led research and development in nuclear fuels materials for U.S. naval reactors.

Two very solid and competent postings. We need people like this to advance the next generation of nuclear power. The designs we are using now were first scribbled onto a cocktail napkin over 60 years ago. Time for some more modern designs.

Senator Warren's $1 Million challenge

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President Trump once spoke about how he would give Senator Warren's favorite charity $1,000,000 if she took a DNA test and it came back positive. The conditions for this test were very specific. Now that a genetic scientist has found traces of North American genetic stock in Senator Warren, she is asking for President trump to pony up the cash.

Only problem is that our President outlined some very specific conditions for the test and these have not been met. Despite what the media is saying, you can watch what he said for yourself:


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Doing stir-fried bok choy for dinner instead of tacos. Want to do them while they are still fresh. Steam and then saute with ginger (already ground up) and garlic (same) and toasted sesame oil. Delicious over rice. Friday's farmers market was the last one for this season - I will miss it.

Do some more work in the garage after dinner.

Back to work - equipment barn

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Heading out to the equipment barn for another couple of hours. Starting to make a dent...

Heh - from Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Cherokee Nation responds to Senator Warren’s DNA test
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued the following statement Monday in response to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test claiming Native Heritage:

"A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America," Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. "Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage."

That will leave a mark... Couldn't have happened to a more deserving hypocrite.

Very cool - President Trump

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He signed a great piece of legislation - from CNBC:

Trump signs ‘right-to-try’ allowing gravely ill patients to bypass FDA for experimental medicines
President Donald Trump signed the controversial “right-to-try” bill into law on Wednesday, which bypasses drug regulators to give gravely ill patients access to experimental medicines.

The legislation allows patients with life-threatening conditions to ask drugmakers for medicines that have cleared some testing but still haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Previously, patients would need to ask the FDA for access to experimental treatments.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had been major supporters of passing the measure, which proponents say gives patients hope they would not otherwise have. Last week the House of Representatives approved the bill, the same version the Senate passed in August.

Wonderful - if someone is at the end of their rope, they deserve to be able to try experimental medication. I certainly would want this option.

Deferred maintenance in California

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California has serious cash-flow problems. Many of the wealthy taxpayers are leaving the state all the while that CA is providing more and more "social services" to its indigent population. I-5 is a joke.

Looks like the electric utility is showing signs of deferred maintenance too - from Utility Dive:

In a first, PG&E cuts power to 60,000 to prevent wildfires during wind storm

    • Pacific Gas & Electric cut off electricity service to nearly 60,000 people on Sunday in a new attempt to prevent wildfires across Northern California service area during high winds and dry conditions.
    • The National Weather Service on Saturday issued a Red Flag Warning for the region, cautioning of extreme risk of wildfires due to low humidity and winds reaching above 50 miles per hour. High winds can cause power lines to come into contact with vegetation, igniting fires.
    • PG&E lines were found responsible for 16 fires last year and California lawmakers passed wildfire liability protections for utilities this summer after PG&E warned that fire costs could force it into bankruptcy or reorganization.

Geee Mr. Wizard - if PG&E had bothered to maintain these lines - clearing vegetation - they would not have had to do that. Sounds like classic California planning to me. A big problem is that the management has no accountability. If they are caught in flagrante delicto, they are just moved to another position - frequently with a promotion.

Talk about fast - from Phys-Org:

World's fastest camera freezes time at 10 trillion frames per second
What happens when a new technology is so precise that it operates on a scale beyond our characterization capabilities? For example, the lasers used at INRS produce ultrashort pulses in the femtosecond range (10-15 s), which is far too short to visualize. Although some measurements are possible, nothing beats a clear image, says INRS professor and ultrafast imaging specialist Jinyang Liang. He and his colleagues, led by Caltech's Lihong Wang, have developed what they call T-CUP: the world's fastest camera, capable of capturing 10 trillion (1013) frames per second. This new camera literally makes it possible to freeze time to see phenomena—and even light—in extremely slow motion.

