Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I lost 20 pounds when I was in the hospital for a month. I had two tubes sticking out of my back and was essentially immobile. Then when I left, I spent two months not sleeping and struggling for air. Now, I have a new inhaler and I sleep well and am far more mobile.

Here is a picture of the tube they took out of my back. It was embedded up to black stop. The light switch indicates its length which was over 14 inches. It is attached to the bandages that held it and the other tube in place on my back. The other tube had been pulled a week earlier.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


This is the DVD made in 2004 of one of my speeches to young people in schools. This video was made by my neighbor, Dan Zirbes, who is a jack of all trades and a very smart person.  I spoke to more than 2000 youngsters around Central Minnesota.
I also had billboards up all around on major highways.  See below

This opens with a three dimensional view of
 my chest from my very first CT scan.
The purple mass is my tumor,
the red organ is my heart.  



Some of the kids held fun raisers and put the billboards up themselves.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Many living at the top of the energy consumption pyramid fervently believe there is a green, sustainable, renewable clean energy available for our future.  Much of this belief is founded in the fervent wish to maintain a significant aspect of our present energy way of life.  To foster and support this belief, a couple of parables help us understand how factual this might be.

A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here, and the drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. The policeman asks why he is searching here, and the drunk replies, "This is where the light is."

This parable offers several insights.  First the obvious, that we look where it is easiest to see.  But there is I believe a deeper lesson, that we look where we want to see. 

This next parable adds a second dimension to seeing the truth concerning green, sustainable and renewable devices for the future. 

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."
They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who
touched his leg.

"Oh, no! It is like a rope," said the second man who touched
the tail.

"Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan," said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. 
wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?" 
They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. 
The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant.
So, actually the elephant has all those features as you all said."

Clearly a primary lesson of this parable is the need to see the whole picture.

When you look at solar energy collecting devices:

Is this your image?

Or do you  imagine this?


Text Box:



So what do you think of when you call something green?
Or call something renewable?
Or call something sustainable?


Grass is green but that is not what you mean, not the color.  Do you mean it doesn’t harm the earth?  If so do you see the whole elephant or only look where you want to find the key?

How about renewable?  Do you mean it can create itself?  If so, are you saying it can duplicate itself?  If so, are you talking about all the parts renewing themselves – panels, inverters, controllers, all their internal parts, batteries, wiring and all that is mentioned in the box above.  Does it create itself like a horse or an oak tree?  What do you mean when you say it is renewable?

Sustainable – for how long?  When I plant my garden, part of it I put into clover to build the soil for the following years.  Where do I get the clover?  If I grow it myself, I deplete that soil somewhat when I harvest seed (harvesting with personal or machine energy).  If  I buy the seed, do I let someplace else consider how to deal with the depletion?  There simply is no free lunch.


There is the assumption that humans will change their ways and conserve energy and not consume, consume, consume. This is akin to Jevons' paradox (perhaps there is one more germaine). If the energy is available, what will stop continued consumption of tools and toys? Who will go first with this restraint and restricting? Think of the uproar if legislated.

I think it is incredibly difficult to wrap our heart, mind and spirit around the massive changes facing us. A world no longer powered by fossil fuels, no matter what incarnation, is almost inconceivable and for many terrifying.   It is indeed traumatic for what it might (probably) means not just for us but also for our love ones, children, grandchildren. Our hearts break. We want to fix it. So we do more technology and more ultimate harm.

It is comforting to prefer the noise of delusional magical thinking and pretending that the system of perpetual growth can work forever; that some variant of business as usual can persist.  There is just too much tied up with it and any unraveling would be far too chaotic and unpredictable. Wrapping our heads around the eventualities of global warming; of overshoot; of the desecration of world wildlife; of the acidification of the oceans; of the poisoning of pollinators stymies.

We are slowly technologizing ourselves into extinction. Technology is seductive. Is it the power? Is it the comfort? Or is it some internal particularly human attribute that drives it? Technology surrounds us and becomes part of our story and myths. Technology tantalizes the human mind to make, combine, invent. There are always unintended consequences with technology. It affects how we experience the world in time and space. It affects how we feel about the world. If all the externalities were included in the prices and cost to nature, we would be very, very wary of technology.

I think we have moved from technology in the service of religion (pyramids and gothic cathedrals) to religion and culture in the service of technology. It isn't a deity that will save humanity but in the eyes of many - it will be technology.

