WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog

October 2012

"Obits don't alliterate"

Dealing with a death in the neighborhood of Athens Ohio, in my shock, I can only remember what a young poet from 50 years ago -- Albert Stokes -- told me one day, seemingly out of the blue: "Obits don't alliterate." Monsieur Stokes was from New Jersey, studying photography and English at Ohio University at the time.... New Jersey is in the news these days, too, what with Hurricane Sandy and all, btw.

So anyway, I just read the obituary for Will Dewees who has recently been "The Daffodil Man", selling bulbs at the Athens Farmers Market and exporting daffodils to China. I learned more than I could have ever hoped to know about Will, from his obit today.

My hopes of cures for cancer -- since several people I know have been cured of this deadly affliction -- my hopes are now lessened by the passing of Will.... What a shock to learn of his passing in the paper today....

I wanted to reproduce the obit from The Athens Messenger here but I am not sure of copyright, so I will only pass on the  the obit's final link "at " for people who knew him....Over 225 comments posted there so far....

In Will's honor I post some pix of daffodils I purchased from him at the Farmers Market in Athens:

Sorry I could not find more pix. I could have sworn I had gotten pix of these flowers growing in situ. Btw, the loose associations I began this posting with I attribute to the influence of The Cloud Atlas movie that I viewed last Saturday. Its juxtapositioning of several timelines reminds me also of recent science fiction genre pieces of the steam punk variety. And Will's reference to "Nekkid Ladies" regarding daffodils (see The Athens Messenger obit if you can) reminds me somehow of William Gibson. Go figger.

I remember from my early days as a child how breathing in the smell of daffodils for several minutes always made me happier. It was as though I could smell the sunshine of the flowers and the chlorophyl of their stems, somehow transferring life and Spring from them to my core.... And even though I feel that bearded iris might be more beautiful than daffodils, the smell of daffodils in the Spring still lifts me higher than any iris.

Made in China

Just a note here. I have been sick with what has turned out to be not just a question of whether I have a cold or a sinus infection. What I am gathering from talking to my doctor today -- and don't say she told me this because I do not wish to imply that she said this or to put words into her mouth -- what I deduce from what she said is that I have a cold AND two kinds of bacterial infection in my sinuses. Yuck!

Finally, today I got an antibiotic that is supposed to work against both types of bacteria in sinus infections! Hooray! Except, I also get sinus infections sometimes settling in my jaw, which requires, perhaps, a third type of antibiotic, of the mycin variety. I wonder if someday doctors will discover and/or prove that cold and sinus infections are somehow symbiotic for each other.

So anyway, in between watching The Weather Channel coverage of Hurricane Sandy and Superstorm Sandy these last three or four days, provisioning our house for hunkering down due to the storm, and getting medicine and whatnot from the drug store, I still think about how to construct the mold form for my generator housing.

Today, though, I ran into some very brightly colored gift bags at the drug store. You know. The kind that you sometimes get Christmas or birthday presents in. This stuff has holographic circles that change size when you walk by them. They shine so brightly -- also being mostly yellow and gold based circles -- that I have decided to figure out how to incorporate them into the surface of my generator housings.

These housings will be at the corners of our house. One such corner where the most wind seems to strike is also the busiest place for automobile traffic. What a dandy device -- if I can pull it off -- to impregnate the surface of my cement generator housing with such bright, flashing warnings to stay away! These bright bags carry the label "Made in China", btw.

Once I am feeling better and get caught up on housework and cooking, I will try to get you a picture or two of this bag's material. Perhaps I should try to videotape it to better convey its wonderfully forceful message that "I am here!"

OK. Here are some pix. They do not do this paper justice! All these pix were taken with a flash still camera. What actually happens is that the circles change size and transition to and from squares, all across the surface, rather than having multiple scenes as these pix taken with flash would imply. On the other hand, you can see here a large range of features.

In addition to these reflective and changing patterns, camouflaged surfaces could prove to be more palatable in some rural and forested settings. Camouflage is easy to apply with sponges laden with varrying shades of green and brown, btw.

Height Comparison

In my previous entry I tried to explain an idea I got onto but eventually rejected, again, but did not have a photo of it. I made a photo this morning:
This red plastic salad bowl has a shape closer to the wok than the blue plastic bowl does.

The clear plastic bowl on top is a form into which I could pour a plaster cast that would not sit as high up on the red plastic bowl as this one does now.

But I photographed, below, with the wok on top to show their similar shapes.

Very similar shapes and with a narrower gap between them the cover of the generator housing I could cast from cement -- using the red as inner and the wok as outer surfaces of the mold -- would be nicely thin and therefore have less weight.

