Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #123
covering August 2018 (Posted Sept 4th)
Lawnhill BC Canada
by Craig Carmichael

www.TurquoiseEnergy.com = www.ElectricCaik.com = www.ElectricHubcap.com = www.ElectricWeel.com

Carmichael Mill cuts beautiful, straight lumber with little waste sawdust (see Month in Brief, Other Green" Projects)

Month In Brief (Project Summaries etc.)
 - Concert - Swiilawiid Sustainability Society talk? - Carmichael mill - Batteries - Reluctance motor -

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - Electromagnetic Induction Arson: Burning the world!
 - "By Prescription Only": Overregulation is Causing Shorter, Less Healthy Lives
 - Democracy Denied in California - South Africa: White farmers want to flee en-masse to Russia - More Hypocrisy from the Main Stream Media (MSM) & Extension of Censorship - Big Oil Subsidies - Changing Language... All well and good (unwell attempted humor)

- Project Reports -
Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Jim Harrington's 2.5 HP Electric Outboard

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* Carmichael Mill ("Handheld Bandsaw Alaska Mill")
 - Various improvements and changes, blah blah blah - Finally: Good Results! - Dulling Bands

Electricity Generation
* Solar Panels
* Tidal Power Project on Tlell River?
* Scot Power Floating Tidal Power Vessel: 3 GWH in first year!

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (Now Mn-Zn, Ni-Zn or Pb-Zn)
* Lead-Zinc Cell From Scratch With Rolled-up Sheet Metal Electrodes (as made it was a flop)

August in Brief

   On the 4th, after I posted the last newsletter, our band of five "The Huckleberries" played at an outdoor potluck party. People liked hearing my "supercorder", something besides the usual guitars and percussion. (longer version in "In Passing".)

   On the 5th I went to the Tlell fall fair, where I found a "Swiilawiid[.org] Sustainability Society" booth and volunteered to talk about renewable energy things at an upcoming symposium on that subject in September. (I had been meaning to send an e-mail for a few days.)

Carmichael Mill/Handheld Band Mill

   This was certainly the project of the month. I finally put in a simple tube with a sponge to wet and cool the band as it went by. As I surmised by the time I wrote the last newsletter, the self adjusting band guides system is far superior to any previous bandsaw or bandmill setup. But this wasn't as immediately demonstrable as expected. The worst problems I was having were due to a dull and, worse, unsymmetrically bad band that really wanted to cut circles rather than straight. Later wavy boards were traceable to bad guide alignment and then mechanical problems keeping the band from pointing the direction the guide wheel was aiming it - from two different guide mechanisms. The second one intended to cure the problem didn't - but only, as it turned out, because a spring was too light.

   I continued cutting with both the bandmill and chainsaw "mini-mill". The boards were good enough for rafters for a lumber shed... and the cants were sitting where I wanted to make that shed, and had to go. Cutting them into boards seemed like the best way.
   I order some slightly heavier bands, and when they arrived and a heavier spring was installed, I cut 100 feet of nice straight 6 inch wide boards on the 29th and 30th.

   It seemed the bands would need frequent sharpening, but I finally realized there wasn't enough cooling water coming through the sponge in the new mechanism and they were overheating when the going got tough, causing the teeth to lose their tempering and dull quickly. (Well, duh! I could feel that they were too hot!) A cordless drill (or 'dremmel' tool on slowest speed) with a 1/8" diamond cylinder bit sharpens pretty fast, but 279 is a lot of teeth, and they don't stay sharp long if their temper is gone. Maybe I can get a band maker to produce 2 TPI (or less), .025" thick bands for milling (186 teeth or fewer).

   I could see better ways to do various things with experience as time passed. Some of them got done. The "skis" that sat on the guide board were changed to crosswise "skids", a much better arrangement.
   As I worked through the problems one at a time results improved. By the time I was on the fifth band it looked like I might stop wrecking them so swiftly. It was cutting nicely by the end of the month in spite of still needing a proper band tensioning mechanism.
   By the end of the month I conceived that a "changes and deficiencies" list was needed for all the little details to apply to a production model.

   Most of the cuts were in spruce and about 6" wide, plus a few 7-9" mostly in alder.
   But on September 3rd I set the width to 13" and used it to cut up another 10 foot section of alder log in a little over 2 hours, making ten "perfect" 1 inch thin boards with most cuts being 8 to 10" wide. (good siding lumber?) With the sponge letting through a bit more water, the band never even got warm, and all the cuts went very well. I was surprised. It was, like... industrial!
   The saw will adjust to 18" cut width (potentially 21"), but I suspect it will be tough slogging at such widths. Certainly it's perfect for cutting large cants into boards with almost no waste, and the last session demonstrated that it can slice up small whole logs. Cutting large logs into cants is probably still better done by chainsaw milling.

   Like the oxalate battery electrolyte, the self adjusting band guides are a fundamental advance to the state of the art and yet something so simple that in the future everyone will say, "Well obviously. Why would it have been done any other way?" And yet, for well over a century before that, since the first batteries and the first bandsaws, everyone was groping in various directions and no one had a really satisfactory solution. The electrolyte didn't come to me without a decade of trying to make better batteries. The band guides inspiration only took months.


   I finally sent an e-mail to Swiilawiid on the 17th with a description of all the things I could talk about if they liked them and gave me time. The last item on my list is a pitch for a floating hydro project at the Tlell River, which site I had just identified as being a good place a week previously. The river is slow and flat, but near the mouth a lot of water flows both directions at up to 2 meters per second, in and out with the tides.

   But... speaking of simple and obvious "why do it any other way?" designs... on the 22nd a friend sent me a link to a tidal power project that looked better than all the others and had in fact made 3 gigawatt-hours of electricity in its first full year of operation - more than all other previous tide and wave power projects put together. This seemed very promising. I finally decided that a big project using that design right in the channel of Masset Sound instead would be far more worth doing. The design has been proven and it has the potential to drastically curtail diesel fuel usage on the north grid of this island.

   Some people dropped by looking for advice on batteries, and I decided I should get back to doing a few more battery experiments. Lots of people want them and need them, and what's available is either short lived and very heavy, or very expensive. We need the new types the oxalate electrolyte enables. A lead-zinc cell with rolled up sheets for electrodes performed very poorly. While one may perhaps get 5-10% of theoretical capacity or better out of zinc, it would seem one gets very little out of a thin sheet of lead. Most materials have to be in particle form to get enough surface area to be of use. Also it soon shorted out, and then again, and I decided to give up on thin paper separators and stick with the more robust liquid filled battery design with "pocket" type electrodes. But with all the other things to do I didn't get any further.

   I reluctantly decided to leave the reluctance motor until winter. But I decided to plane some of the wavy lumber I'd been cutting and make a large new workbench in my electronics lab to work on the motor and controller there. My test equipment and electronics components for the motor controller are there and it's indoors. And along those lines, as I perhaps belatedly realized the summer was drawing to a close, on the 22nd I started in on construction projects like putting up eavestroughs on the big roof over my travel trailer (which had been up for a year - took 5 days). The lumber storage shed was to be next, but I decided to put it off and use the spare gravel space under the travel trailer roof for lumber this winter. I could get more of the wood cut up instead. and do the bandmill spring tensioning system. Another two days was consumed shifting things around and moving the wood, which had been accumulating in an untidy pile.

   I also planed a few boards of alder (for the workbench?) and then a couple of spruce, after installing a new pair of blades in the planer, which set has escalated from 40$ to over 100$ in the 10 years since I bought it. The second spruce board had a broken off screw in it, which wrecked the brand new planer blades: now they leave a narrow ridge in the middle of a planed board. I remember one screw breaking, but I cut the end off that board - this was a different one I missed or forgot about. That's also what happened to my last pair of planer blades - a cut off nail or something when they were almost new. I can turn them around and use the second side, but things aren't looking good for making lumber to sell! I ran a metal detector on a couple of boards I thought were suspect before using the bandmill on them, and I think I'd best do the same for anything I'm going to put through the planer. A bit late tho!

In Passing
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)

Electromagnetic Induction Arson: Burning the world!

Note: I thought this would be a few paragraphs and a few pictures. But apparently I'm incapable of writing anything briefly to make a point and it got longer and longer. I hope it's at least a good story.

   This is so incredible it's hard to know whether to even believe what one sees in the photos in the reports. Unfortunately it's all starting to form coherent patterns of vast wanton destruction for the purposes of sabotage and theft on the grandest scale. It has the appearance of a plot so twisted and diabolical that one could hardly invent it for a movie.

   In a wildfire the first things to burn are the dry grass and leaves, and twigs and branches of trees. All this is the 'kindling' that spreads the fire.

  A lady in California brought attention to it on youtube ("intruthbygrace"). In a news report about "wildfires" she saw on TV, she noticed what most of us missed: that the wrong things had burned. An entire highway crash fence had caught fire, all the posts and the protruding 6"x8"s that held the metal guard rail, and left the guard rails lying on the ground at the edge of the highway. (Both sides of the highway?!?) But the dry grass and leaves everywhere around it weren't burned, and neither were the trees nearby. And somewhere a metal sign had burned off its two posts, lying on the ground. And again, the grass, shrubs and bushes near the sign were untouched.

   It takes a long time to burn through heavy posts. They should be pretty much the last thing to go in a fire, not the first, kept lit by the heat around them. But trees are cleared away from the edge of highways. What lit them on fire if even the 'kindling' all around them wasn't burning? And, each post is well separated from the others, so what could cause the fire to spread from post to post with no fire in between posts, to bring down the entire crash fence? What do the posts have that the grass and leaves don't have? Seemingly the answer is they have bolts in them, which could be heated electromagnetically or by microwaves.

   Then other people have noted trees that seemed to catch fire from inside, sparks and flame bursting out from the interior while the bark is still hardly touched. Apparently the US government had some bizarre explanation handy for that. (Happens all the time... really?) But... burning from the inside? Aren't microwave ovens described by the term "cooks from the inside"?
   And what about the "fire tornadoes" so many have seen, wildfires that burn faster and hotter than any ever before, spreading with record-breaking rapidity? Lighting up "everything at once" sounds like the best way to achieve such results, which are reminiscent of the firebombing of Dresden or Tokyo during the second world war.

   And why have there been SO many fires burning all across the west? Sure, it's dry, but it seems nobody knows how most of the fires, at least those in California, started. They are evidently not mostly lightning strikes. They are mysteries. But many people have started saying owing to the suspicious circumstances that they must be being started by some "directed energy weapon" ("DEW").

California. What kind of wildfires repeatedly leap wide paved areas to utterly devastate widely separated buildings,
while leaving the vegetation seemingly intact? Arson is the word that comes to mind.
But what kind of arsonist could do so much damage without being apprehended and stopped, and so fast?

   Even before recognizing the suspicious causes and suspicious nature of so many of the fires, people had been calling it a "federal land grab". The US government has seized possession of the burned out areas as they occur and deemed them federal property, apparently without even offering compensation to the owners, who are left homeless or businessless without a thought as to their wellbeing. Outright theft!

   So there's a motive to explain the bizarre events behind this bizarre story.

   Perhaps some of the huge number of fires in BC as well as in Washington and Oregon states may be "camouflage" so the huge number of California fires seems less suspicious, and to keep firefighters too busy to analyze, seek causes and ask questions.