We will do more of the same, business as usual until there are no more holes in the ground to dig, no more water above and below to contaminate, no humans to wage slave, no other lifeforms to eliminate. Yes, we are building Trojan horses in our hearts, minds and spirits. It will be elitist and entitlement and hubris – it will end with both a bang and a whimper.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Electrical constraint and inequality

Electrical constraint and inequality

Solar and wind energy collecting devices are extensions of the fossil fuel supply system and the global industrial infrastructure.  These devices will not be made without these inputs unless someone has a magic wand.  (see:  I am proposing that solar and wind energy collecting devices are business as usual, if we do not impose constraints on all energy and other natural resource use. 

In addition, without constraints on electrical usage (toys and tools) then the gross inequality globally will continue with solar and wind energy underwriting it.  Without constraints solar and wind devices and their auxiliary accessories are elitist equipment of the entitled.

This opens two critical questions of the energy/electricity that we are requiring.  How do we bring more equitable distribution of energy resources?  Is this imbalance and the consequent strife our destiny and our demise?

What do we need the energy for? This must be one of the mantras for survival now and tomorrow. Imagine beginning at the earth resources –the mine and the well- and the subsequent flow of these products. This creates a tremendous picture in motion of "energy" and resources flowing around the world. It is a Catch 22; we can't live with it and can't live presently without it. 

I took the table from this site:

I copied it to an Excel spread sheet.  I rank ordered the least energy use to the most, and then did an accumulation of population from least energy use to most.  I could then look at what 50% or 80% of the world’s population used compared to the USofA.  (The table is at the end.  Sorry I can't get it larger)

Caveat:  these figures are approximate however, realistic.

Caveat: The per capita electric use is misleading.
The wealth get the lion's share of the energy.

- people living in countries in the top half of "energy-per-capita consuming countries" consume more than 90% of all electricity consumed (or more than 1.8 times an equitable share);

- people living in countries in the top 20% of "energy-per-capita consuming countries" consume almost 57% of all electricity consumed (or roughly 2.8 times an equitable share);

- people living in countries in the top 10% of "energy-per-capita consuming countries" consume almost 40% of all electricity consumed (or roughly 4 times an equitable share); and

- people living in countries in the top 5% of "energy-per-capita consuming countries" consume about 25% of all electricity consumed (or about 5 times an equitable share).

Even that is misleading, because all the products made elsewhere 
and shipped to the USA add to the electrical (and total energy) 
available for our consumption.

So again I ask what do we want the electricity for? 
How will we use the electricity from these solar and wind energy capturing devices? 
This isn’t a trick question.  There is no hidden trap.
It however is a question that I ask of promoters of these devices and I get no answer. 
So it is business as usual.  Put up as many wind turbines and solar collecting devices as the earth can bear.  Build all the auxiliary equipment to run these devices.  Consume by mining, refining, fabricating, manufacturing and transporting all the toys and tools we want to use.
It is like a person diagnosed with lung cancer saying he/she will just smoke these organic, non sprayed cigarettes for a little bit longer instead of facing the reality of the situation, quitting and having the operation.   
Lament climate change but blind yourself to the energy and resource needs of these devices.

Can we honestly call ourselves green? Call ourselves renewable? Call ourselves sustainable?

Set the consequences to the global economy aside, what do we really need?  What devices.

We cannot ask “what can we get rid of?”

We must start at the most basic –
“What devices, what functions do we need?”

Pumps for our water?

If there was a “game” and you were given one quarter of the electricity you now use (which is what the 80% have) or even one half of what you now use, what would you choose? 

How much electricity does an American home use?
In 2013, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,908 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 909 kWh per month. Louisiana had the highest annual consumption at 15,270 kWh, and Hawaii had the lowest at 6,176 kWh.

What is other?

Above we indicated residential.  Think about all those panels
on roof tops, with inverters, controllers and batteries.

How about this electrical usage:

What are we using the 60% industrial and commercial electricity for?  Are we lighting up car lots at night commercially?  How about Times Square of its equivalent?

Industrially, what are we making with this electricity?  Critically necessary products?

We must start at the most basic –
“What devices, what functions do we need?”

As stated in the beginning without constraints on electrical usage (toys and tools) then the gross inequality globally will continue with solar and wind energy underwriting it.  Without constraints solar and wind devices and their auxiliary accessories are elitist equipment of the entitled.

So are we talking about solar devices and their auxiliary equipment on each of these homes?