Doc Edgerton? From Infogalactic:

Harold Eugene Edgerton
Harold Eugene Edgerton also known as Papa Flash (April 6, 1903 – January 4, 1990) was a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is largely credited with transforming the stroboscope from an obscure laboratory instrument into a common device. He also was deeply involved with the development of sonar and deep-sea photography, and his equipment was used by Jacques Cousteau in searches for shipwrecks and even the Loch Ness monster.

His memorial website at MIT is worth checking out if you are at all interested in high-speed photography. Some amazing images.

Back to the farm - loading up some more

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Break for a quick snack - another gorgeous day so spending the time loading totes.

Tested my Square account for the first time - worked with my phone and a reciept printer I had. Needed a special cable but that was $7 from Amazon.

Tacos for dinner and an early day tomorrow - getting the van in for an oil change at 10AM

Another day, another 30 totes

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I have more than I realized. The piles are neverending. Heading out for coffee and checking in at the store and then in to the condo for another load.

Got a bunch of stuff from the garage tossed last night - feels good!

Time to hit the garage

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Working out there until I feel tired. Got a lot done but so much more to do. Neverending at times.

'Tis the season - Thriller

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Great '30's Jazz cover of Michael Jackson's Thriller by Postmodern Jukebox featuring Wayne Brady:

Illegal immigrants in the news again

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Looks like they are being registered to vote in California - from The Sacramento Bee:

Non-citizens may have been added to voter rolls, DMV says
An internal audit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles released Monday shows about 1,500 customers may have been improperly registered to vote.

“Approximately 1,500 customers may have been registered to vote in error,” the DMV wrote in a letter Monday to the Secretary of State’s Office. “This error has been corrected and is separate from the processing error we notified you about in writing on September 5.” Non-citizens are among the affected customers, according to Jessica Gonzalez, a DMV spokeswoman.

In early September, the DMV revealed it sent 23,000 erroneous voter registrations. These additional 1,500 errors occurred when DMV technicians processed customer requests at field offices to change voter eligibility responses on driver license applications.

The people who work at the DMV are not elected and have zero accountability to the citizens of California. I am betting that the numbers are much much higher.

Living inside Hillary's brain

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David Catron writing at Spectator:

Neither she nor her party can be trusted with power anymore
Many Americans have been wondering when the Democrats are finally going to calm down and accept the will of the voters as expressed in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton provided the answer Tuesday afternoon — never. She clearly believes that Republican control of Congress or the Presidency is, by definition, illegitimate and must be resisted by any means necessary. During an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour she said, “[Y]ou cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.” She went on to say that “civility can start again” when the Democrats regain control of the government.

She declared, in other words, that the peaceful transfer of power which has long been the hallmark of our system of government now applies only when her side wins and that she won’t stop stoking unrest until the “deplorables” learn their place: “But until then,” she said, “the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.” By “strength” she means “violence,” as experienced by Republicans Steve Scalise and Rand Paul. The last time leading Democrats utilized such irresponsible language was in 1860, when their refusal to accept the result of an election caused a war that got 600,000 Americans killed.

If this analogy seems over the top, consider that she has been employing this kind of rhetoric for nearly two years and has worked her minions into such a demented state that the Senate had to be converted into an armed camp last week to guarantee the safety of Republicans carrying out what should have been a dignified and sedate process — the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice.

David goes on to cite examples of this Democratic civility towards their other members. Example after example after example. All of them need to go sit in the corner for a ten year time-out while the adults in the room get our Nation and economy back into order.

The 9th Circuit Court is in San Francisco and has consistently been the most liberal of all courts in the nation. Sometimes to the detriment of our Constitution. Now it is 10% less crazy - from The Sacramento Bee:

Trump defies California senators with 9th Circuit judge nominations
After months of negotiations and delays, the White House is moving to fill California’s three vacancies on the influential 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — over the strenuous objections of the state’s two Democratic senators.

White House officials had been negotiating with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, earlier in the year about filling these and other federal court vacancies in the state. But that dialogue collapsed this past summer, Senate aides said.

On Wednesday night, the Trump administration announced it was nominating three attorneys to the 9th Circuit, the largest and busiest federal appeals court in the country. Among the thorny issues the court has tackled or could decide on are the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program for undocumented young people brought to the country as children, the president’s travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries, and a lawsuit challenging the White House’s attempts to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.

