Another rant re potential electric power sources

In my opinion it is probably wise to diversify electric power sources, and including more nuclear powerplants as part of that. Ours is an energy-powered civilization, and electric power is a major part of civilization's lifeblood, an essential for its survival. Wind power, hydroelectric power, ground-based solar-electric power, wave power, tidal power, biomass fuel conservation, as well as nuclear need to be brought online intelligently. Yet, we are still missing the best option of all, in my opinion.

That the corporate-interest-influenced government chose to suppress KESTS to GEO (Kinetic Energy Supported Transportation Structure to Geostationary Earth Orbit) along with the space-solar electric powerplants it was uniquely able to lift and enable being maintained cheaply, seems irrational to me; but is understandable if wealth and influence is running the show instead of looking out for the country's future ... with the transportation means to build and maintain endless quantities of solar powerplants in GEO, America could have become a major world energy exporter instead of being forever entangled in fossil fuel struggles and wars, and thus KESTS-lifted space solar-electric powerplants made much more sense to me for long range economical energy provisioning for civilization. Surely the remaining fossil fuels will be far more needed in the future for materials uses than mere burning for energy generation.

But political power games rule. The timing was right in step: after a dozen years of effort, the KESTS to GEO concept had finally gotten peer-reviewed and published ("ASCE Space and Robotics 2000" conference proceedings, 2000) just a year and a half before "9/11" happened and we took the bait, squandering the money we could have used to build KESTS to GEO and the plentiful solar-electric SPS powerplants in GEO so that we would be independent of middle-east oil, freed of the stranglehold of foreign oil for energy to run our nation, and a major energy exporter to the world. But no, we took the bait. Check the news for the result, are we trapped in Iraq, getting more scared of other nations, noticing the environmental damage of uses of petrochemicals for energy fuel? Democracy does not always pass the test.

And yes, there are other things to consider, too, in the contemplation of the scenario of creation and usage of KESTS to GEO. Similar to the construction of railroad tracks, there is a contest for usage of the terrain crossed by the tracks; yet the carrying capacity of the railroad enables vastly more utilization of wherever it goes, enabling totally new and immense opportunities; the centrifugal-force-supported KESTS to GEO lifting structure would occupy the equatorial plane all the way from ground to Geostationary Earth Orbital altitude, and thus the 800 currently-working satellites below GEO -- including the ISS -- would need to have their functions moved up to GEO ... that is much like building new freeway through existing town, where the homes and businesses in the needed right-of-way are moved to a better location or purchased for a fair price ... same thing, part of the construction costs is to buy out that which already happens to be in the way of essential progress. But does anybody want to move? Not likely, since big changes to our ways usually are quite unwelcome if we ourselves did not choose them; life is already lots of struggle for most of us. Do we continue to choose to squat solidly in the path of progress needed for all our survival ... maybe with clear pathways shown to all directly involved, can loosen the stolidity.

How best to deal with the wonderful ISS still in construction in Low Earth Orbit, where it is fairly protected from radiation, is a real puzzler to me, however. That the fully scaled KESTS to GEO form of transportation could lift as much payload in an hour than all the Space Shuttles have ever moved or will move, is the key thing for decision. KESTS would be continuously operating, hour after hour, year after year, enabling absolutely immense construction projects unthinkable if limited to mere rocketry transportation from ground up to there, even nuclear powered rocketry. Perhaps the KESTS could be built to drop off the engines and fuel to boost the ISS up into GEO, and then to bring up the passive shielding mass of sawdust-reinforced water ice to pack around the ISS while in GEO for radiation protection. In the meantime, with engines and fuel, with careful orbital positioning and timing, the ISS could be jiggled side to side enough to miss the KESTS during those rare times they would have collided. Space is a big place. Playing a game with mass to react against to move out of the way at they pass in a jitterbug dance at 17,000 mph, then use a launched tether to pull the reaction mass to the ISS; this would save a lot of energy during the maneuver each time.

Maybe when I am out of the picture completely, some big-name bunch will change the name of "KESTS to GEO" to their own, and make fame and fortune big-time off of it, implying it was all their own idea. Business gaming sometimes can get despicable to me; but it has its own crafty rules it lives by, and somehow in the process incredible products sometimes happen. Even in Kindergarden, no matter how much I wanted to play with the other kids doing Rover Red Rover Come Over (they looked like they were having so much fun and I too wanted in on it!) having never learned rough-n-tumble, I never was able to get the hang of its required violence-by-the-rules and so I was banished by those who chose up the team membership ... and this has been a pattern re me from then on. I think rough-n-tumble interactive play's ways are more expected of us boys, however (although in Kindergarden the team captains tended to be girls, I recall), since vestiges of predatory bullying are still laced into our herd mammalian ways. It remains to be seen if our human lifeform's great experiment called civilization can be kept from terminally tripping itself up. Nonetheless, I must keep on doing my best for the survival of all of us, since that is part of responsibility.