However, the angle that a drop of liquid would travel along the inside would be better with the other, blue, bowl, because the drop would be more likely to stick to the steeper declination (see below).

This set-up creates a taller housing, though, and thus brings into question the relative danger from marking by coyotes or "marking" by water pistols held by little boys or girls....LOL...not to mention my own errors of aiming our water hose while watering the garden, or sideways flying precipitation during nasty storms.

Still Thinking

I am slow. I know that. I get ideas and try them out, but then I remember sometimes why I had rejected an idea previously. That is the slow part for me -- remembering why and that I had rejected some avenue of approach to solving some problem. For example, I liked using the plastic salad bowls I recently found at Walmart for the top/bottom of the inside of my generator housing mold.

I should go get you a picture at this point. Wait a sec.... Oh. I did not photograph my next to latest form, it seems. Well anyway, the red salad bowl (as inside of the top of the housing form) was a good fit for the 14 inch wok lid (as outside of the top of the housing form). Except that the angle of declination was so shallow that gravity would overcome surface tension adhesion of a drop of water if it would somehow have entered the top hole of the housing. Here's a picture of the latest -- reasserted -- form:

I will have the top hole covered, but sometimes precipitation goes sideways, in yer most extreme storms. Then there are coyotes marking territory. I do not want any liquid on the inside of my generator housing. So, I have gone back to the bowls that will form steeper sides for the inside of the top of the housing, even though this will create a much thicker housing wall on top.

This might also create a strength enhancement for the top at least and perhaps ward off breakage once or twice if somebody cannot restrain their temptation to stand on the housing.

However, the thicker top calls into question the strength of the legs and feet of the housing.
A photo, for illustration purposes, and to be fair to the idea creators of the world, below, comes from the Santa Fe Railroad Calendar for 2012, September. Photo by Al Chione. I am considering features of the railroad bridge abutments -- or whatever you call the supports under railroad bridges -- pictured here:
You see how they are wider at their bottoms, and thicker?

So I am considering legs such as these, also cast from cement, to put under and to attach to the body of the generator housing.

These legs would be cast along side the green bucket in the photo above. There will be a 5 inch gap between the wall of the green bucket and the outside planter at its widest circumference.
Unfortunately, the increase in width is oriented differently than in the railroad picture. No, wait. The greater width at the bottom of the bridge abutments does go in two directions. The problem with my design comparatively is that the sides of the green bucket are relatively straight, or concave compared to the direction they would be needed to go if I were to take advantage of the widening in all directions that the railroad picture shows.

Oh wait. Now I remember. My design has the advantage of dome architecture. "Lean on Me" comes to mind, lol.

Obama Speech in Athens & Etc.

Here's the link to the Obama speech delivered in Athens Ohio last Wednesday.

I have been busy working for Obama's re-election, but part of these days I have been working toward making new designs for the generator housing molding processes. I am seriously considering modular designs because the center pole is so long while the inside of the generator housing -- if cast in one piece -- is so cramped.

One idea is to cast three separate pieces: 1. top; 2. coil housing; 3. feet. Any of these three could be cast in multiple sections. And, even if this modularity is not what I end up with for the final production design, the modularity could help with the testing phases of the design processes.

And by the way, I keep watching The Social Network on Fox these days, too. I think this is a very well constructed screenplay, even though the audience must often figure out that scenes are flashbacks. In other words the scenes are not presented chronologically but once you realize this, you also realize that human memory works this way, too -- associatively.

Obama at Athens

I broke one of my toes last week. The injury is not severe enough to get a cast. Certainly not severe enough for a wheelchair or a walker or a cane. I did get a special shoe, but even if I had been able to get a chair assigned to me, how many times have you had your toes stepped on at theater events?

The lines for getting into the event were very long and I could not chance getting my broken toe stepped on. They don't give out massive pain killers for broken toes, but that is what I would have needed had somebody stepped on my toe. "It was not a clean break" is what the emergency room doctor told me, and the bruising also indicates that.

So, the long and the short of it is that I could not go to the Obama rally yesterday.
On the other hand, I will be watching the local TV channel for videos of the event, and listening to various peoples' tales of what happened. My husband was a staff member for the event, and he has related a few amusing anecdotes so far from his crowd control activities. My husband said Obama is a good speaker, and was obviously fired up for this speech that lasted approximately 45 minutes, but that he could not hear much of the speech from his location.

Dryer Exhaust Heater for Greenhouse

It ain't purdy, but it's done. It only took me about three hours, what with tracking down tools and such, break time, and futzing around on the computer a bit.