Fort McMurray, Alberta, May 2016.
Yellow is said to be "hot", white is "still burning".
   Now let us go back to May 2016. In spite of it being spring and probably not too dry, "forest fires" sprung up around the largely new "tarsands oil town" of Fort McMurray, Alberta. An infrared satellite image gives the appearance of the town being very selectively targeted by fire, does it not? (According to the description yellow is hot, white (all those houses?) is still burning.) The fires and heat seem to be all around the town in a rectangle. Nowhere else.

   What happened IN town, probably right after the evacuation, appears to defy natural explanation. Another youtuber as well ("intruthbygrace" and "PlaneTruth") shows us aerial photos of the town after the fire. Whole streets of houses are burned up to a crisp, not even any walls left standing; no wood left to be seen anywhere. (Even a house that caught fire in Queen Charlotte this summer, and then exploded because the owner was storing dynamite and blasting caps in it, had part of a wall left standing.) These various streets in "Fort Mac" where everything was razed to the ground, are ringed by seemingly untouched trees. And around those are other untouched streets with untouched houses. How did the fires get into and utterly destroy these various interior streets or even individual houses, with no apparent fire path or damage around them?
   The haste with which everyone was evacuated to distant points from a fire that was only right around the town seems reminiscent of some wartime ruse to cause an army to flee without a fight.

This one looks like it was taken in autumn, some months after the fire.
Still, it doesn't look like the fires did the trees much harm.

Most of the ash seems to be rings around house foundations

Some trees burned here.
But how did the handful of trees behind the front row torch all those houses?
Or did the houses burn first?

Masonry and metal: scarcely a board seems to remain of the houses (here
some townhouses?), while the trees nearby are untouched or recovered quickly.

   Assuming somebody has the means, do we have a motive? The tar sands was (and probably again is, at terrible environmental cost) supplying a lot of crude bituminous petroleum. The price of oil dropped to the point where all the newly created "fracking" oil seams in the USA were losing a lot of money. And so the banks that loaned them billions of dollars were also losing.
   If a major source of oil like the tarsands could somehow be shut down without arousing suspicion - or at least without anyone being able to point a finger directly at someone - the price of oil would go up and help all those banks and rich people with shares in them and in the "fracking" industry to make money instead of losing it. What more natural thing could happen than a big forest fire... which just might happen to pass through the town where all the workers lived? The timing (Wait... at the start of May?!?), the location and the rapidity of the spread are suspicious, and the effects of the - multiple individual fires - inside and outside the town still more so.
   There is a revolving door between the big banks in the US and the government, with things like last year's treasury secretary (or watchdog over the big banks) becoming next year's Goldman Sachs Bank chief executive and vice versa. This has been going on ad nauseum for decades now. And it has been said that there is a new major fraud averaging every four days on Wall Street. The corruption seems almost total. But are they really heartless enough to pull such an egregious caper? They start wars in the name of profits. Did they not blow up the World Trade Center? This would be nothing to them.

   So the next question would be, HOW could this possibly be being done? I suspect theories of "directed energy weapons" shooting down from the sky might have some problems with physics. There are however inductively heated cordless kettles and kitchen stoves. They heat the metal of the bottom of the pot inductively. My theory is that there is some big truck with powerful electromagnetic, or alternatively microwave, heating equipment in it. It drives down the highway or street or trail turning everything metal red hot behind it as it passes - including the bolts in sign posts and guard rail posts, and the nails in house walls. The wood ignites from the red or even white hot metal embedded in it. Maybe it's disguised as a fire engine to explain away its otherwise suspicious presence near fires.
   That would describe the nature of the fires pretty well. In general they happened next to roads. It's easy to visualize a truck driving down the highway, turning the bolts and guard rail red hot and thus lighting up each post of the guard rail as it passes by it.
   In Fort McMurray, the patterns of destruction could indicate that they drove down some back alleys (a common Alberta municipality layout feature), lighting up the homes on both sides of the alley. With red hot nails in all the walls, the entire house burns to the ground - no wall left standing and indeed little wood remaining because the fire didn't simply progress from where it started to other parts of the house: the whole house lit up, and all the houses in quick succession. The trees around, and the houses across the street, seem untouched or at least soon recovered because the "firenado" of the hot, fast fires from the houses sent the most intense heat upward into the sky. Apparently they burned too fast to start catching nearby flammable material on fire. It was only May. The trees were too green and the houses across the streets were too far away.

   We know some fires start naturally or by accident. A quick question, easy to ask but not easy for me to answer: WHERE have most of the bizarre looking California fires started? and WHERE are most of the many forest fires currently burning in BC starting? Is it near roads or possible vehicle access points of any sort in most cases? If so, that would be a smoking gun. But someone has pointed out that the 2018 fires have been small and numerous, and no one knows how most of them started. They joined each other to become larger conflagrations as they grew, there being too many starting too fast to put them all out in time to stop them.

   In the above image from the Fort McMurray fire also, there appear to be numerous separate small fires upwind of the town rather than one conflagration spreading through a wide area. Here's a potential scenario, with Fort McMurray as "practice" before the California events:

* The above fires might well have been started with incendiaries from an airplane - this pass south of town and at least one other west of it per the satellite image quite a way above. Note the nearly straight line the upwind points form... as if under a flight path. In this wide country with hardly any roads it's not likely anyone would be out in the woods and close enough to witness it.
* The wind blew the smoke over the town and perps went in and said "It's a big forest fire, moving fast. Everybody has to evacuate."
* The residents evacuated.
* A "fire truck" previously hidden in town in some garage went out in the deserted streets under cover of the smoke and electromagnetically lit many houses on fire.
* Some more forests were lit on fire in Alberta and in BC (more incendiaries?) as "camouflage" and to keep firefighters busy so they wouldn't have time to investigate carefully.

   I admit that sounds pretty wild. OTOH the whole event just seemed crazy. Especially in the spring. (Hardly had people started returning when there were heavy rains and flooding.) And the California fires are equally bizarre and similar.

   I suspect that if you can find the trucks and the weird equipment they must have - probably including large generators to power the heating equipment - you'll have found the arsonists. (Or maybe not... how to harness HE ray energy has been known to the "deep state" for at least well over a decade, even if they won't release it to the public, and it could explain where the high power that would be needed for this comes from.)

   Finally who could and would be doing it? All I can come up with is the lawless banks and corporations and the lawless "deep state" together. Observant people have noted for a decade now that the banks have gone from being parasites on society to being a terminal cancer. The government does nothing because the banksters and corporations own it and control it through deeply woven interconnections. Every year the crimes and thefts have become more egregious. No one has ever stopped them, punished them or (better) "dispatched" any of them and they get bolder and bolder. These crimes "take the cake" as it were... or is there worse to come? (Did you know that with legislation over the last decade depositors have gone from being the "top of the list" creditors of the banks to the bottom should the bank have gambled away your money and become insolvent? All these "zombie banks" are kept afloat by money printing, fraud and theft. Should any one big bank go under, much less all of them, deposit insurance plans will be bankrupt. Or the government will print so much money to cover it that the money will become worthless, like in Venezuela where today heaps of bills even with huge denominations are being tossed into garbage cans for disposal.)

   And this is only part of a broader picture. Over the whole world everyone is starting to sense that something has fundamentally changed. The sociopaths "at the top" no longer have any regard or respect for the populations they supposedly lead. Much of the world's weather is now being controlled artificially. Droughts and floods are becoming deliberately created phenomena. Since the early HAARP and high altitude aerosol spraying, weather modification and weather creating technology has advanced considerably. I'm not even going to touch on this here except to say that many if not most of the horrible things we're seeing today appear to be man made - deliberately, but not with any coherent overriding plan or theme (or even recognition of cause and effect) unless it's just to spread chaos and destruction and kill people in vast numbers. (The increasing earthquakes (other than those caused by fracking) and volcanoes are no doubt natural, but somehow fit well into the overall temper of the times.) The chief perps think they'll be immune to all this in their bunkers and island retreats, but the Most Highs rule in the affairs of men, and it has been promised that those that remain when the time comes for cleansing the planet and not reformed themselves by then will all one way or another be removed from the planet. (That will probably be given effect to by men, too.) Their callous and wanton disregard for the lives of others will come back to haunt them. People will be making decisions in the not distant future that they never thought they would have to make, to be a contributing part of the future as the old society collapses, or to emotionally and mentally separate themselves from mankind and live selfishly. Let us pray for everyone and for each other in this trying time.

   I can hardly see all these horrific happenings as being anything but the death throes of corrupt 20th century civilization. Obviously with all these weather manipulations, electromagnetic arson, financial slight of hand and other tricks to try to steal everything from everyone, it's going to get much worse before it gets better. For how much longer will orderly commerce for goods and supplies be available as there's more and more piracy, theft and disruptions? It would seem to be appropriate now or soon to get your stored food and supplies together to maintain life and limb!

   From another even broader perspective, the world is overpopulated and this is soon to be corrected. Think of the inequity this way: if the world has two times too many people, for 1/4 of the population to live well they need half the resources. The other 3/4 of the population is then obliged to live on the other half, so they only have - on average - 1/3 of what is desirable. Only a minority can live well to grow into their full potential for development. With three times too many people, then for 1/4 of the population to live well they would consume 3/4 of the resources and the other 3/4 of this huge population would have to live on the remaining 1/4, leaving them each with only 11% of what a good living entails. Since those "with" will have to guard it and struggle to keep it, and it won't be safe to walk down the street, really almost no one would have a good quality of life.
   Now apply these ratios to a comfortable 3 billion - versus 6 billion - versus 9 billion - for a rough estimate of where we are today at around 7.5 billion, and we see why nearly everyone is less and less well off with each passing decade as the population grows, and why millions of refugees are on the move to seek a better life or even continuation of life, and why things must soon collapse. It doesn't excuse egregious actions against one's fellows, but it does make them more understandable. Overpopulation is the underlying problem behind all the other problems.

   When the worst is over, the remaining population, which is expected to be well under 3 billion or even 2 by 2050, can get on with building new and lasting societies based on the core values of life and the enhanced moralities that will spring from those. [7corevalues.org] The need to manage global population will have become abundantly understood by the discerning majority.
   And at some time during all this turmoil, it has been said that a new divine son is to appear. He will not be born a babe like Jesus was but will appear as a full fledged adult complete with his staff. His divinity will be readily apparent to all who see him. He is to remain on this world for 1000 years to aid and assist us in helping ourselves, by which time the last vestiges of the ancient Lucifer rebellion will have been effaced and the planet brought back into the main stream of universe evolution for the establishment of the beginnings of the era of light and life.

   There are various youtube channels covering the induced fires and the incredible patents and weather modification machines created - and deployed - in the past decade. I've only looked at a very few videos myself. Look them up if you want to know more: aplanetruth.info - mental_boost - intruthbygrace - neverlosetruth ...

The following quote can perhaps be applied equally to individuals or to whole societies, at any point in history.

"By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but every corrupt tree bears evil fruit. A good tree cannot yield evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is is presently hewn down and cast into the fire." - Jesus

"By Prescription Only": Overregulation is Causing Shorter, Less Healthy Lives

Note: Well, here's another topic that I thought I'd write a few paragraphs about, and somehow over the month it's turned into a booklet instead!

Caveat: I've tried to be factual but I didn't have time to properly research every regulation and every substance in detail. I've done a lot by memory, and memory is notoriously fickle, especially as to finer details. Doubtless there are mistakes. The overall deleterious patterns of authoritarian tyranny as related to this subject are what I want to show.