The White House also announced nominees for three district court vacancies in California on Wednesday.

Heh - feel the butt-hurt. Not only liberal, the 9th is by far the most reversed court when the decision is presented to the Supreme Court:


Data from Bloomberg Law

Standards are good

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That is why we have so many of them. Batteries? There are AAA, AA, C, D and 9volt radio batteries right? Nope - here is a list of over 70 different battery sizes and designations.

Who would have thought...

Done for the day

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Heating up some pulled pork and got a couple of the Costco premium dinner rolls toasting in the oven.

Just finished a big salad - hit the farmer's market last Friday and picked up some 'maters and nice lettuce - yummy!

Working in the garage tonight - sorting through stuff - have the tractor parked right outside the garage door for stuff to go to the dumpster.

At the farm for a couple of days

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Loading more stuff to go to the condo for the big tool garage sale.

Gorgeous day today so working in the barn and outside while I have daylight. Thawing out some pulled pork (picked up some BBQ sauce today on the way up) for dinner.

That is it for tonight

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YouTube for a little while. Heading back to the farm tomorrow for another load. Have the van in for an oil-change Tuesday so spending a few days up there.

Great to see people standing up for what they believe - from FOX News:

Dave Chappelle defends Kanye West's Donald Trump meeting: 'I support him'
Comedian Dave Chappelle has shown support for his "brother" Kanye West after the rapper's controversial meeting with President Trump on Thursday.

In a new interview with CNN host Van Jones, Chappelle was asked his opinion about his friend's now famous visit to the White House.

“First of all, you know, Kanye’s an artist, man. He’s a genius.” Chappelle said. “I think the angle he’s seeing things from is about the division that he sees. And he’s not inconsistent with what he’s saying."

To be filed under: "People who get it..." Cartoonist A.F. Branco nails it:


Life in the people's republic

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Things are going to get worse and worse before they get better - from the Los Angeles Times:

L.A. typhus outbreak adds fuel to the debates over homelessness and housing
A man hospitalized for dehydration a few months ago at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center started suffering a severe fever, and doctors weren’t sure why.

The patient was homeless, a clue to doctors that he might have typhus. Every year people contract flea-borne typhus in Southern California, mostly in Los Angeles County. Doctors did a blood test.

“We sent it off, and lo and behold — typhus,” County-USC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brad Spellberg said.

Since July, there have been nine cases of typhus in downtown Los Angeles, six of which infected homeless people, prompting health officials last week to declare an outbreak there. There have also been 20 cases in Pasadena this year, far more than the five typically seen there annually.

Typhus outbreaks are often associated with poor hygiene and overcrowding. Los Angeles officials say they’re corralling stray animals that could carry fleas, cleaning streets and encouraging people to treat their pets for fleas and put away trash that may attract infected animals.

California has set themselves up as a mecca for homeless people - problem is that they lack the backbone to call it a mental health issue (or sometimes a motivation issue) and treat it as such. They are offering a lot of palliative care at great expense but not addressing the root issue.

Typically, the problem will grow and grow until you have a serious public health issue. The good citizens are being ruled by a cultural elite that maintains themselves out of touch with the reality on the street.

Triangle trade again

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Moved some heavy equipment to the condo and another bunch of totes to the storage locker on the island. Keeping very little of the horde. Feels good to get rid of all this stuff - make some nice money off it too...

Farm tomorrow for another day of schlepping and driving.

Another morning at the farm

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Going through the equipment barn and sorting tools. Coffee and store first.

A bad week for space telescopes

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First Hubble and now Chandra - from the Chandra homepage:

Chandra Enters Safe Mode; Investigation Underway
At approximately 1355 GMT on October 10, 2018, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory entered Safe Mode, where the telescope’s instruments are put into a safe configuration, critical hardware is swapped to back-up units, the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight, and the mirrors point away from the Sun. Analysis of available data indicates the transition to safe mode was nominal, i.e., consistent with normal behavior for such an event. All systems functioned as expected and the scientific instruments are safe. The cause of the Safe Mode transition is currently under investigation, and we will post more information when it becomes available.