So here goes:
Gorilla Tape, I do not think, comes in white. I have no idea how long this rig will last after getting wind and rain and possibly critters attacking it. However, we have rather long roof overhangs that keep things too dry for most plants.

I took the vent cover off first to see whether or not the flexible pipe would fit inside the actual vent. It did, so I threaded the pipe into the cover, then reattached the cover. Obviously, the above picture is the exhaust vent cover for our dryer in the basement.
I found a relatively thinly walled, approximately 8 or 9 foot, 4 inch plastic pipe under the deck, which I used as an extender for the flexible pipe. I had to nail a couple of thin boards up to the underneath to hold the pipe up near the floor where the crossbeams will deflect a bit of the crosswinds in the winter and hold a tiny bit of heat near the floor above it.

Underneath, by the exhaust vent.

Underneath, from the opposite side of the  deck.

Then up to the floor of the deck and into the greenhouse with a pink bucket to catch any heat that it can and shield that exposed part from the wind. I think I should insulate this section of the flexible pipe.

Inside the greenhouse the flexible pipe winds three times through cement blocks under a makeshift bench/shelf.

And finally the moisture is let out near the bottom of this picture with the white flexible pipe facing downward, very close to where I envisioned the ultimate exhaust for the furnace to exit the greenhouse and go to an algae culture.

We have much more algae growing on the north side of the deck's bannisters than anywhere else. The algae seems to love shade and red acrylic paint, although it will grow on pure wood, too.

Sorry the colors are washed out of this photo. And those are my high topped rubber boots drying upside down next the dryer exhaust, btw.

So now I only have to explain to my husband that I will prefer to dry clothes at night when the weather is at its coldest, during Fall and Spring. Probably Winter will defeat my efforts unless I get cracking with the furnace exhaust capture -- but safely.

Busy Busy

Sorry but things have been quite busy around here, plus I broke one of my toes which has slowed me down a bit.

I am getting ready to attach a flexible air vent pipe to the outside end of our clothes dryer venting to start an experiment in heating our greenhouse for a relatively cheap price. The 50 feet of hose cost $18 plus tax. It is too bad the pipe is too flimsy to attach to our furnace exhaust, but it is too thin. A rodent climbing onto it would punch little bitty holes through it in a second.

Also, I tore down the placemat lining for the outside of the generator housing form. I don't need the placemats if I can get a quote on bronze rod, but that quote process has been turning out to be fraught with delays. 'Nuff said about that for now.

I am not looking forward to having to crawl under our deck to place the vent piping where I do not have to step over it every day. I want it to come in on the opposite side of the greenhouse from where it comes out of our basement dryer, btw.

Oh yes. Another experiment seems successful. I picked up a couple of obviously volcanic rocks from a local motel we stayed at during our septic tank fiasco a couple weeks ago. I needed to test whether or not the algae on our back deck would gravitate to it, and it did, just by having the rocks sitting on top of the algae.

The volcanic rock is red, btw, which matches the rust on the porch railing where the algae also likes to sit. Iron seems to be a copesetic element for the algae. ("Copesetic" is not in my Webster's Dictionary but "copesmate" is listed as an obsolete term meaning: "a friend,; an associate or partner." These words are definitely related to each other, but no origin is listed. Strange. It seems a bit Italian. Capiche?)

Later Note: A quote from farmerscopper dot com came in a couple days ago but I did not recognize the pdf that was attached at the time. Quote for 8 pieces plus shipping was $122 which is too expensive to consider this option.

What shall I do? Try to cut rebar? Or go back to trying to cast the legs from cement? Or both? I had been wondering if I could find a metal I could work myself so that loops for feet would provide places to anchor the housing to the ground.

OK. My book shows handles for a cement bowl made from pieces of bent rebar whose ends are embedded in cement.... I wonder how much heat I would need to bend rebar? I did purchase a pipe bender, however. Let me see about that option. I was hoping for a non-magnetic base, but perhaps it doesn't really matter if I can exactly balance the amount of metal around the circumference since the pull would be relatively  equal then all the way around....