   There are some very good and useful medications out there, which can be obtained by prescription only. Because of the fact that they are prescription, you haven't heard of most of them, and there are probably lots I haven't heard of, either. And for most of them, neither you nor I can get them - at all - whether or not they would be beneficial to us. Your doctor isn't permitted to prescribe them except under certain conditions for fear of losing their medical license, and that means some of them are virtually never prescribed. Put simply, they are banned. It isn't just you that is being denied freedom of choice, freedom to use your own best judgment about what might be helpful to you. Even your doctor has been denied the freedom to evaluate and judge what might in their patient's best interest. And you thought you lived in a free country?


   Take the case of DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide. [ (CH3)2SO ] Never heard of it? Not a surprise. It's actually a simple solvent, not specifically a medication at all. Once it could be freely bought and sold. In medical use, it seems to cause absorption though the skin of whatever is added to it. Thus it can be a means to get medications or beneficial substances into the body via the skin, which can be useful to get specific things absorbed into specific problem areas rather than just ingesting them, a route through which it becomes modified through the digestive system (and perhaps ruined as to therapeutic effect) - and then diffused through the body, instead of being concentrated at the problem spot. Astute people were having good success treating various conditions, especially certain skin conditions, that the medical establishment wasn't doing very well at.
   An existing solvent couldn't be patented, and perhaps it was beneficially replacing some prescription medications(?) The pharmaceutical companies raised a fuss. When just one person in Ireland who had been known to be using DMSO died, from causes which were never determined much less blamed on the DMSO, it was seized on as an excuse to make this common solvent available "by prescription only". (Compare that to 50,000 deaths per year from acetaminophen ('Tylenol'), by accidental overdose because various medications with different names contain it, or because it damages the liver if combined with alcohol - where are the warnings? Still not "prescription".)
   Thus almost as soon as DMSO was discovered to have medical value it disappeared from the shelves and, because it isn't specifically a drug itself and almost no conditions had yet been established for which it might be prescribed, it is "by prescription only" yet doctors are not permitted to prescribe it, even when asked for it point blank by a patient who knows what they need it for and how to use it. You can buy any number of harmful solvents, but a rare one useful to health has been banned. (It occurs to me that perhaps DMSO just might hold the key, or part of the key, to healing moles on the skin. How will anyone ever find out?)
   And you thought you lived in a free country?


   The variants of sumatriptan - brands Imatrex, Maxalt and whatever - are the one thing that will take a migraine - that has perhaps laid someone low with pounding headache and vomiting even for a whole day or more - and simply make it go away, or greatly alleviate it, in an hour or so. I've heard that in Britain and Sweden it is freely sold on store shelves along with aspirin, advil, tylenol, ibuprofen etc. Here in North America it is "by prescription only". What that means is no one hears about it. I even know people here who've gone to hospital for help because their migraine is so bad and has lasted so long - and they still aren't told about it! They go in there for relief, and are given who knows what worthless treatment when the whole staff must - surely? - know full well what the simple and effective remedy is. (It's also available as an injection that apparently provides relief in ten minutes! Also note that the sooner the pill is taken when the headache is coming on, the less is needed, and that it lasts maybe 12 hours or more, so usually one dose is all that's needed.) If perchance the staff of this small town hospital somehow doesn't know there's a remedy for migraines, how much more does that say the pharmacies should be selling the medication on the shelves for people to find for themselves instead of hiding it away?
   According to Wikipedia, serotonin levels "often become extremely erratic" at the onset of a migraine. Sumatriptan "is an agonist for serotonin which it is structurally similar to", and binding to it causes constriction of the dilated [inflamed?] cranial and basilar arteries. (Might we then suspect that the migraine causing action from migranous foods is to somehow disrupt the normal serotonin levels in susceptible people?)

   I eventually learned that certain foods always (MSG, lemon peel, yogurt...), and certain other foods unless they are very fresh (milk [eg, even beyond one day open in the fridge], chicken...), are the cause of my migraines. That understanding, which I gained in my 30s, has saved me from many migraines. Still, eating is still often like 'Russian roulette', since food that isn't fresh enough still tastes fine, and unless you made it yourself at home often you don't know what some of the ingredients are. (I recently dared to eat some canned chicken. To my relief it was fine. So gladly I had some from another can of the same chicken with a somewhat later expiry date. It gave me a doozey of a migraine, which required way over 100 grams of sumatriptan taken perhaps "not enough at a time" over quite a few hours to more or less subdue - an unpleasant day. (At least I wasn't in bed "comatose" for the day like before sumatriptan.) Probably the chicken wasn't fresh that day when it was canned. And I've had migraines from many canned foods.)
   Sumatriptan has been available since 1991 - 27 years. Yet it seems to be a well kept secret. The spelling checker here is underlining it and all of the words related to it. To whose benefit? After too many years of having too many 'lost' days of serious suffering, my brother gave me a pill, and said to bite off just 1/3 of it. For the first time, the vise squeezing my head simply vanished within an hour or so. I don't know where he found out about it. My doctor had never told me about it.

   Can anyone imagine this senseless lack of information to migraine sufferers existing if sumatriptan tablets were on the shelves with the rest of the pain medications? Making it "by prescription only" has effectively kept it out of the hands of most migraine sufferers, for whom it is the only remedy so far that has ever really worked.

   And of course one has to make a needless visit to a doctor each year to get the prescription, needlessly costing the medical system, and then pay through the nose - 10 to 20 $ per pill - over 200 $ at a crack - to get it. It's worth it if you have a migraine, but I can't help but think that I'm paying a ransom, and that it must be cheaper in Europe. And surely the makers there make more money not less because migraine sufferers know what it is and can readily buy it when they need it.

   And beyond the price, with them being made so hard to get at the best of times, it's almost impossible to "stock up" on any prescription medication for  times of delivery and service disruptions. "By prescription only" of almost anything means it will unavailable and useless to all when hard times are upon us. Having put aside some emergency food and being on an island where many seafoods are relatively abundant, it's things like sumatriptan that I am most apprehensive about running out of.


   Metformin was first formulated in about 1920. It was soon put to effective use for type 2 diabetes. But in recent decades and especially in this century quite a few studies have found a surprising number of other healthful effects. It's anti obesity, anti Alzheimer, anti cancer, anti diabetes and a number of other things. Not only can it make older people healthier, recent findings have indicated it might extend life even by up to 40 years, or even 'to age 140'. These estimates by its enthusiasts may be wildly optimistic. But even if it's only five or ten years, or even just healthier years, is it not worth taking? If it was on the store shelves this would become widely known, and it is plainly obvious that then many people would start living longer and healthier lives.

   None of the usual reasons given for a drug to be "by prescription" apply to metformin:
   So it's pretty much like taking a vitamin. But once again in our "control freak" society, it can't be had without a prescription - and our doctors aren't allowed to prescribe it unless you have diabetes. Once it could be ordered at high cost through the mail from abroad, but now the company says it can no longer ship drugs to Canada because most of its shipments are being stopped by customs and returned. The only way to get any now would be to bum it off a diabetic. And I suppose if a diabetic were caught taking money from you to recoup his cost, he would be charged with illegal drug dealing and be liable to fines or imprisonment. No such thing as it being "between consenting adults". So here we have something that does no harm and apparently a lot of good being ruthlessly kept out of citizens' hands. No amount of effort or money is too great to enforce each nit-picky little law. It doesn't matter how much harm the law is doing and that it is doing no one the slightest earthly good.

   I complained to my Member of Parliament nearly two years ago about this, predictably to no effect. I don't think anyone in our government or even the Canadian government as a whole is actually able to right wrongs or to undo wrong or obsolete restrictions however stupid once they have been made. They're not on anybody's agenda, and nobody feels qualified - or is permitted - to make a new decision however much sense it seems to make and no matter how long ago, how uninformed or misinformed or how lacking in perspective the original decision had been.

   And you thought you lived in a free country? It has become highly dysfunctional and is creepingly more autocratic, dictatorial and hard to live in every year.

Antipsychotic Medications

   Unfortunately there are people born into this world who develop chemical imbalances that start to affect their brains as they mature. From what I've seen (and I'm certainly no expert), it often seems to relate to extraordinary stress when their mother is 4-5 months pregnant as the brain is developing: eg, serious illness, toxic relationship with their spouse, and so on.
   There are medications to help control the imbalances, and they are prescription. Perhaps in this case it's best that precautions be taken, because no one of normal chemical balance should buy and consume these pills by accident. But being prescription, the patient - or their caregiver in the more serious cases - isn't permitted to stock up. This probably causes trouble today, and it's doubtless going to cause real trouble in times of uncertain deliveries. There will be people becoming really insane, needlessly. (Of course, there will be people going hungry because they haven't stocked up on food, too. What to do?)

Antibiotics and Nano-Sliver

   The argument that antibiotic use should be carefully controlled so that bacteria don't develop an immunity to them was a good one. But there's a huge flaw: Antibiotics are wantonly added to animal feed from chicken pellets to farm fish feed to prevent epidemics in overcrowded flocks, herds and schools. This use doubtless far outweighs all human medical use and tests show that antibiotics have become ubiquitous in the environment. No, it's not because someone carelessly flushed some pills down the toilet! When seen in this context, it might be understood how little effect making antibiotics for humans "prescription only" really has had at preventing antibiotic resistant bacteria from developing. The feed for your chickens is loaded with those same antibiotics that you have to beg your doctor for a small bottle of. In some jurisdictions one can freely buy the very same pills at a pet shop that are impossible to buy to have some on hand from a pharmacy - to put in your aquarium or give to your dog.
   As feared and not surprisingly, bacteria are becoming resistant to them. Antibiotics that were once so effective, like penicillin, now are effective against few diseases and new antibiotics have been rolled out. But more and more disease organisms are becoming and will become immune to all of them. The "elephant in the room" of animal feed antibiotics overshadows all. Human medical use, underdosage or overuse has almost no bearing on the problem. So why not put them on the drug store shelves?

   A doctor is likely to know best whether you should take one, which type is best, the recommended daily dosage and the number of days for each individual type. But a doctor will have that knowledge and can make a good recommendation whether the medication is "prescription only" or "on the shelf". And today many patients are quite capable, if they choose, to look on the web and make a reasonably informed decision for themself, or may have a condition that requires occasional use with which they are familiar without going to a doctor each time. Or a pharmacist might be able to make a recommendation for a particular common case without referring to a doctor. They often know more about them than the doctor. But when it's prescription, the pharmacist can't sell it (or apparently even suggest it) without a doctor having specifically prescribed it.
   How controlled do we want to be versus how proactive about our health? Occasional decisions about antibiotics that are less than optimal would inevitably be made. They are anyway. But at lower overall cost to every other patient and to the medical system. I needed antibiotics a year ago for a tooth infection, but if I hadn't remembered while in the office from a previous occasion long ago that I have a bad allergic reaction to "_cillin" types, the doctor would have prescribed me one of them. I'd have seen a doctor anyway, but I suspect the pharmacist could probably have told me a good one to use. Further, they always say to take the whole course, but when the problem goes away in a day after one or two pills, a few more is plenty and it's plainly pointless to take dozens for another 12 days (or whatever). But the doctor doesn't know because he's not there. Stopping sooner means less antibiotic use instead of more. We all have discernment and should be able to take some reasonable level of responsibility for our own health if we are pretty sure of what's best. We are each ultimately responsible for our own health anyway.

