Tuesday, May 27, 2014


There are currently two main proven methods to separate salt from salt water. The first is
Distillation and the second is Reverse Osmosis.

The Distillation process is simple, at least on the surface.

This is a simplistic example of how anyone can do it right in your own kitchen.

Get a pot and put an empty glass (Pyrex or metal is safer) cup inside in the center.
Slowly pour some salt water into the pot. Do not over fill. Stop well before the water level has reached the mouth of the glass. Make sure no salt water splashes into the glass while boiling.
Place the pot cover upside down so the highest point or handle is facing down directly above the glass.
Bring the water to a slow boil. A violent full boil can contaminate the drinking water by splashing into the glass.
As the water boils it becomes vapour, which condenses in the air as steam and on the cover's surface as water droplets, which then runs down to the lowest point (the handle) and drips right into the glass. As you probably know, when water boils, it becomes pure vapour, leaving behind anything that was dissolved in it. (This will probably take 20 minutes or more.)

To wait a little while before drinking the water from inside the glass should be obvious, since both the water and the glass will be very hot.

Distillation on a large scale, in which raw salt water is evaporated and then condensed as freshwater, requires high temperatures and a ton of energy, so that method is used mainly in the Middle East where oil is plentiful.
Also using the rejected waste heat from power plant operations can cut energy expenditures greatly, when available.

More commonly, however, desalinization plants rely on a technology called RO, which is based on running the salt water through high-tech polymer membranes that let the water through but block the dissolved salts.
Scientists call this phenomenon Osmosis.
In the 1950’s and 60’s scientists realized they could reverse the process by applying pressure to the more concentrated solution, causing water molecules to traverse the membrane, leaving behind condensed brine.
To counter the osmotic pressure that arises between the solutions and force the water back through the membrane, the plants have to use extremely high pressures of 1,000, to 1,200 pounds per square inch.
These advances, in combination with energy-recovery devices are slowly but surely making desalinization more affordable.
Current RO facilities desalinize seawater for 68 to 90 cents per cubic meter. The average delivery price of municipal water in the U.S. is around 60 cents per cubic meter.
Presently there are some 13,000 desalinization plants producing 13.8 billion gallons of potable water a day in operation. But that is only a half percent of global daily water use.

So after presenting some facts about the current science behind desalination,
I think it’s time the whole world got serious about this growing problem.
If you agree with most reputable scientists that we are in the throes of a global warming period in human history regardless of it’s ultimate timetable, or duration, don’t you agree that now’s a good time to start investing in whatever it takes to work with what Mother Nature laid at our shores. After all, there is more ocean than land on this blue ball floating in the heavens we were graciously allowed to exist on.
If you believe in anything, that fact alone should tell us something of our fate, much less the blessings we often so easily ignore.

Even though this is a world wide issue, I don’t live, nor am responsible for the world, so I’d like to concentrate only on California with my BS, err, I mean humble opinions.

California’s worsening drought is raising the stakes for a $15 billion plan endorsed by Governor Jerry Brown to build two 30-mile water tunnels under an ecologically sensitive river delta east of San Francisco Bay.
The tunnels, each as wide as a two-lane interstate highway, would ship water more reliably from northern California to thirsty farms and cities in the south.

The next proposed gigantic expenditure is the California High-Speed Rail system. The latest price estimate by the Authority for a Full Build option is $91.4 billion according to the 2012 Business Plan.
It’s projected by 2029, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations.

So, here’s my humble proposal. Take the combined cost of $106.4 Billion for both those questionable projects along with any other wasteful government expenditures (can you imagine how much that would be?) and instead apply every penny of that money to establish a high tech modern, fully equipped science center. Then find the best and brightest scientists that can be recruited. For the sole purpose of coming up with whatever it takes to make the Desalination process a financially viable and doable product.  Make this a 24/7 operation with only one goal. That would be to make water a complete non-issue, not only in California but also in the entire world community.