Laughter is a tool to harm or to heal, you pick

Laughter is a tool; and like any tool, it can be used to build up beautifully, or to tear down destructively, depending on the motives of the applier. There is an old saying that "Man is the only animal that laughs and kills for pleasure." So with that sobering recollection, it seems wise to evaluate this thing called "laughter" which is loosed upon the world of people.

Laughing is relational, such as "laughing at", "laughing with" and "laughing for."

Laughing-at is basically a little assaultive, causing separation and provides ego sense of superiority by tearing down that which is laughed-at, thus raising the laugher up above the assaulted.

Laughing-with provides a special way of uniting cheerfully with other people; children often do this instinctively. It provides a sense of togetherness, acceptance, and of being OK with the group.

And laughing-for provides psychological and physiological benefits by the processes of doing laughing for the healing it brings to one's own well being. The physiological processes of laughter amazingly stimulate the body-mind to relieve stress, produce endorphins for comfort, and activate the immune system, better well being all around. And for free, too; but oneself has to do it to gain its benefits. It is a do-it kind of thing to make it work.

As I grew up, the comedian Bob Hope was my hero. He brought laughter into my life, about the only time I laughed. The wit he displayed as he told jokes which often "poked fun at" himself, provided a way of being that felt nice to me. A few others came along too, such as Jerry Lewis; all were bright times in my otherwise struggle of unknowingly-Asperger's life.

In High School I shifted toward escape into science, philosophy, and science fiction adventures; and gradually the contact and attention with laughter drifted away. Pity, as laughter could have helped me through the even tougher times that were coming up for me.

The few jokes my wife of a dozen years in the 1960's got etched into my mind and after she went on to greater adventures, I found I was living out her jokes as the butt of her jokes now being personalized. Amazing how powerful her ridiculing laughing jokes were on my life even decades after she was gone.

I learned about deliberate laughter for health in the early 1980's in a sermon by Dr. Robert Scott in San Jose, but my feeble efforts to pass it on to my then-girlfriend's rather tough teenagers was just met with cold stares; and so the usage quickly was lost. The turnaround for wholesome usage of laughter in my life was when I happened to attend an introductory workshop given by Dr Kataria, on Laughter Yoga, in Pasadena one evening. The experience was a struggle, as all new social experiences are to one who copes with Asperger's Syndrome; but the overall effect seemed desirable enough that I then joined the Pasadena Laughter Yoga Club, meeting Friday evenings for an hour of group Laughter Yoga instruction and practice with others.

The Laughter Yoga Club experience made amazing changes in the way I related to other people, although as the days went past between Friday evening meetings, I faded back to more like I was before; but some social relational benefits lingered on.

The Pasadena Laughter Yoga Club was led by Sebastien Gendry, another fortuitious happening. Maybe Saint Bob Hope is watching out for me.... Sebastien took note of my Asperger's social problem, as well as my computer skills, so after I had to move away due to excessive housing costs in the Los Angeles area, he stayed in touch via email and eventually made good his suggestion that I contribute to his Laughter Yoga website he was planning back then.

Now I do a small role on the website, moderating one of the forum sections, which gives me a sense of purpose while located out in the almost-affordable desert boonies beyond access to the refined experiences of the Natural History Museum research work in marine biology that was my other fascinating activity back then. This internet-accessed job requires me to look over the internet's findings where "laughter" is mentioned, and provides reminders of the many ways laughter is experienced by various kinds of people. Most of them still do the "laugh-at" kind of laughter.

Anyway, I can still remember the process of "laughing-with" others for the laughing-for well-being benefits of every one of us. Nobody or no thing the butt of any jokes, either, just pure healthy stuff for everybody. Really different from the far more frequent derisive form of laughter so prevalent elsewhere. Echoes of that experience still inspire me to sometimes do the motions for Laughter Yoga exercises here in my lonely old house, although with only reflection of observing parakeet's appreciation, it is a bit of struggle to reconstitute the laughing-for laughing-with experience. I feel sure my parakeet would do the clapping of hands patty-cake-like with me per Laughter Yoga protocol, if she had hands instead of wings to do that, as she chirps and hops around excitedly when I do the Laughter Yoga motions and sounds in front of her open cage door. Well, sure, my antics are probably only a little more interesting to watch than the blank side of the refrigerator that is her normal only thing to watch during the day.