Nano Silver

   The decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics brings us to the antibacterial effects of silver nano-particles, which hasn't deteriorated over time. It's not that silver was ever made "prescription" or banned as an antibacterial agent. It's used in dressings and bandages for that express purpose. Other than that, it's simply been forgotten. Back when its use was common, no one understood what it was doing. Why did babies fed with a silver spoon or drinking from a silver cup seem to be healthier than others? Besides magic or superstition, why did a piece of silver tossed into a cask of drinking water on a ship make it safer to drink later? No one knew. "Nano-particles" was not in the vocabulary. Nor was "bacteria". ("Surely nothing too small to see could affect our health!")
   As antibiotics lose their effectiveness, silver will reclaim its proper place in health and medicine. Silver, once called "the devil's metal", is starting to be rediscovered as "the angels' metal" (which - ahem - doubtless explains its chemical symbol, "Ag" for "Angelium"). One can buy "colloidal silver" or make it (various instructions on the web, I'm sure) if one has some pure silver metal -- those same silver coins and bars so many are saying to have in hand for barter when (not if) the currency of your country hyperinflates or the banks or government steals your savings from your account(s). (Cypress: stolen; Venezuela: hyperinflated away; Argentina, Brazil, Turkey: hyperinflating now. Canada: not yet; USA: may be last? but will not be excluded.)

Hidden Products - "Shadow Banning"

   Then there's rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, iodine solution, and model airplane (styrene plastic) cement... sometimes matches... and who knows what else? My first experience was being unable to find model airplane cement. It seemed that a few foolish kids somewhere had been sniffing the stuff and doing themselves harm. Instead of asking schools to educate about the dangers, the government apparently forced the stores to keep it behind the counter. What exactly does that mean? Are the stores supposed to educate the customers or vet them and decide who may buy it? Is the store liable if someone buys it, sniffs it and does themself harm? What about the millions of others, who can't find it when they want it for more constructive purposes? But at least customers will ask, "How are you supposed to glue these models together?" - and will presumably be given the glue. If the clerk knows.

   But with that precedent, it seems pharmacies are now required to hide a whole host of things behind the counter. I went into a Shoppers Drug Mart one day to get some iso alcohol. It seemed they were out of it, as well as rubbing alcohol. Other stuff was in its place on the shelf. Every time I went back, they still seemed to be out of it. I finally asked when they would be getting some in, or if for some reason they didn't sell it any more. They had it, all along! It was behind the prescriptions counter - for the asking. Later I found the same thing with iodine solution. And you can't just ask for "iodine": you have to know it's called "Lugol's solution". They won't tell you. A more cryptic name can hardly be imagined. (Yes, more than a few drops is toxic, but a couple a week can be a healthful supplement. That's why it's added to salt.) Now you have to know all these things exist, what they're called, and beg for them from the staff.
   And was the point - to make people suspicious? Now I'm wondering how many other things are hidden behind the counters, that they can't sell me or even tell me about unless I know they exist and exactly what they're called? How will new things be introduced if no one is permitted to see them?

   What this is quite obviously going to cause, quite aside from aggravation for all, is younger people - meaning all future generations - aren't ever going to know where to get any of these things, because they've never seen them for sale. They may have heard of rubbing alcohol, but they won't know that people still use it. It will be considered to be something out of old folk medicine, not something that might be useful to them. Otherwise it would be available in the drug store, right? Various things that used to be freely available on the shelves they will have never heard of. And then the stores will stop ordering them because no one is buying any. Effectively, these things are being banned without cause - and surely without conscious intent to do so.

   "You can't cure stupid." is a saying that we might apply both to those very few individuals who harm themselves with substance abuse (educate, educate!), and to arbitrary government regulators who seem rarely to consider the real results to most everyone when they make some idiotic restrictive law to try to cure stupid with more stupidity.

"Controlled Substances"

   There are other banned or "controlled" substances. I'll just mention a couple.

   Potassium permanganate has long been used by nurses for skin poultices (I forget what the conditions are for applying it). It is also used to help remove iron and rust from water in water and swimming pool systems. I wanted it for new chemistry batteries. Now you can't get it except at a water treatment store, and you have to give your name and identification and the reason you're buying it. Why? Why is every customer a suspect. And of what?

   I understand sodium hydroxide ("caustic soda") used to be readily available at groceries or drug stores. I suppose somebody decided it was too hazardous to allow the public to have. Now you can buy sodium hydroxide as various products such as photo developer and "Easy Off" oven cleaner. But now you don't know it's sodium hydroxide except by reading the fine print, and then you don't know whether you're getting pure product or if there are additives, nor how concentrated it is. It's still just as hazardous. But as long as it doesn't have a descriptive "chemically" sounding name, it's okay to sell. You have to go to a "soap making" supply to actually buy the pure powder, whatever the actual use will be.

   When I was growing up a friend of mine got a chemistry set. His first projects were of course small "pipe bombs", but he was careful with them, and soon he became quite knowledgeable about chemical things in practical "how to" terms, well beyond anything taught in chemistry class in high school.
   I [eventually] came up with using potassium oxalate for battery electrolyte because someone gave me an old kids' chemistry set in about 2009 (seemingly dating from the same era - late 1960s - the bottles looked the same as my friend's) and one of the bottles was oxalic acid. If it wasn't for that, I doubt if I ever would have looked up "oxalate" and found that most oxalates including nickel and zinc are insoluble - a key consideration for a battery electrolyte and evidently almost unique to oxalate and hydroxide. Today I don't think you can buy a "chemistry set". I've never seen one for sale. The government probably doesn't permit them. How are new generations supposed to get interested in and learn chemistry? Could lack of overall chemistry perspective be part of the reason why today most research is focused in the area of lithium batteries while all other battery chemistry possibilities get sidetracked or ignored?


   Edgar Casey said anyone who would eat two or three almonds a day need never fear cancer, and that they contained iron and phosphorus in the right proportions and the most digestible forms to inhibit tumor growth. "need never fear" is doubtless an overstatement, but it's perhaps valid if one gets enough sunshine and if the diet is otherwise healthy, as it commonly was back when that was said. (Pine nuts are said to be as good, but I doubt they were being harvested and sold back then.)
   So when I heard about Laetrile, and that it was made from bitter almond or peach seeds, I wasn't too surprised. In 1830 amygdalin was isolated from bitter almond seeds, and it was used as a cancer treatment until the 1920s. The synthesized version, Laetrile, was patented in 1961.
   I remember the furor on American television when Laetrile was banned in the USA apparently mainly by "big pharma" along with the government. Their arguments as best I recall were that it hadn't undergone countless millions of dollars of testing and development like their products and claims seemed to be unsubstantiated, that 'charlatans' were charging high prices for a "quack" remedy, that one shouldn't give terminal cancer patients "false hopes", and that it contained toxic levels of cyanide. (Gee... charging big money... for giving faint hopes... unhealthy or toxic treatments... that doesn't sound like established cancer treatments?)  But some cancer patients claimed that Laetrile had saved their life when they had been written off as "terminal" by mainstream medicine. I could be wrong, but I pretty distinctly remember the outlawing as being the spring of 1969 when our family was in Upland, California. Wikipedia gives a later year for its banning, 1977. Many individual states reversed the ban, but it seems it's not legal to transport it across state lines, so no one can open a factory for wide distribution. Sometimes people with terminal(?) cancer who still remember about Laetrile go to Mexico to get it.
   Since the source apricot, bitter almond or peach seeds and Laetrile itself contain hydrogen cyanide, Laetrile is probably in want of further research and development to be safer and more effective. Meanwhile, have lives have been shortened and sickened over the decades by its banning? Has valuable progress and improvements been stifled? Will we ever find out?

   Myself, I prefer the preventions instead of waiting for cancer to strike. By the time it's diagnosed it's so often already too late: the daily almonds without the cyanide, nutritious berries like strawberry jam, and most of all vitamin D, which cuts the risk of cancer in half regardless of getting sunshine - and perhaps more than in half here on the commonly cloudy west coast where cancer is so epidemic. I strongly suspect I'd have been gone 15 or 20 years ago now if I hadn't started daily tanning through my office window whenever there was sun in the winter (luckily, it had a thin old single pane glass window facing south), and later started taking vitamin D.


   What, how on Earth is milk banned or controlled? It's in every grocery! But it has been illegal in BC for some decades now to sell "raw milk" straight from the cow. (In 1972 when we moved to Vancouver Island we started buying it from someone down the road, but in that same year the government enforced a stop to it everywhere. Anyone with a cow ever since has been forbidden to sell milk to their neighbors.) Since a cow is a rather large animal that eats a lot and makes a lot of milk, it's not practical to keep one just to get one's own family's milk products. (They're also too big to hide from busybody government regulation enforcers.)
   While we all appreciate the safety of pasteurized milk, is having pasteurization equipment for a cow or even a herd of cattle impractical? ...Or is it regulations that make it impractical or even illegal? (Homogenization is not universally appreciated for several reasons including that the finely emulsified fatty particles absorb without being properly processed and cause calcium buildup in the arteries leading to high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and heart disease.) Doubtless many lives and countless bouts of illness have been saved over the decades by pasteurization. But another result, as an example, is that on this rather remote island of 4500 people with not entirely reliable ferry service even in normal times, there are only a very few dairy cows, and those are owned by Mennonite farming families for their own use. This is probably pretty much true of most of BC. This regulation has taken all milk production out of everyones' hands and concentrated it into big conglomerates. There's probably an economy of scale, but it's ubiquitous just because it's the only way permitted.

   All the milk for the whole province seems to come from a couple of big dairy plants in the lower mainland and one in Victoria. (It is impressive - I've toured it.) The dairy farmers all deliver their raw milk to these plants, so they dairies are concentrated near them. Thus in just one more way, money is drained from rural and small communities into the large cities. With various of these sorts of regulations blocking small scale rural commerce and production, one starts to glimpse why there is still an ongoing shift of population from rural to urban areas and a continuing collapse of small communities.
   And of course, all that milk then has to be distributed from these centers to the rest of the province consuming fossil fuels in transport. (An article I read says that the average gallon of American milk travels 320 miles from udder to store shelf.) There will be no milk products to be had anywhere in the north and indeed in most of BC in the event of fuel shortages and delivery disruptions, and the dairy farmers concentrated near the urban areas will have to slaughter the bulk of their herds while at the same time there aren't any dairy cows to be had anywhere else to start local production and new herds. So at that time yet another ill considered restrictive regulation intended to improve health in the cities will severely contribute to everyones' food problems for an extended period.

   Couldn't we create new types of small scale pasteurizing systems? ...Or is it that one must perhaps pay for a government inspector to inspect the plant daily or frequently, making small scale impractical? I don't know what the regulations are. Whatever the problem is it needs to be addressed so some milk production can be decentralized and moved to local areas where it is consumed.

   This topic turned into more research than I had anticipated - and an unexpected development. Having asked those questions, I took a look on line and immediately found small scale pasteurization machines perhaps for a cow or two (3-14 liters per batch), not very expensive - starting at 440 $US. It lacked "turbulence" to make sure the milk is all the same temperature, but a quick stir would cure that, and it came with a thermometer to insert anywhere. When the heating was done, one runs cold water through the outer jacket to rapidly cool the milk. [MilkyDay.com] Some of their more costly ones made cheese and (bletch!) yogurt. I was more puzzled. What prevents people from getting a cow and a low cost mini pasteurizer and selling pasteurized milk products?
   A further look showed "MilkyDay.com" was in the Czech republic. A "legal" pasteurizer from the USA started at more like 6000 $ and they rapidly went up from there. They did "dairy herd" quantities. One site said you could expect to pay 15000 $. An article about a new one for a dairy herd that was "FDA Approved" ("LiLi") was 70000 $. And they all had temperature chart recorders for which special paper was required and the charts were "legal documents" for when a government inspector comes nosing around to check your (one-cow?) "plant". Yep. That probably explains it. The economical Czech ones seemed to be the only "kitchen appliance" types suitable for one or a very few cows. They probably work fine and make the milk as safe as any other. But they don't record charts and surely aren't "legal" in North America. 6000+ $ for a way overkill machine makes the entry barrier for keeping one dairy cow prohibitive. And maybe it needs a government permit that is priced for a whole herd, too - and possibly may be available only on a quota system. I didn't delve into these potential legalities. But I suspect we're not living in a free country.