Chandra is 19 years old, which is well beyond the original design lifetime of 5 years. In 2001, NASA extended its lifetime to 10 years. It is now well into its extended mission and it is expected to continue carrying out forefront science for many years to come.

Ninteen years is not a bad run as things go but still, it is a shame to lose such an excellent machine.

At the farm for a few days

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Stopped at the last Camano Farmer's Market of the 2018 season and got some produce. Had dinner on the road and just got back to the farm. Concentrating on large equipment these next couple of loads - two forges, a large floor-standing vice (post vice), two welders plus plasma torch, etc... A lot of these are older items and I am taking the proceeds of their sale and purchasing new units.

There have been some nice technology developments with welders especially using microprocessors to control the welding current - makes for a much more precise weld as well as flexibility. You can now have one box that does MIG, TIG and Stick for steel, stainless steel and aluminum as well as TIG Brazing.

Surf for a little bit but feeling tired - slept too long yesterday.

Best laid plans...

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Was planning to go up to the farm today but had a couple things that needed doing and it was 4:30 by the time I finished. Had dinner (a vegetarian burrito) and then went to our Preparedness Group monthly meeting - about 40 people there tonight.

Got a lot done today, just not what I had expected. Farm tomorrow. Early night - YouTube and bed.

Cleaning up down here and then heading out for coffee, post office, storage locker, the transfer station and then back to the farm. Do it all over again.

Gorgeous day today too - a bit of fog but that should burn off soon. Making hay while the sun shines...

That is it for me for tonight.

Triangle trade

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Back on the island - productive day. Loaded about 30 totes of tools and took them to the condo and then another 10 totes to go to the storage locker here. It is a lot easier to have two totes when sorting and just toss the tool into one of them. I will eventually (when all the remodeling is done) be building one of these workbenches in the garage so all the tools will have their own home and be out of sight when not in use. I will be building more of the vertical drawers than he has in his design.

Details of the cool tool storage are at 4:30 or so - here is a link to there This way, each drawer has one kind of tool and you do not accumulate clutter as you would with a flat drawer.

Back to the farm tomorrow (not stopping at the condo) - the weather is going to be really nice for the next week or so so I want to get this busted out. Once I get all the tools moved over, I will be also doing the technology and music (the second sale) as well as the brewing and culinary (third sale) and loading these items into the house living space. I will be holding the sales in the garage - easier to keep track of who is doing what. Slowly but surely, the house is emptying out. Feels great and there is a lot of local interest in the sale.

Triangle Trade? Here is the story

Busy day

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Spent last night on the island as I had three totes with tools that are surplus to my needs. Got them at the condo for the big tool sale. At the farm now - gorgeous day so clearing out the equipment barn.

Radio meeting was informative. Lots of people writing to the FCC regarding this ruling.

More later - going to try for a second run into the condo today...

Quick flip

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At the farm loading up some more totes for the condo. Spending some time in town tonight as the Mt. Baker Amateur Radio Club is hosting an interesting speaker. I had posted earlier about how this administration is trying to limit the import of the brand of Chinese radio that a lot of hams (including myself) are using. Here is a link to that post: Buy it now - BaoFeng

Tonight's speaker is going to talk about this and fill us in on what we can do. Late night in store but a good one. Munching on a pita and hummus snack - late lunch or early dinner. Out the door...

Off for the day

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Got a full van - driving it into Bellingham to unload at the condo. Hoping to get two trips in today.

Got some nice dinner rolls from Costco today - have two for dinner (they are on the large size) and freeze the rest. Another hour or so of loading the van and then dinnertime.

Dinner was awesome. Didn't have any BBQ sauce at all so made some with ketchup, brown sugar, white vinegar and chinese hot-oil. Came out quite nice. Feeling a bit sleepy so watching some YouTube and heading to an early bedtime. Got the van loaded up and planning to do two trips to the condo tomorrow - getting some of the big stuff - welders (two), plasma torch, etc...