Part of my humble premise is based on the fact that I’ve always considered the human scientific mind to be literally mankind’s ultimate savior in every way. Whatever your beliefs about our place and how we got here, it’s a stone cold fact we arrived with not only a fully functioning mind but minds that continually grow and prosper as time moves us toward whatever fate we’re destined to explore and enjoy.
So therefore, I’ve always thought we should not only revere sciences exalted place in the scheme of life but never get in it’s way with our small sometimes narrow minded approach toward new findings and discoveries. 
To put in simply:

Let Science be!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Drought and other nonsense

Well, contrary to the consistently wrong doom and gloomers, California looks like it’s going to survive the as usual freak out news projected and almost revered drought of all droughts, after all.
As I set here today once more letting my humble (ha) mind roam freely, I’m looking out the window to another gorgeous, nay, almost perfect California day after a pretty good little rain everyone was saying might not ever happen again in our lifetime.
I’m not sure if it could be any more perfect. Large puffy cumulous clouds dancing their dance of rejuvenation across a sky with blue patches interspersed throughout. Along with a slight breeze ruffling both the living leaves hanging and spent ones scuttling across the road out front, looking for a resting place to return to and feed the Earth.

And on the future weather horizon, the predictions call for more gentle rains coming up, furthering the falsehood absurdities tossed around by the doomers that the “end is near” as far as California “for sure man” drying up and blowing away as referenced by the Dust Bowl years of long ago in Oklahoma.
I’m sure the poor folks living there were sure as could be that life as they knew it was a done deal then but alas, eventually everything turned back to “normal”. At this time I’m sure the good folks of Okalahoma only shake their heads and roll their collective eyes at the false notion that “the end is near” then, now, nor into the foreseeable future.

Speaking of the weather, I’ve long thought that what was needed with all the weather services was a simple bit of the truth. For instance, when they predict a blasting storm front on the way and it peters out, as they oft tend to do, they should the next day say something like: “Man did we screw that one up.” With a small guilty shrug of the shoulders and smile. Then if they must, they could go on to explain how they could have been so very wrong, which usually would consist of Ma nature not following their made up rules.
But as you know, the next day, they pretend nothing was out of the ordinary at all, just showing us the radar views of the non-existent storm, as if it never were predicted just last night.  

“The Truth”….What a convoluted concept that turns out to be in this new and improved day and age we find ourselves in huh?
One day it’s an unequivocal scientifically proven fact that the yolks of eggs are the devil incarnate.
Originally, the egg received a bad reputation with regard to cardiovascular health, as one large egg contains approximately 187 milligrams of cholesterol. Now new studies show that the caution may have been an exaggeration and conclude that eggs are fine and may even improve your health, as they contain nutrients difficult to find in other foods.
Just the fact that our grandparents consumed at the least a few eggs a day and lived healthfully on into their old age might give a hint also.

Old Truth: Coconut oil is a saturated fat body bomb that should be avoided.
New Truth: Coconut oil can cure what ails you.

Old Truth: Coffee equals caffeine equals bad for you.
New Truth: Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients. Plus a little caffeine makes the world go around.

Old Truth: Salt kills. It raises blood pressures, causes hypertension and increases the risk of premature death.
New Truth: Salt is essential to health. Too little salt can actually lead to premature death.

Those interesting examples of how truth can change with time bring me to the present day news sources. I don’t know about you but as I was growing up, it sure seemed that whatever Walter Cronkite and those esteemed newscasters told us back then was basically “The Truth”.
Never having been a “newsie nutcase”, I have no idea if there were opposing or contrary opinions or others accusing their ilk of having “Slanted or spun” views of the world events they nightly portrayed, but it seemed everyone I knew took what they said as “The Truth”.

What we have now seems diametrically opposed to what was presented to the masses back then.
Now we seem to receive nothing but extremism spun to the ninth degree opinions from both sides of the political isle now, having no real connection to any kind of real time tested verifiable truths.
With both proclaiming the other side guilty of spinning “The Truth” to Mars and back, what we have now to digest is mostly ignorant robotically repeated nonsense having more to do with each individuals political agenda than any kind of solid truths.

Another thing I find interesting is both sides of the extremist morons truly believe they are members of the vast majority with their political agendas, when in fact they are a tiny minority of folks only roboting whatever they are told to think by some radio nut job or entertainment news source pretending to know something.
Another thing I find nuts are those relatively regular folks on both extreme sides who start thinking they are somehow experts on incredibly complicated world issues. This is while some of the best minds in the world are in a constant struggle trying to do the right thing for mankind.

In my humble (there he goes again) opinion most world issues have a dozen, if not far more shades of gray to take into account before attempting any decision-making. To try and see them through any extremist black or white lens is beyond nutso, it’s flat ass idiocy and solves nothing except furthering ignorance, hate, blame and confusion between what would be mostly normal caring Americans.
If possible, we need to start attempting to solve issues through commonality born clear thinking, not extremist ideologies dug up straight from the bomb shelters and basements of the lowest common denominators of humankind.