   Thinking of those likely coming supply disruptions I visited someone with goats. She gave me a liter of raw goat milk. It seemed quite a lot like cow milk. Apparently it has even more fat.
   Later I thought I'd make a small preparation and on the 31st I ordered the 440 $ pasteurizer (another 100 $US shipping). I don't think I want to look after a cow, or even a goat, at this point. Maybe a goat at some point. (Feta cheese is great!) In a crisis and if there's demand I might just buy raw milk and sell pasteurized in the neighborhood. Or if I don't use it, somebody else doubtless can.
   I mentioned it to the lady with the goats and she said Why? You can pasteurize milk on the stove. On the other hand, she said she doesn't bother and she doesn't like the taste. I can well imagine that doing it on the stove it gets a little burned, and it doesn't get cooled down very fast.
   She then went into all the trouble she goes to to make sure the milk is clean: she throws away the first squirt that comes out, and is very careful not to let her hands touch the milk as it comes out. While admiring her care and technique, I began to appreciate even more the value of pasteurization, with milk collected perhaps less carefully being implicated in several diseases including tuberculosis. Is milk pasteurization a main reason there's virtually no tuberculosis today?

* * *

   What's next? Will "big pharma" buy out the borax companies and remove it from the grocery detergent shelves because it cures arthritis cheaply, without a prescription? (since the main cause of arthritis - and evidently calcium buildup and osteoporosis - is boron deficiency.) Will somebody figure out how to make vitamin D "by prescription" or get it hidden behind the counter, unavailable on the shelves?

   You thought the west won the war and we beat the dictators, and so you live in a free country? Big Brother is watching over you, in collusion with Big Pharma and Big Agra, deciding what you should want without asking you, without allowance for your freedom of choice, geography or other circumstances and without bothering much about facts or the real best interests of citizens!

   When things do become a big enough mess and it becomes apparent that "what is" will have become "what has been" but is now gone, we'll have the chance to rewrite the playbook in accord with the morals and ethics that develop out of the underlying common values all people hold. [7CoreValues.org] I've seen an early draft for another book by Daniel Raphael beyond Understanding Social Sustainability called Restoring the Greatness of Democratic Nations - A Radically Conservative and Liberal Approach, which when completed should be of assistance in coming to grips with these new family, organization and society building/rebuilding concepts.


   On the 4th, after I posted the last newsletter, our band of five the "Huckleberries" played at an outdoor potluck dinner party. My supercorder had parts in just a few of the songs, but those were enough for me to have to memorize. People liked hearing something besides the usual guitars and drums.
   Somewhat to my surprise we seemed to be the musical highlight of the evening and many people got up and danced. All that rehearsing (with the one hour driving for each, cutting into my project time) must have paid off. But after playing down on my knees to be by a mic on the stage I resolved to bring my own specially configured tiny mic and amp next time. My supercorder is louder than other recorders; loud enough without an amp - but not when everybody else is amplified! (For over a decade now I've always stuffed bits of cotton batten in my ears when I play, even unamplified, and while I have nasty tinnitus and some hearing loss - especially from when I was making and tuning Supercorders - after 40 years in jams, bands and orchestras I don't need a hearing aid. Not yet, anyway. (unlike our drummer, who is probably a decade younger than me.))

   But later in the month they decided they didn't need a flute. They were gathering to practice on a moment's notice and that didn't fit with my 1/2 hour drive into town. And as that took up a considerable amount of my time I'm just as glad. Time to try something else, I guess. I bought a keyboard for a pianist to accompany me, and we had a good playing session...but only one so far.

Democracy Denied in California

   Not long ago, there was a "state initiative" for something proposed in California. I forget what it was. To get an initiative - a citizen proposed referendum - put on the ballot for the next election in the state, one must get a very large number of signatures - something like 400,000 in California - in a relatively short time, of people who think putting it on the ballot is a good idea.
   As I recall, it had something to do with health, perhaps vaccinations, and "big pharma" didn't like it. After enough people had signed, some of the signatures were being carried in a government vehicle, from which they were "lost". Without those signatures, there weren't enough others to cause the "initiative" to be placed on the ballot - and it wasn't. Somebody - who but the governor - or perhaps a federal official? (under orders from whom... president Obama?) - put out the word that some signatures should vanish. Those in subordinate positions wouldn't take such a risk to their career. Somewhere, somehow, it was ordered or "authorized" from "above".

   Now someone else sponsored another "initiative", this one to break California into three states. He spent 1.7 million dollars on the campaign and got the required signatures. California is certainly a large and diverse state by US standards, with a population as large as all of Canada. But the state went to court to have it blocked and a judge ruled that it couldn't go ahead. It won't be on the next ballot. Whether it was a good idea or not, I'm not going to venture an opinion. We'll never find out whether it would have succeeded or been resoundingly shot down.
   In the comments below the article (on Zerohedge.com) some said the proposed dividing lines were bad. Others said it was a trick to give California 6 senators instead of 2. Others liked the idea.
   Nobody seemed to remember the still recent 'pharma' affront, and with only a couple of exceptions, most of the respondents seemed to be oblivious to a much more fundamental issue: in a democracy the people are supposed to have the power. The right of people to propose state initiatives was established (rightly in my view and the concept needs to be expanded) and specific terms were set up for citizens to get one placed on the next state ballot. What an evil thing it is when the will of the public can be arbitrarily thwarted without even permitting the vote that has met the state established requirements, just because present business or politicians don't like it.
   It says volumes about the present state of American democracy, that it can be arbitrarily flung aside without permitting a vote if it's not expedient or works against some established corporate interest for the greater public interest. What evil precedents these set!

   These evils aside, the initiative process may be an entry hook for Social Sustainability Design Teams to start evolving our stagnant democracies. They might devise and recommend important and even dramatic changes to the way things work to make conditions more fair and equitable for everyone.

South Africa: White farmers want to flee to Russia

   I was optimistic recently when a seemingly changed attitude by the "leader" of South Africa was reported in a news article. But apparently land theft and genocide there was only "off" when he was talking to the foreign press. Now 15000 white farmers in South Africa have sent a delegation of 30 families to the mild-climate Stavropol region of Russia to ask if they can lease some of that 43 million hectares of farmland that Russia has been offering free to its own citizens and to China, saying it's a matter of life and death. They will contribute up to 100000$ per family.
   They are being murdered at a high rate, and complain that the government of racist Cyril Ramaphosa is egging the violence on and avowedly intends to expropriate (steal) all their land and "return" it to "the black citizens" of South Africa. (The white people now aren't even citizens?!? And do recall there were no blacks in the Cape of Good Hope area when white farmers started settling it, and only nomadic tribes in other areas. The Hottentots are gone. So to whom is the land being "returned"? But first the whites took black slaves, and then the nation and its opportunities attracted more and more people from the primitive surrounding regions. Blacks became a rapidly growing segment of the population and are now the great majority in most areas.) Irrigating and managing these farms, many of which were just desert or scrub before the Boers came, isn't trivial. One suspects that for every farm there are a dozen farmhands, mostly black, who will lose their jobs. If the bigots continue to oppress, murder and drive out their experienced and capable farmers, will South Africa not starve, and sink into primitive barbarism like its neighbors? That's what happened next door in Zimbabwe (AKA Rhodesia).

   Apparently there have been some positive social and family developments in South Africa too, but it seems even many Zulus (black) are already saying things were better under apartheid.

More Hypocrisy from the Main Stream Media (MSM) & Extension of Censorship

   The MSM got together and got 300 news outlets to write or air editorials to decry that president Trump has been calling them "fake news" and is therefor a danger to democracy for not letting "independent journalists" have open access to his white house.

   Where have they been all this time while those of their own - those who they claim to be - need them to help expose threats and sabotage to the free press? Why do they never stick up for them? Where were they when reporter Michael Hastings was murdered (by a sophisticated job of sabotaging his car [2012? or was it later?]) when he was about to release "an exposé" on the CIA? Where have they been all these years that journalist Julian Assange has been a fugitive in the Ecuadorian embassy in London because their government would like to capture him and throw away the key because Wikileaks printed true facts that were uncomplimentary to the US government? I remember a government spokesman (Comey?) on TV before Assange went into refuge. There was no hint of statesmanship or reasonableness or justification, it just sounded like "We're the toughest bullies in the playground. We'll find you wherever you go and we'll get our revenge on you for telling on us!" (Their misdeeds they never tried to deny). I was incensed at his gall! (Then there's Hillary "can't we just drone strike him?" Clinton, who leaves a highly suspicious trail of actual bodies of her opponents wherever she goes. Where's the reporting on that... oh, wait: several witnesses and probably some reporters' bodies are in that tally too.) Where have they been while various reporters around the globe have been threatened, imprisoned or murdered for investigating, publishing or unearthing inconvenient truths? Why do hardly any of these outrages ever appear in the mainstream western news, only on the internet? Where are the scathing TV editorials about those threats to democracy? Don't the mainstream "journalists" care in the least about "their own"?

   And the war against real independent reporting and journalism has been extended this month. Perhaps you've heard that Alex Jones and Infowars[.com] were simultaneously expelled from facebook, youtube, google and other "independent" social media channels. This was obviously centrally planned in collusion. But simultaneously various other bannings also took place, so that while everyone's attention was focused on the high-profile Alex Jones, the rest would go unnoticed and unreported.
   And then there's "shadow bannings" that simply pretend everything's normal while not transmitting the messages by the unloved groups - or perhaps messages with words or phrases that their systems have flagged - to their intended audiences. For example, "tweets" that don't actually go out to the person's followers, youtube news videos and news and journalism channels that never show up except in the most explicit of searches for their name, and so on.
   And through all this unpredictable and heavy handed treatment, they are trying to get people to "self censor". "I don't want my youtube news/interviews/talk channel with 200,000 subscribers to be unexpectedly deleted, so I won't say what I really want to say about... all sorts of things." Shades of "1984"! Channel "FullSpectrumSurvival" had an excellent show "News in Two Minutes", covering all sorts of major happenings in the world in incredible brevity, which seems to have quietly disappeared. The owner, Brad, said they had to tow the line or be removed from youtube. How valuable is being on youtube if you can only stay by canceling your main show? And where else can you go besides youtube? No one would know where to look for you.

   Someone recently pointed out that banning people who "the establishment" doesn't like on social media amounts to denying "freedom of assembly", a right guaranteed by the US constitution's first amendment. Censorship is alive and well in North America! It is not yet standing gloating over the corpse of freedom of speech, but it is dealing it crippling blows.

Big Oil Subsidies

   There's been a Google ad appearing titled "Dumb Energy" that asserts solar and wind power are "heavily subsidized" and don't produce much power. By omission big oil isn't subsidized - Hah!
   'Fraid I didn't click on it. The Canadian government is spending 4.5 billion dollars of taxpayers' money to build another oil pipeline -- seven times as much money as the world's biggest solar panel power plant (679 million $). A pipeline will produce no energy at all. How much better off would we be if 4.5 billion dollars was used to build seven more of those electricity producing solar plants instead, which would soon pay back the entire investment via electricity revenues? (Also, how much more electricity would they produce than the Peace River "Site C" dam power project at twice the cost, 10 billion?)