Jim Cline

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We learn best by example

It is often said that people learn best by following the example set by someone else being observed.

This is in contrast with being taught by telling the students what to do, which as I recall was the dominant mode of teaching when I was in school.

So I now imagine what it might be for teachers to teach by example of themselves. A teacher could go through the process of discovering math, bit by bit, starting with an imagined need to know if the how many of something is enough to do something specific that is wanted to do; then the idea of counting things that are similar, and then making it easier than physically doing by using symbolic math to add up groups of things without actually putting the groups physically in one basket to determine how many is the sum, although that basketing would be done a few times to show how the teacher discovers that the more abstract math gives the same answer, as part of the going through the discovery of addition, subtraction, multiplication and into algebra, solid geometry, matrices, the increments of calculus, tensors and onward. Examples of how these numbers and mathematical processes, as applied to real things in the world, each step of the way. And examples of picking out which mathematical process or equation that is likely to provide predicted values the easy way, before doing it with more labor in the physical world.

Teaching by the teacher setting an example of themselves in front of the students. "Gee, look at what just happened when I did that! Wow! So what would happen if I ..."

Computer projection systems could bring the student into close observation of what the teacher is doing as part of his/her learning discovery process, no straining to see and hear from the back of the classroom, through distractions of horde of students backs and desks in between. It could be there right at student's desk terminal, close up of what is going on up there with the teacher.

Eventually computer terminals at each student desk could bring it even closer and provide for immediate feedback input by the student, too; and maybe some of that could be done via internet so student can learn much at home first, via computer watching the teacher go through the discovery process of what is being learned at the moment.

Sure, that makes the teacher a bit of an actor, pretending to not know something then going through the steps of learning by discovering firsthand, for the watching students (wherever they might be.) But is not the conventional teacher a bit of an actor, ever laying down the law of what is, portraying it over and over again to each class?

The recording of science experiments in nitty-gritty detail, as if being discovered for the first time, could portray increasingly complex knowledge, which would also have the advantage of the student being able to tie each bit of new knowledge to how it was discovered, and then how it was generalized and then how it can be applied to solve the student's questions, whether for being tested or to answer questions about life that the student has. The complex research equipment and its functioning processes could be part of such "learning by watching example being discovered by someone" so when the student goes into a science lab in physical reality, equipment will be identifiable and how it works and what it can do will be more quickly integrated into the student's doings in the lab.

How does "teaching by setting the example by the teacher" work for, say, economics and world history? By acting it out, for the students to watch. And by bringing in multimedia seamlessly into the teaching, helping the students to generalize the principles involved.

Again, computer terminals at the students desk, (whether in classroom or at home) provides instant feedback from the student, such as in predicting result of what comes next, and sending that to the teacher as feedback. In fact, an optimum class session could be recorded by the teacher, and then during the actual class, the teacher spends his/her time interacting with what responses the students are making toward what they are observing during the class. The student could even do a back-up-and-replay for some point they missed on the first pass, too, until it all makes sense.

This may seem like a small difference from ordinary conventional classroom education techniques, but it could be a very profoundly effective difference, that of learning by the example set before us by the teacher and teacher's resources. Significantly different from being "lectured at," and then cramming to pass tests.

Because we learn best by example.

While educators might at first resent having to learn a whole new way to teach, I think they might suddenly discover that teaching their subject matter just got a whole lot more fun for them, re-living the discoveries of life, each class.

After all, wouldn't it be better if the discovery of life be always interesting and enjoyable, for both student and teacher alike? Wouldn't that in itself be setting a great example before going into the working world for real? People do best what they enjoy most, and the country needs a lot more of that "doing best" these days.

Teaching is about the discovery of life; so let the teacher show that discovery of each bit of life in such ways that the student can empathically watch, ready to copy the doings themselves.

Jim Cline 20071005


Merthiolate and Autism - Asperger's Syndrome

"Urine Testing Confirms Autism is Mercury Poisoning" announces research results. "This study utilized urinary porphyrin profile analysis (UPPA) to assess body-burden and physiological effects of mercury in children diagnosed with ASDs...." (A Prospective Study of Mercury Toxicity Biomarkers in Autistic Spectrum Disorders" by Mr. David A. Geier and Dr. Mark R. Geier has been published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A (volume 70, issue 20, pgs 1723-1730).)