Nighttime PBS Arts Programs

Late last evening and during the wee hours of the morning I caught some stunning artwork displays on two PBS channels. Time Warner has at least two, maybe three PBS channels. On our system we get Channel 02 plus 992, and 994 with our Digital Package.
I did not catch the beginnings of either program, so I hope they are repeated. The evening show about the National Arts schools in Cuba showed an enormously wonderful architecture that was left to wither on the vine after the Revolution. You gotta see this. Even Castro later apologized -- after his fashion -- for listening to some guy in charge of architecture for the Revolutionary Party who had opted for pre-fabs and cut off some very talented architects.
I think that a ballerina who hated the architecture was jealous of it because it was more beautiful than she was. She said she would allow no ballet at that school because of the stunningly curvaceous architecture that had too many female motifs embedded in it. I am sorry, I do not even know the name of the program.
I tried to find a link to a video of the program, but so far have found only one -- interesting, though it is -- to a Frontline 13 minute piece. Perhaps I will find more links later and get back with them.
The second nightime PBS program aired around 5 a.m. I happened to be up at that hour and was checking MYTV for Stargate Universe (which has stopped airing) when I discovered Weaving Worlds. I probably missed the first half of it. It told of the world of Navajo weavers, complete with their raising the sheep and goats to make the fibers for their rugs.
Both of these programs had subtitles for when interviewees spoke non-English languages. I found it quite disconcerting that the subtitles often displayed as white letters over white backgrounds. There has to be a better way to control for this. It would be much better if the letters also were made to have black backgrounds, even with the loss of the bottoms of the images behind them.
The Navajo rug makers told of how their water is stolen every year -- a million gallons each year -- by Peabody Coal Company that uses the water to push coal through their conveyor systems, but even returns no electricity to the natives from the power produced by the coal. I do not know how the Indians lost their mineral rights -- maybe sold them -- but it is a shame that the water is treated as a mineral, apparently.

Generator Housing Form with Addendum

Still working on the generator housing form to cast it in concrete, I finally found a bowl to use to cast the top of the inside in plaster, a couple days ago. I have been working toward honing down the procedure. Then, today, I started on the outside of the form, or rather, the form for the outside of the generator housing.

The top of the outside uses a 14 inch wok lid inside a rather large and conical plastic plant pot -- upside down. The sides of the pot have inclined ridges that I was trying to eliminate so that I could fashion "plugs" to block cement from filling the whole bottom. I want air to circulate freely around the bottom of the housing to keep various critters from setting up homes and/or nurseries around the bottom of the housing. The critters being rodents and ants. 

Anyway, here's a picture or two or three of what I tried today.

The place-mats came from Walmart. The wok came from Jenny's something or other. The two large pots came from Dollar General. The black tub came from Lowe's. I taped all the place-mats in place because it is windy today.I used packaging tape from the Post Office because it is very thin. The outside of the housing will bare the impression of the pieces of tape.

The wok lid comes with a hole at its center and I drilled a hole in the centers of the large pots so that things will line up correctly. I plan to fasten a bolt at the center before pouring the concrete.

One of my next projects will be to try to estimate as best as I can how much concrete the housing will require, although, that should wait until I figure out how to block the spaces to create the legs. What do you think? Four, five, or six legs?

Once I figure out what shape each leg will be, then perhaps I could cast the spaces between the legs in plaster.... Oh yes. I should trim the place-mats so they don't stick up beyond the top of the pots.

Later Note: I am thinking that I should add another place-mat because at least two of those pictured above have perhaps a too large gap between them and the inside of the pot. As they are now, using five mats, I have just introduced an asymmetry which might come back to bite me. Also, the leeway is not large enough between the inside and the outside of the form to subtract so much at random from the sides of the generator. However, the weight of the cement will probably push the place-mats against the side of the pot and create gaps among the place-mats, too, if I do not add another mat.

BTW, WindTapper has a broken toe. And now I am re-thinking the need for the place-mats, lol. The cement will not be poured all the way up to the top of the pots, plus, if I make the legs from bronze rods, then I don't have to figure out how to get exact fits between the inside and outside surfaces of the form to create cement legs from the same pouring of cement as when I also pour the top of the generator housing. I am sorry that was such a complicated sentence.

If I can find bronze rods, perhaps I could create a wooden ring from, say, plywood, in which to drill depressions to hold, say, eight rods. With eight rods attached to a ring, then maybe I could press the rods down into the wet cement and level them across the ring....

Evaporated Conundrum

For some weeks I have struggled to construct a form from which I might make a mold in order to properly size and shape the top to my generator housing soon-to-be-made of concrete.

One problem started with my lack of decisiveness concerning a choice for the first large bowl below the top. I finally chose the salad bowl with sort of hand-shaped salad tongs from Walmart because its shape most resembles my wok lids, and because its top rim fits best over an almost foot diameter bucket I decided to use as a base for the largest portion of the insides of the generator housing. However, the salad bowl had a too-large diameter bottom ridge.

The bottom needed to be fitted with a spacer for cement to flow and set between the bottom of the bowl and the 14 inch wok lid. The bottom had too large a diameter because I wanted to control the amount of area that would be subject to collecting precipitation.