Underdog Humor

Changing Language...

Politically Correct?: When Obama was president, shouldn't his headquarters have been called the Black House?

Once severely mentally subnormal people were called "imbeciles". Someone decided that was mean, so they insisted it was kinder to call them "retarded" - delayed or behind, with the implication that they might some day catch up. Then someone decided calling them "retarded" was mean because that word had acquired quite a negative connotation that it hadn't previously had. So they decided they should be called "mentally challenged" or some such term. Is it not obvious that whatever term is used will take on a negative connotation because of the unfortunate caste of beings it's being used to describe? If we called them "geniuses", pretty soon that word would be considered derisive, even offensive.

And who now would use the term "gay" to describe a happy and festive atmosphere or person? Ever since about 1972 when someone used it to describe something else entirely its meaning was instantly and completely changed. Using it in its original sense would almost certainly be misinterpreted, and it is now jarring to hear it used that way in old movies.


Once the darkest skinned peoples were called "negros". "Negro" is Spanish for "black". Suddenly someone decided "negro" was derogatory and they should be called "black" instead. Clearly this is prejudice against Mexicans. Perhaps we can find a more neutral term. How about "Albedo challenged people"?

All Well and Good:

My dog is weller than your dog. - in better health
My dog is gooder than your dog. - more altruistic
My dog is better than your dog. - knows more tricks
My dog is finer than your dog. - more dainty; high strung
My dog is a better better than your dog. - Lucky you, yours doesn't gamble!
My dog is a finer Wellerer than your dog. - I'll bet yours doesn't do any soldering at all
My dog is a gooder finer than your dog. - As a police dog he rightfully writes many tickets

Antacid: what those nasty red "fire ants" squirt up at you if you disturb their hill.

   "in depth reports" for each project are below. I hope they may be useful to anyone who wants to get into a similar project, to glean ideas for how something might be done, as well as things that might have been tried or thought of... and even of how not to do something - why it didn't work or proved impractical. Sometimes they set out inventive thoughts almost as they occur - and are the actual organization and elaboration in writing of those thoughts. They are thus partly a diary and are not extensively proof-read for literary perfection and consistency before publication. I hope they add to the body of wisdom for other researchers and developers to help them find more productive paths and avoid potential pitfalls.

Electric Transport

Jim Harrington's 2.5 HP Electric Outboard

   While my Electric Caik outboard has sat idle the whole summer, Jim Harrington has reworked a couple of his electric outboard projects. While my focus has been on inventing new things that are hopefully better than what is presently available, Jim has a more pragmatic approach of using as many "off the shelf" components as possible to get more immediate working results. This one, now transferred to this tunnel hull skiff, has worked well for some years.

2.5 HP, 230 volt induction motor installed in Yamaha 9.9 HP outboard leg.
The 3-phase vector (frequency) drive is able to produce up to 120 Hz instead
of just 60 Hz, so the 1750 RPM motor is able to deliver 3500 RPM instead,
compensating for the inevitable gearing down of the speed down at the
propeller shaft which is appropriate for gasoline engines.

24 volt batteries are changed to 230 volts AC with an inverter (left)
The vector drive (right) puts out the 230 volts as 3 phase power at
variable frequency for the 3 phase induction motor outboard.

With a "rule of thumb" ratio of about 2.5 to 1,
a 2.5 HP electric will get the boat moving similar to around a 6.25 HP gas engine.

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects

Carmichael Mill ("Bandsaw Alaska Mill")

   There's a lot of "blah blah blah" fine detail here and it's something of a log of my log cutting. The short version is above, in month in brief.

"New" Blade & Tests

   On the 5th I took off the dull band and put on the sharpest one. Then I spent the better part of an hour adjusting the tracking and tension. (I wasn't going to change it until the saw had the blade protector and cooling water feeder - now done; just a plastic pipe with a sponge.) Then I took the saw out to the wood. It cut very slowly. I stopped after 2 inches, and after a few seconds remembered that I was supposed to turn the band inside out. The teeth were in the right place but pointing the wrong direction. So I took it back in, took it off and did it over again.
   This time it cut well. Part way along I stopped, stuck in a wedge to expand the thin cut in order to see it well, and checked everything. The sides of the cut were in the right place and straight, with the guides level. And I could see light through the crack, which meant the cut was straight inside.
   Cutting speed in the 6 inch wide piece seemed to be just under an inch per second or 5 feet per minute. That seemed a little slow, but not bad. (I remember getting 6 or 7 FPM in some earlier tests. This time it just didn't seem to want to go quite that fast. None of my bands were new now. Then again, I had changed the pulley and the band wasn't spinning quite as fast. Could that be it? Perhaps I should speed it up again?)

Cut was flat and straight - Yay!

   When I got to the end and looked at the board, it was probably about as straight as the guide board had been. There was no bow across it; it was flat. There were a few small wobbles on the entry side, where the imbalance made it easy to lift the skid above the board momentarily. The exit side cut line was quite straight. And the remaining cant of wood underneath looked pretty flat on top.

   With good results now (at last!) shown in a 6" wide cut, further tests should include wider boards, starting with a couple of 8" wide cants I made last fall. Whether to go up to the max the saw can be set to, which is now about 18" as configured, will depend on how well it does as width is increased.
   Even if it only does 8" well, having cut successfully without notable glitches, and with there being nothing one needs to keep stopping and adjusting like on other band mills, I think I'll be cutting up my spruce over the rest of the summer.

   Later I did notice some sawdust build-up on the blade, the driven wheel, and even some on the grooved guide wheels. Sticky stuff, that spruce sap, and the cooling water may be making it worse. I wouldn't have expected it to stick to the stainless steel band. It'll be annoying if I have to stop and scrape it off every 2 or 3 or 4 boards. (Turpentine seemed to help.)

   On the 6th I naturally expected more good results. But a bearing on one guide wheel seemed to be seized, so I replaced it and while I was at it made some tracking adjustments. I took the saw out and a clock that showed seconds, and started cutting, intending to time how long it took to cut a 12' board. I had a vague impression it was going a little slower. Then near the end the cut line went off kilter, veering down. I backed it up and tried again, but results were poor. I finally checked the band and it was loose. It had no tension to speak of. I had neglected to retighten a couple of nuts in the tracking adjustments, and something had shifted. (Another "little job, before breakfast" gone wrong!) When I finished the board, I could see it had started to bow down inside the cut after the first couple of feet. (opposite to the previous band.) Funny it did as well as it did. Vexing yes, but I was mostly just relieved it wasn't some design problem I'd overlooked!

   Well, that thought was apparently a little hasty. I tightened the band some, but the next board didn't go much better. At points the band seemed looser in spite of being kept pretty cool, and it cut way off at the same place - there was a knot there. The whole board, or most of it, was again bowed downward.
   I started to think that one more thing was needed for a trouble free mill: self adjusting band tension to keep it at the optimal amount. My shop bandsaw had a heavy spring pushing the top wheel up to keep the tension at the set level. The wheel was free to move up and down in a channel, but staying in alignment as it moved. I hadn't realized how important it was that it be done with a spring. Metal bands stretch and shrink with heat and that changes their length more substantially than I had realized until confronted with ever-changing band tension.
   My wheel's bearings were bolted to the backbone of the saw. Just as when I first built it, making the wheel adjustable looked like a hard thing to do on my saw. But now I realized it was vital.

   One invented design feature improving the whole of bandsaw technology, one overlooked design feature making it worse!

Wide Bandgap - guide aims up but band kept veering down
   I did some more cutting on the 7th. I noticed that if the band veered down much, a gap opened up between the upper and lower guide wheels on the entry side, so the band wasn't being held at the angle of the wheels. This allowed it to continue cutting downward, apparently explaining the bowed down and wavy boards. Perhaps having the upper and lower wheels offset was a disadvantage after all.

   When I ran out of the cant I'd been cutting through I got out the "mini mill" I'd bought. It ran along a guide board on top of a log and the attached chainsaw made vertical cuts. I couldn't see how to put the big chainsaw on it for the small cut without it sticking way up in the air and only cutting with the lower end of the 30" bar. So I used my small gasoline chainsaw instead, to split an 8 foot long "half-round" into two quarters. (actually about 2/5 and 3/5 widths.) The cut depth was 8 to 11" - maybe 1.5 times wider than the 6" boards. I got the impression I was cutting about 15 inches per minute. If the bandmill had been running well with no problems and could have done that cut, the chainsaw mill didn't compare very well with what might have been 35 to 45 inches per minute: it was under 1/2 the speed using twice the power and it made a lot of sawdust and noise - and used up pricey gasoline. Of course, the piece was too wide for the band mill and the 1/2 log was more or less too heavy to turn sideways to do a different way until it was cut, so the mini mill filled the gap. Then I cut two 8' x 2" x 7" wavy boards from the 2/5 side with the band mill, cut the remnant into firewood, and that was a day.

   But I didn't let it end without considering how I might do a spring loaded band tensioner. With the wheel held by bearings on both sides instead of cantilevered out from one side, the way it's done on most bandsaws wouldn't work. But the extruded aluminum tubes of the saw's "backbone" had a hollow part, about .5" by .75". I couldn't find any steel tubes that fit it, but I had some .5" solid aluminum that would go right in if it was cut to width. That could make two sliding bars sticking out from the end, and the wheel bearings could be attached to them. Then the wheel could slide in and out. Two springs down at the axle level would tension it.
   The other option might be to change everything to the cantilevered axle and bearings. I think I'd have to redo the whole end of the saw and make a whole sliding assembly, similar to typical bandsaws, to hold it.

   By the next morning (8th) I had figured out that I wanted to make a spring-loaded UHMW plastic slide to replace the bottom guide wheel, at least on the intake side. As it wore the spring would keep pressing it against the wheel, so it should last quite a while unless it wore quite unevenly. I could have it pivot on the same mounting bolt the lower wheel had used. The one thing I wasn't sure of was how and where to put in a spring. But I cut and drilled a piece of plastic and when I had it mounted on the bolt a simple plan occurred to me. Somehow I found the perfect spring in my springs drawer. (It was actually too weak and I had to replace it.)
It went into a hole in the plastic. Then all I had to make was a bottom plate for it to press against. I had it all done in about an hour and a half; time well spent if the boards came out better. (Except for having started again without having breakfast first, or even coffee. Why do I do that?) Unfortunately, good as it might be, this didn't seem to address the problem of why it wanted to veer downward to start with. Was this band too dull or off-center?

   I also figured out that the easiest way to spring-load the undriven end wheel was probably to replace the pillow block bearings with ones I made myself, but to make them with springs to push the bearings themselves toward one end. For this I would probably use 1/2" aluminum and ball bearing races a little less than 1/2" wide. (Thicker aluminum would be better but that was my heaviest.) Side walls of thinner aluminum would keep them in place. But one change was enough for one day.