Thinking back, I wonder what year that the OTC antiseptics "Merthiolate" and "Mercurichrome" were pulled from the store shelves?

I recall the pale yellow Merthiolate (Thimerosol) was always widely spread all over my skin in response to every cut or abrasion I had as a kid. Lots of times; skinned knees especially got lots of the yellow stain applied. Best antiseptic around, stopped infection of the skin right there, no matter how nasty the dirt nor deep the wounds.

Iodine was also available, but it stained darker and was not as effective at killing the pathogens on the skin, so it was rarely used.

Unfortunately and unknown at the time, the Thimerosol mercury-based antiseptic got absorbed into the body as the wounds healed, becoming toxic to the central nervous system when food allergies prevented adequate elimination of the mercury.

Added to the Thimerosol used in the abundant vaccines I got as a child, that adds up to lots of bioactive mercury I took in while I was growing up.

The mercury-based powerful antiseptic called Merthiolate was always in the medicine cabinet. Good stuff. The cap had a glass rod attached to it and had a rounded end, the wetted glass rod would carry the antiseptic to be wiped all over the skin near any wound. As I grew up, I always used it on skin wounds to prevent infection, spread abundantly even inches around the actual wound, don't let even nearby germs get near the wounds; seems to me at least until the mid 1950's when I went to college.

I have a photo my mother had taken of me when I was four years old, showing my response to being asked a question, and my eyes would always look up and away when I was struggling to answer the question; she thought that was very strange that I did that. She believed that the photo would eventually mean something some day. She was right. "Joint Attention" struggles to process facial communication cues took all the mental processing space; so moving the eyes away from this intense facial attention source allowed me to process the question and seek the answer, and put it into words so as to comply with the request.

So Asperger's Syndrome is primarily caused by organically-bound mercury poisoning via common antiseptics of the time, inadvertently administered. Food allergies complications prevented adequate elimination of the mercury toxins, so the mercury got stored in the body tissues, and caused dysfunctions where in the central nervous system.

The advancement of medicine learns through time. Everyone does their best, all things considered. Finger-pointing is a waste of effort (unless there has been deliberate assault) so all effort needs to be applied to fixing the problems best possible.

And ... finally figuring out what caused frequent and seemingly inexplicable odd difficulties in my life, especially social connection difficulties that others did not seem to have, brings a sense of peace to me now. To solve a problem, the definition of the problem needs to be correctly determined first.

The daily consumption of fresh Cilantro, and of Chlorella-containing nutritional supplements, is on the right track, to enable the binding and elimination of the mercury when it gets temporarily freed into the bloodstream during the body's endless re-building processes. Avoiding wheat gluten also helps re the food sensitivity part of the problem, struggling with damage control.

PostScript: A contrary-seeming report has now also been published, although it refers to a study funded by the CDC but does not list the doers of the study. The article about the report about the study is published in my favorite science publication since I was in High school, "Science News" (Week of Sept. 29, 2007; Vol. 172, No. 13, p. 197.) Quoting: ""I think it's one more piece of evidence that thimerosal doesn't have any negative association with health outcomes"... The researchers combed the health plans' records to assess how much thimerosal each child received through the first 7 months of life... "We found no consistent pattern between increasing mercury exposure ... and performance on neuropsychological tests"...."

My comment now is that scientists need to be kept out of the arena of the massive lawsuits in court of law. That is not their turf, crushing easily under such foreign powerful pressures. Those of the "blaming game" are quite toxic to those who strive to daintily sniff out the totally unbiased truths about what stitches our world together in the natural world. Scientists often have chosen the fields of science in part because it is escape from the gladiatorial romps of the people-world's hoopla. Drag them onto that stage and expect to hear whatever you want to hear from the somewhat terrified baffled lab folk. Even in the better forms of science, it is very difficult to design unbiased experiments that are on the fringe of discovery. Those whose motives are of the finger-pointing-liability kind might see the Science News' CDC-sponsored report as conflicting with the report with which I started this blog entry; but actually the report via CDC had to do with vaccine manufacturer liability issues related to a mercury-containing antiseptic they used to prevent spoilage, done during a time known to be under scrutiny. In great contrast, the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health's report had to do with direct measurements of mercury being eliminated in urine from people whose difficulties were clearly observable. They were not pointing at sources of the mercury poisoning. They were merely showing clear connection between mercury and autism. And I would conjecture that their hope is to find ways to cure, and prevent, Autism Spectrum Disorder occurrence in people. Continual error-correction is an intrinsic part of travel down the pathways of life. Correct feedback is essential for the safest journey.