Well crap - Hubble

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Bad news - from the Beeb:

Hubble telescope hit by mechanical failure
The Hubble Space Telescope is operating with only essential functions after it lost one of the gyroscopes needed to point the spacecraft.

The observatory, described as one of the most important scientific instruments ever created, was placed in "safe mode" over the weekend, while scientists try to fix the problem.

Hubble had been operating with four of its six gyroscopes when one of them failed on Friday.

The telescope was launched in 1990.

After the gyro failure at the weekend, controllers tried to switch on a different one, but that was found to be malfunctioning. That leaves Hubble with only two fully functional gyros.

At any given time, Hubble needs three of its gyroscopes to work for optimal efficiency.

I know the Webb is scheduled to be launched in three years but this is a shame. The Hubble has done some amazing work. Wonder if the people at SpaceX have anything up their sleeves...

Yikes - big oil fire in Canada

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From Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Explosion and fire at Canada's largest oil refinery
An explosion and fire ripped through Canada's largest refinery Monday, injuring several workers in what its owner called a "major incident."

The blast was believed to be the result of a malfunction in the diesel refining section of the Irving Oil refinery in St John's, New Brunswick, said company executive Kevin Scott.

Officials said all the plant's workers were accounted for after the fire, and four people received hospital treatment for minor injuries.

Images posted on social media networks showed intermittent flames and a column of black smoke rising from the refinery, the country's largest with a production capacity of 300,00 barrels of refined products a day.

Thank God that everyone is accounted for - that could have turned out horrible.

Coal is King

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Despite all the demonization, coal has its uses and with current technology, it is clean to use. From Forbes:

The U.S. Coal Export Boom To Asia
There are many, many falsehoods out there about coal. The biggest, of course, is that "coal is dead," an organized effort to scare away potential investors of the world's most vital source of electricity. Indeed, the reality is quite different than what some insist that you believe. In fact, coal is still the main source of power in a leading 18 U.S. states, and still supplies almost 30% of American power. " Does that sound like an energy source that is...."dead?"

Globally, coal is even more alive. "Think the Big Banks Have Abandoned Coal? Think Again." Even a solar magazine admits: "China to add 259 GW of coal capacity, satellite imagery shows." For reference, 259 GW is more than twice the amount of power capacity that mighty Texas has FROM ALL SOURCES.

Now Asia - which accounts for close to 80% of total global coal usage - is increasingly turning to the U.S. to supply coal. We are still the world's third largest coal producer. The U.S. supplies both types, met coal to produce steel and steam coal to produce electricity. "U.S. coal exports increased by 61% in 2017 as exports to Asia more than doubled."

Nuke - specifically LFTR - is the way of the future but we have about 400 years of coal in the ground that we now know about. Here is a great edited video explaining LFTR in five minutes.

Back to work

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At the farm for a few days loading tools to the condo. Took a break for a late lunch - back to work. Cold and wet outside.

President Trump unloads

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Speaking truth to power:

From Associated Press:

Pompeo: ‘Significant progress’ made on NKorea denuke trip
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made “significant progress” toward an agreement for the North to give up its nuclear weapons. While significant work remains to be done, he said he expected further results after an as-yet unscheduled second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.

“It’s a long process,” Pompeo told a small group of reporters in the South Korean capital of Seoul where he traveled after meeting with Kim in Pyongyang on Sunday. “We made significant progress. We’ll continue to make significant progress and we are further along in making that progress than any administration in an awfully long time.”

He would not be specific but said he and Kim had agreed to shortly begin working-level talks on the nuts and bolts of denuclearization, on the placement of international inspectors at one of North Korea’s main nuclear facilities, and had come close to finalizing a date and venue for the next Kim-Trump summit.

Trump, tweeting from Washington shortly after Pompeo left North Korea, cited progress Pompeo had made on agreements he and Kim came to at their June meeting in Singapore and said, “I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim again, in the near future.′

The world gets a significant reduction of threat, Kim gets his McDonalds in Pyongyang and President Trump cleans up yet another problem that the last 10 Presidents could not touch.

Uncovering the deep state

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Great - more, faster, please:

More - information and background - at The Last Refuge

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