   I did some more cutting with the chainsaw mini-mill, then tried to cut an 8" wide board from a thicker piece with the bandmill. The right side again started veering down, and it quickly became hard going. I stopped and examined the saw again. The band seemed to be pretty sharp with okay set to the teeth. Then I lined up carefully. I thought I had got the band right in line with the pivot pins, but now that didn't seem to be the case with the right guide. The band was slightly below the center of the pin, so there was a downward force on the band when it was straight and level. Surely that was the source of the problem.
   How to fix it? Other than make a whole new guide block, I could turn the wheel a little smaller. Then the band would line up. I decided that was the simplest path and I did it on the morning of the 9th.
   But when I started cutting, it didn't seem much different. What, what, what was causing it to veer down on the right, blade entry, side? Also of note, 8" wide cuts seemed 3 times as hard as 6". For the first time, the Ryobi saw motor started to smell too hot. I tightened the band tension a couple of notches. It may have been a bit better. After a while I did a couple more notches. Then a couple more. The twang was getting well into the treble clef. It did seem to help. Sometimes it seemed to help if I pushed down on the handle at the back of the saw, or lifted the right side a bit. But why? With the guide wheel trimmed down and lots of tension, occasionally, things went just right for a moment. The motor would speed up and sound free instead of labored, and the mill would suddenly charge through 6 or 8" of wood in a few seconds. Usually where there was a good size knot. And there would be no bow across the board just in those areas. Why didn't it cut like that everywhere, all the time? Was the grain of the spruce somehow messing things up? Just how much tension did one want on the band, anyway? And how much could the components of the saw take without bending, warping or breaking?

   It wasn't easy to see much of the mechanism when cutting. My head was usually over top of the saw. To see the offending guide wheel I would have to "duck down" some and get my head behind the saw while pushing it. I started to think I had the clear plastic top cover/guard in the wrong place. The clear tube showed if there was cooling water. The clear cover should be over the guide wheel to see it while cutting. And anyway the cooling would go with it. With all the trouble, I decided to move it there. It would be valuable to see if or when the cut was starting to go off course. And maybe I'd see something that would help explain things.

   I returned to cutting the next day, starting with some chainsaw milling to turn a wide slab into 6" wide pieces. For the bandmill I tried putting in washers to raise the front of the saw a bit, since pushing down on the back had seemed vaguely to help. But I didn't really see how that could help when the band guides aimed themselves, and it didn't. Later I went out and cut one more board. I twisted the saw back and forth and that seemed to help keep it cutting fairly quickly with somewhat less friction. But that was supposed to be my strategy for cutting 18" wide, not 6"!
   But also, this time when I checked the band for heat, I "twanged" it. It was a pretty low pitch. I tried again in a few (10?) seconds, and the pitch had gone up (a minor third?). Another short wait and it had gone up some more. And then another semitone. It might have been a fourth or a fifth overall. Even though it wasn't overly hot the first time, the tension obviously changed fairly drastically with band temperature. Then I kept stopping and testing it to make sure it didn't get loose again. And again each time I waited a bit, the pitch would rise, usually just by a semitone or two. The board had slight waves in it and some convexity across, but the only one big wave was probably where I had first stopped and found the tension way down. (And what was with the straightening out wherever there was a large knot? Was the grain of the spruce a big factor dragging it off? It would be nice to have some other type of wood to try cutting.)

   The twang test settled it. The tensioning mechanism with springs had to be made next! Having the tension get slacker and slacker as the cut went along was obviously part of the problem. With the slow cutting and the stopping, it was taking over 10 minutes for a 10' board just 6" wide. I feel it should take about 2 minutes if everything is working perfectly - or less.

   But the next few days were rather busy and all I manged to get done was some little thing and a test cut each day. I thought I'd see if I could pick up some test piece(s) of any other species besides spruce. I drove to Port Clements but nobody seemed to be around. All this slow, hard cutting kept saying that whatever its appearance, the band must be dull. I got home and tried sharpening just the top-offset teeth of the band, since it always seemed to be veering downward. I found a 1/8" diamond cylinder bit for the 'dremmel'. (I guess I bought that set of bits for a reason after all!) It seemed as close as anything to the face shape of the teeth, and I used it, on the lowest speed.
   The blade zipped through the first foot of a board, straight and easily in less than 10 seconds, reminding me of when the blades were new. Wow! Then it hit a knot and things went right downhill again. It reminded me of the first time I had sharpened a bandsaw band over a decade ago. That one cut great for 1/2 an inch into a piece of rosewood and then just burned. Apparently the high speed dremmel had heated the teeth up and they lost their temper, so they dulled almost at once in the hard wood. But this time I had had the 'dremmel' on the lowest speed and kept the sharpening time minimal. Perhaps I should try again with the drill press, on its lowest (even lower) speed? That's what worked in 2007. Or the slow cordless drill?

   On the 13th I cut down an alder tree, about 12-14" across at the base, to have a couple of test logs to saw other than spruce. (There are hundreds of alders on my acreage. This was one of a patch that had grown up and shaded the original garden area, making it useless... maybe potatoes if I restored the fence to keep the deer out.) I had to cut a couple of small ones hard by it first before getting to the main event. Then I cut an awful lot of branches to firewood length, and that wasn't half of them.
   That was all I got done that day. Silly me... I was sometime in there idly wondering how I would move the logs to where I'd been milling. But wait! The whole reason for a handheld mill was to bring it to the log instead of vise versa. I put the saws and tools in the back of the Miles electric truck to bring them to and from the work site.

   On the 14th I cut off a slice for a test cut in a narrower piece of the alder from higher up, about 8' long. It seemed to cut more easily than the spruce, but it still felt like the blade was dull. The cut was straighter but not straight, but it might have been more the cut depth guides weren't fitting on very well the guide board - the log was a little wider and I had to adjust the width and then make a couple of chainsaw cuts. The "stainless steel" band left all kinds of black marks on this 'green' wood, which showed where it rubbed. It was still the lower piece at each side, and the top one inside in the middle, the cut "bowed down", except there was less bow than in the spruce. not to say none.
   The more I cut, the more I see it needs (a) the typical alaska mill cut side-to-side depth glides, (b) the spring tensioned undriven wheel, (c) the transparent piece of top guard moved over the leading band guide and (d) the sponge cleaned out already in the water cooling. (or something. The water feed has slowed right down.)

15th: I sharpened the blade using the diamond cylinder but in the cordless drill at slow speeds instead of in the 'dremmel'. Then I rubbed a candle on the band to wax it, which is an old sawing trick to reduce blade friction that I suddenly remembered. It felt sharper running my finger along it. I cut a board from the log. At first, where the log was around 6" wide, it seemed to go a little better, but that didn't last long and it became quite tedious again. It didn't help that the guide board wasn't quite straight. And it was a little wider, up to almost 9" instead of 6", so perhaps it was actually a little easier cutting than spruce. For some reason I had a really hard time cutting the last few inches, which was 9" wide, and it came out quite bowed there. I still don't understand what the problem was. It was frustrating enough that I didn't try cutting another one. I know cutting was easier in January when the bands were new. I tried sharpening the band on my shop bandsaw too, but it too still felt like it was dull when I tried to cut with it. Was my sharpening not very effective?
   I gave up and gathered up a trailer load of firewood instead. All the tools and saws were electric. The only gasoline I had used in all this so far was in the Toyota Echo to haul the trailer. Maybe I should put a trailer hitch on the Miles e-truck!

16th: I finally couldn't stand having to have the "skis" set to exactly the width of the guide board. That wasn't so bad cutting from squared cants, but it was a real nuisance with a log of varying width. I'd had to screw pieces of 2"x2" onto the edge of the guide board and adjust the "skis" outward to match, and even so, slice bits off the edges of the log with the chainsaw. I cludged together a way to mount the same "skis" crossways from the same "legs" and "feet" sticking out from the bottom of the saw. I figured the rear one didn't have to be very far back since the saw was cutting forward, but I stuck in some extensions to the feet at the front. The bars going across (the former skis) had specific holes, to which I added a couple. Some way to be able to slide them for setting the cut width would be much better, but this was what could be worked in easily.

   And I cut the right side guard and swapped the short section of it for the transparent section in order to be able to look down on and monitor the 'in' side band guide and the blade protector. To my surprise, I hadn't really moved it over as far as I expected. There was only a couple of inches window out as far as the guide. What it was was that the guide can be moved, and it was out at 9" instead of 6". It should have a much longer transparent section to see it wherever it's set. But then I found that a bit of sawdust built up on the plastic on the inside. To see much after a short time it really needed a windshield wiper, so it wasn't as useful as I'd expected.
   I also ordered some new bands. I found they now have some .025" bands, a little thicker than the .022" but still thinner than the 'regular' .032". I also saw that they had a 1" blade with only 3/4 of a tooth per inch (3 teeth per 4") that was supposed to be for band mills. But it was 1" wide, which would now be hard to fit on my saw and .032" thick, which I figure would probably be hard to flex around little 10" wheels.

   I cut another board and it went better than the previous one, but it was the most warped, uneven board yet. Also the widest. Again one board on the 17th. It seemed to cut better and took less time, and some of the warping seemed to be from the guide board not being straight to start with. I started getting better at pivoting the saw left and right so it would cut first on the left, then across the middle, and then concentrate on the right. (Not an option for a rail mounted bandsaw mill!) The left (blade exit) edge was actually pretty straight, but the right (blade entry) side still waved up and down. I think when I pushed the right side forward, it seemed to bite in farther and faster than I meant to go, and this would doubtless contribute to veering off the line. I found a better guide board. I'd have cut another slab except the power went off. It was only an hour, but by then I'd put the tools away.
   On the 18th the next cut went pretty smoothly and only took a few minutes. At that point I was at the bottom of the log and cut the rest into firewood. The crossways depth glides were a big improvement. Much of the board was fairly smooth with a big bulge in just one area. And much of the cut was still 8-9" across. It seemed I was getting better at it! I spent the rest of the session cutting branches into firewood.
   All very well, but what about the spruce? A week of good summer weather had gone by and all I had done was create another pile of branches and crap to be dealt with, and added two more 1' across by 10' long logs alder logs to the logjam. Oh, and improved the saw a little.
   I decided to venture to cut a 12' long 6"x6" spruce beam into two 3"x6" beams for the outside header beam of my lumber shed. It took 10 minutes and was just as wavy as any. Cutting seemed to go well. Half the time was stopped waiting for the band to cool and get tenser again. I still had it set to 9" wide and so the band had 4" between the guide wheel and the wood to twist in, so the wavy result isn't surprising. That was because I thought I would have to drill new holes to set it to 6", but I noticed later there was a hole in about the right place in each skid. (but if they're 1/4" too narrow it wouldn't have worked). As it was in the last 3' I repeatedly twisted the saw back and forth as far as it would go before the right guide wheel would hit the wood, and that end seemed to come out with just one notable wave. Again most of the waviness was on the right side, while the blade exit left side was pretty straight. The saw is heavier on the left (motor). I should be able to move both sets of band guides over a bit farther to get some of the weight on the right side so it won't tend to lift during cutting. (That just might be a fair part of the problem.)

   Poorly as the cutting had been going, I had cut wavy spruce lumber for headers and 12 foot 2"x6" rafters for my lumber shed, and at the same time had made a good dent in the pile of wood that was in the way, right where I wanted to build it. And I had some 1" alder for furniture or something if I planed them down thin enough to to take off all the deep irregularities. I'm sure with spring band tensioners, sharp, somewhat thicker bands - and practice - the cuts will get better. Can they be as flat as everyone including me will want? That remained to be seen.



Finally: Good Results!

29th: After a week of doing other things than bandmill and cutting, my new bands had come. In the afternoon I put one on. Changing bands is a bit of a nuisance operation that should be improved for production if possible.