I struggled mightily, but tonight I found the perfect bowl -- a middle-sized soup bowl -- that has a smallish bottom, but a top large enough so that I can fill it to exactly the correct diameter with plaster to exactly meet the bottom ridge of the large salad bowl. The middle-sized soup bowl is also plastic, so I will be able to drill a hole in its center for threading several pots and bowls onto a single, threaded but long screw, to keep them all lined up properly for casting cement.
That this bowl tapers is great, too, because hopefully this will give any precipitation leakage a way to slide to the next incline and beyond without dripping straight down onto the first magnet rotor.

This seems like a minor victory now, but long exposure to water in freezing weather can create large build-ups of ice that could prevent the generation of electricity when the rotation of the magnets becomes blocked due to ice formations.
I am hoping I can create a housing where the water naturally slides down the sides of the inside of the housing, when it does get inside.

I have yet to photograph them together because I still have to make a plaster cast for the top form, made from this bowl.

The State of the Union

Sorry I have been busy with urgent household projects lately, but I finally had a chance tonight to think political thoughts. Yesterday I was trying to get a copy of The New New Deal because I saw the author on C-Span talking about that book. You, too, can go to the C-Span website and view videos of shows aired about books, btw. But if you want a taste of the book first, please see that shows an article by Grunwald, the author.

My opinion about the state of our union is that we are sliding toward anarchy, bestiality, and our own Dark Ages because people got too cheap to pay for decent schooling for kids.

When I went to school, our school day did not end until 4 p.m. I often stayed later than 4 p.m., too, because I was a member of several school based clubs, such as The Junior Council on World Affairs, for example. We went to Cleveland to the Mock U.N. one year in Junior High School with that national club. I also was a member of Chess Club, Dramatics Club, and Math Club. Oh yes, and Geology Club.

My mother said I was a "Latch Key Child" because both my parents worked and did not arrive home until around 6 p.m., but I had chores to do, to help prepare for dinner, etc., besides the extra-curricular activities and homework. My days were pretty full. I also taught swimming at the local YM/WCA in the summer and took some summer school, too.

Any gangs in our area were called "Greasers" of the same ilk as you could see in American Graffiti, but I was a "College Prepper" and not a Greaser. I continued on to college and stayed what my mother called "A Perpetual Student." And our university had a slogan of "Lifelong Learning." I have never been in a gang or ever been arrested, but life is not so easy for today's kids.

If you think about the environment nowadays, the ecology of childhood is vastly different from when I went to school back in the 1960's. Kids nowadays get out at 2:30 p.m. from deteriorated schools lacking budgets for decent teachers, activities, extra curricular activities, and facilities. Nowadays kids spend FAR too much time in Lord of the Flies types of situations because their afternoons are dominated by other kids, not by adults.

It is no wonder that crime, school dropouts, and gangs dominate our youth of today, and I blame people who complain about school tax levies. Doesn't they understand that keeping kids in school and occupied with activities makes neighborhoods safer? I was neighbors with a biddy who never had any kids and lived alone, but worked as a nurse at a doctor's office. She joined a Neighborhood Watch and complained about taxes. She couldn't fathom why it is more important to educate kids if only to prevent crime than to have to fund extra policing activities.

From the kids' perspective, if your peer group dominates your environment, it is no wonder that school becomes less important to you than finding a way to keep gangs and bullies off your back. Our society is falling apart, starting with letting kids out of school at 2 p.m. Kids are supposed to be our hope for the future, but we cheapskates have let them down. How can kids work for a brighter tomorrow if we do not support them and their education today?

Vote Early, But Vote Well

Voting early is a good idea EXCEPT when you have not yet found out all you can about the candidates for judgeships. We have four -- count'em FOUR -- Supreme Court Justice seats on the ballot in Ohio. Well, there was an Appeals Court position, so maybe three. Please see for some info.

I was a bad girl. I forgot to find out about the judges before I went into the poling place, early today. I should have gone back to the place where I got the ballot and asked if I could change my mind about voting today, to see if they would let me go back home to find out about the judges. I have no idea what their answer would have been had I done that. I imagine they would have let me do that by nullifying my ballot as in error, but I do not know for sure.

Instead, I left three votes blank. I recognized the name Yvette McGee Brown, though. She ran for Lieutenant Governor with Gov. Ted Strickland last time. And see if you will.

So, do your duty correctly, unlike me. TAKE MY ADVICE and find out who the judges are before you go into the voting booth!

From I have copied the following list:

William O’Neill for Justice of the Supreme Court
Mike Skindell for Justice of the Supreme Court
Yvette McGee Brown for Justice of the Supreme Court
Marie Hoover for Court of Appeals Judge,
4th District

I wish I knew then what I know now. :-(

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