Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Every day when I go to work, I wonder what will happen. Will my customers be happy? Will they all be angry, so I have to creep around like a mouse and try not to offend anyone?

Will there be a crisis so that I must drop what I am doing, and rush over to a different building and mop up a water spill, or even urine or vomit? Every day I go into my job as a Day Porter, and risk the unknowable happening. Most days things turn out just peachy. Once in awhile, things really turn to crap.

Of course, that is why I have a steady paycheck, and some benefits and perks.

But up until now I've refrained from writing much about my work in blogs or stories or poetry. Until today. I realized that I was passing up a rich lode of material. So now, it is time to "tear down that wall" in the words of a famous president. To let loose the words of war on dirt and dust. Reveal the deepest intricacies of lifting a over-filled trash bag out of a Brute barrel that is reluctant to release it. Show and tell the best way to mop a floor. (Use your wrists and arms; it is easier on your back.) Tell the inner feelings of that cleaning beast that plods along through all your offices.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Just joking. But you may be surprised how mundane and boring some of those thoughts are. Some of them anyways. More on this in the days and weeks ahead. As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Atomic/molecular assembly of habitats - one layman's idea.

Up until now, we have gotten our natural resources, and materials we use for day-to-day living, from our surroundings. We pump crude out of the ground, and refine and purify it. We modify it to a thousand uses, including powering our cars. We grow food crops, and process the resulting plant matter into foods and various other products, like sugar and ethanol. We breed cattle, and use every part of the slaughtered animals, including hooves and horns, to produce things like fertilizer, vitamins, and pharmaceuticals. To sum up, we have become extremely clever at modifying nature’s bounty to give ourselves a high standard of living.

Perhaps now, at this apex of our development, it is time to consider taking the next step. That is, the step of figuring out how to reduce common materials to the basic atomic structure, either by incineration or by some other means. And then, to synthesize new materials out of the building blocks of atoms and molecules. If such a method could be discovered, entire habitats could be constructed out of these basic building blocks.

This would make the colonization of space a relatively simple matter. Simply harness the energy of the sun to create a giant furnace or whatever. Utilize large quantities of space rocks and dust, and manufacture whatever one needs in the way of habitats. This is the way to go, for sure.

There are news articles out about carbon-derived materials like Fullerene and Graphene. These offer new possibilities for storing and transmitting data and energy. So we have the technical sophistication to create some of these marvelous new materials. OK. So, what about creating common materials out of unrelated items, such as rock and dust, by first reducing the chaff or garbage to a stream of atoms, and then reassembling them? Certain atoms are lighter than others. Helium is lighter than oxygen, which is lighter than gold, and etc. So first one would have to send out a stream of pure atoms. And then derive a way to sort down the atoms according to weight. If several different atoms are fired out of some imaginary nozzle, the lighter ones would seem to travel further than the heavier ones. It seems a fairly simple matter to “sort” atoms.

With all of our giant linear accelerators and atom-smashers, it seems logical. Instead of colliding atoms to derive their inner secrets, how about if someone took the time to find out how to sort differing atoms by weight, size, and or electric charge? And therefore, advanced the cause of assembly of our raw materials of living out of nothing but atoms. The implication is huge. We could theoretically move into space, and live on any kinds of materials we find around us.

If we can decode the human genome, land on the Moon, and do a host of other amazing things, then we can figure out how to sort atoms and molecules. Sort them, accumulate them, and build anything we want out of anything there is. The possibility is enticing, and certainly worthy of study, in my humble opinion.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Something amazing is happening here. A wonderful viral infection called "Peace" is spreading over the land. With the Obama administration having the guts and foresight to scrap a stupid plan to site ten interceptor missiles in Poland, a top Russian general has said that they will also scrap a plan to site some missiles near Poland on their side of the fence.

See what happens when one offers an olive branch instead of a sword-point! I don't know nor do I care about all of the given reasons for scrapping the missile plan. Plain and simple, when one offers a peaceful concession within reason, it can really work wonders. The warmongering critics in congress can get on some battle fatigues and go over to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban if they don't approve.

Thank you, President Obama, for ratcheting world tensions down a major notch! Well done.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hidden Iowa Jewel

Trudging and trampling along grassy pathway,
I see the telltale sign: Ring of trees shielding
Something very special indeed. About
A mile long and a mile wide…

A hidden jewel of a lake!
Calm surface reflecting riots of color,
Fall grasses turning purplish sienna;
Leaves coloring across rows of trees,
All standing guard against any wayward
Farmer careless enough to till these fields.

Stand and observe it, a voice tells me:
Take it all in! The colors, the calmness
Of the waters, broken only by minute
Creatures within. Some larger fish
Break the water occasionally,
Perhaps chasing the small shadows,
Tadpoles dart to and fro underwater.

I inhale it’s essences, then finally move on.
This lake is too precious to be disturbed by anyone.