   I also replaced the spring in the band guide plastic piece with a stronger one. I had noticed that the band was pushing the slit open, allowing the band to be at an angle different from the one the guide wheel was at. Again it was making a triangular gap, just like before with the offset wheels. My fix hadn't fixed it! Here was the main reason for the band dipping down below the cut line: it wasn't at first aiming up again when it went below. I think this was the most crucial change, to keep the band well aimed to the guide wheel's angle. The stronger spring finally solved the problem.
   Also the new bands definitely felt thicker and stiffer. There was obviously less possibility for them to flex much inside the wood between the 'in' and 'out' guides.

   I took it out and cut a 5.5" wide board, 14 feet long and 1.25" thick. The super sharp new band definitely cut faster. It blazed through 10 feet in pretty exactly one minute (of actual cutting time - I stopped briefly three times, to look and put in a wedge, and to reposition myself as it cut). I then cut two more 6-1/8" wide and 10 feet long. Even at just 5/8" wider they seemed to cut noticeably slower, but still quite well and I timed the first one at about 90 seconds for the entire length, still over 6 feet per minute.

   Between the new thicker band and the stronger spring, all the problems seemed to be solved. They were beautiful boards, perfectly straight and even along their whole length. No dips and bumps, no bows across the width. The band stayed cool and so the tension didn't loosen off much during cutting.
   I started thinking I could use my boards as wall studs and siding to enclose the roof over the travel trailer. If I got as far as turning it into a dwelling, I could hopefully sell the trailer and get my money back from it instead of selling the lumber.

30th: It looked like it would rain. I cut seven more ~6" wide boards totaling 72' length in the morning in about an hour and a half. Part of that time was spent cutting the several scraps that became too thin to make more boards into firewood and carting them to the firewood shed. However, each board seemed to take incrementally longer to cut until the last one was below 5 feet/minute. At the same time it became incrementally harder to push the saw. The harder I pushed, the more likely the rear skid, or one side or the other, was to lift away from the guide board. This of course cut curves in the otherwise seemingly pretty straight cuts and made still more friction. Now that I was cutting enough wood at a time to start feeling the difference I recognized that gradually dulling bands had been another part of my problems. Or at least I thought so... but it turned out there was a reason they dulled so fast.

   Adding what I cut on the 29th the total length of the cuts was about 106 feet. With a chainsaw mill one would have stopped and sharpened the chain every few boards - every 50' maybe for 6" cuts? Why should one expect not to have to sharpen a light band fairly often, too? The difference was that there were a lot more teeth on the band (3 per inch, 95 inches), and no really suitable file made for doing it. I would have to continue to use the 'dremmel' 1/8" diamond cylinder on the cordless drill. (Actually, that's easier. It just doesn't seem like because there are so many teeth.) Later someone said that in mills where lumber was being cut all day, even the heavy bands used on the headsaw are changed at least 4 times a day, often more: before or after work, at lunch, and in both coffee breaks. They don't show you that part in the videos!
   For a production model and sales, one could probably get them to make the same bands with 2 teeth per inch - 1/3 fewer to sharpen.

   On September 1st I sharpened the band and cut another 13 foot 6" wide board, then two more. The band seemed sharp to start with but it was starting to get dull again by the time I was through one board, and the third one was pretty tough going. I was sure the slow cordless drill couldn't have overheated the teeth. Why didn't it stay sharp as long as when I had first bought it?

Overheated Bands

   Well sometime by early the next morning, I finally figured it out. I wasn't overheating the teeth during the sharpening. I had already been overheating the band during cutting. That's why it got dull so soon, and why once it was dull I could sharpen it, but it wouldn't last. Where was my head? When I started out, overheating the band was one of my big concerns and it's why there was now (at last) a water drip device. It seemed when things got tough there wasn't enough cooling - seemingly nothing like enough - and the band got pretty hot and became slack. At the same time the teeth lost their hardening so they dulled and would no longer stay sharp for very long.
   I changed the band again. I now had four bands that had doubtless all lost their tempering, one on the saw and one more spare. Then I pulled out the sponge at the bottom of the water tube. I cut part of it away, making it thinner so that it was less squeezed and water would flow through it more freely.
   I cut a rough edge off a small remnant cant, reducing it from 6" wide to 3.5". Then I cut two 3.5" wide boards from it. It was about 8' long. The saw zipped through each board in about 30-32 seconds of 'power on' actual milling time. Now that was milling! (It actually takes longer total time because I stop the saw frequently to move forward, to reposition myself to keep up with the saw. and for now to check band temperature with my fingers.) The dimensions were good and pretty straight, but I must remark the surfaces looked rather rough, especially compared to most of the other boards, because each tooth had cut so much at once as it raced through. Like they'd been cut by some coarse sawmill. With the fine 3 teeth per inch bands the wider, more slowly cut boards mostly looked really nice. They hardly needed planing to see the lovely grain of the spruce.

   It didn't get more than slightly warm in the narrow cuts and with a little more water flowing. The water flow rate still seemed awfully slow, and I made sure the tube was filled above 1/2 way whenever I was cutting, below which it took a long time to finish draining. It would be nice to have a small plastic jar on top so that it had a consistent 'head' of water until that ran out. I congratulated myself on the arrangement with the tube screwing into the top of the saw. The whole watering mechanism could be removed to clean or adjust it, or replace it, just by unscrewing it and screwing in the cleaned or a different one until it was thought satisfactory. For example, one might have an "eyedropper" type end or a fine spray instead of a sponge, or add a shutoff valve. Or put on that top reservoir.
   When I went for the next cant I decided to try cutting a couple of 10" wide boards - it seemed like a good size piece to do that. I used the Poulan chainsaw in the mini-mill to square it to that width. (Ugh - gas, noise!) Now I was getting good cuts there was nothing like pushing the limits to see what it was really capable of. after all, it was supposed to be a sawmill! This was where the makeshift arrangement I had made for the skids came back to haunt me. They needed two more holes to set the mill for that width. But perhaps holes every couple of inches was as good as a sliding part? After all, the setting didn't have to be exact. Anywhere wider than 6" could cut 6". I had cut the 3.5" widths at the 6" setting (and still using the 5.5" wide guide board) and they came out okay. The "8 inch" setting I had used with the alder actually did up to 9.5".
   But I had to go. I didn't get back to it, and besides it was September and high time to get this already lengthy newsletter out! If I'm often doing less actual project work, I certainly seem to find a lot to say each month these days, and this is probably be the longest one yet.

   Nevertheless later I cut the holes in the skids (for up to 13" wide) and on the 3rd and 4th of September milled up most of the rest of the alder log, around a foot in diameter, making many 1" boards, 8 to 10" wide, and even up to 11". And some bevel siding. Everything went smoothly and the band hardly got warm. Now that was really milling, with quite wide cutting, after all!
   And I note that if I had been using a chainsaw mill, I'd have got only around 2/3 as many boards from the same logs, as the rest would have been made into sawdust. I got a 50% bonus in boards; more value from each tree.

Heavy Saw

   I wondered how the 40 pound saw might be lightened. I could use it. I could lug it around. But lifting it up higher onto the workbench was a struggle. When I first took the band off to replace it, I took a fat plywood wheel assembly off - the one without the V-belt pulley - and weighed it. It was 2961 grams - 6.5 pounds. So both wheels with their axles and bearings (13 pounds) made up 1/3 of the entire weight of the mill. There was certainly a place some savings might be had. One of the pillow block bearings was 625 grams. Trimming, eg, 5 pounds off the wheels would by itself bring the saw down to 35 pounds. 1/2" or 5/8" shafts instead of 3/4", and the smaller bearings and holders for those smaller shafts, would certainly cut down the weight. Some lightweight alloy wheels would be better all around too, as well as lighter.
   The large top cover was 862 grams. the other one with the motor on it was shorter so it would have been 12"/19.5"*862=530 grams. I probably wouldn't want to lighten up the piece holding the motor, but the 862 side could probably be lightened up with thinner metal or plastic.
   But then probably one wouldn't want it too much lighter. It "bucks" just a bit when the motor is started, and this might be almost destabilizing if it was really lightweight.

   Since one person needs both hands holding it to operate the saw, and stands behind the blade, and with the covers over the top, it seems pretty safe. Nonetheless, a couple of extra light pieces covering the end and wheels would be nice, and another piece or two to cover the unused section of band for narrower cuts (ie, most of them) would be nice.

   These will be considerations for a production prototype mill.


   With the self correcting band guides making for reliable straight cuts and now a whole alder log cut into boards, the Carmichael Mill has demonstrated itself to be a clearly superior machine. It takes less power and uses thinner bands taking less kerf than any other mill. It's probably about ready for a production prototype wherein the finer details are worked out more optimally (there's still a considerable "deficiencies" list), and then production.
   With a 2" thick guide board on top of the cut, the cutting depth is reduced to just a bit over 2". 4.5" sounded like plenty for the prototype. I hadn't thought about the guide board reducing the available depth. With 10" wheels, the maximum possible cut depth is under 10", if nothing else was in the way below the top of the band. The more the center of the wheels sticks down below the "backbone", the more of that 10" is available. The "pillow block bearings" offset gave about 1.5". Some custom parts could improve that, as well as improving other aspects of the design.

   The other main undecided point would be what motor to use. At first I was sure that Ryobi skillsaws weren't a production unit option, but it seems to work pretty well. They are cheaper than any suitable motor I know of by itself, widely available and simple to mount. 120 volt, 12 amp, PM lawnmower motors might also be a good option. I can't help but think a 24 or 36 volt BLDC motor like the Electric Caik might be appropriate, and amenable to battery operation, which just might make them useful in the woods. But that would certainly cost far more for the motor, plus the solid state motor controller on top of it.

   With the Ryobi skillsaw, standing behind the motor seemed to put the trigger on the wrong side, and one pressed it with one's little finger or had the left hand in an awkward position. (Chainsaw mills the have triggers in awkward positions, too. With the Poulan saw in the "mini-mill", it's backward and I keep hitting its "off" switch with the heel of my hand and stopping the saw.) But then I tried standing on the right side of the wood instead of the left. The left hand then was held the other way around in the right position to press the trigger with the index finger. And the right hand was right behind the handle for holding the mill straight. That way was better and seemed to make the skillsaw as close to a perfect part as one needed. And as long as Ryobi keeps making a similar model, they're cheap and easily replaced by the customer in case one should burn out or otherwise fail.

Electricity Generation

Solar Panel Installation: Solar and Wind (Hydro) Grid Tie Inverters

   I decided I wasn't going to get around to any sort of "off-grid" type installation this summer, but other than the grid tie inverter that only delivered half the stated power, a little over 400 watts from a unit that had "1000 Watts" printed right on it, the grid feeding system seemed to be working quite well, and the power gets put to use. And when the output just plugs into a wall socket instead of having to be wired into a breaker box, it's simple to do. Since I already had the four panels up (~1000 watts), I thought I would get a real 1000 watt grid tie inverter to double the power output. Then, I just might get around to putting up the other two panels and hook them to the present inverter.
   I started looking at grid tie inverters on line. The model I already had was the cheapest "1000 watt" inverter. That stood to reason since it wasn't really 1000 watts. There wasn't much enlightenment in the reviews. Most people seemed to have just hooked it up and said "Ya, works great!" One guy said it worked great and he was getting 420 watts on a cloudy day. But I bet it didn't do any better on a sunny day, either! I bet almost none of them had meters to check the output level with!
   OTOH, it was working quite well and seemed quite reliable. It seemed to limit its output to what it could handle instead of overheating. It hadn't blown up when the DC input sparked or at any other time. I decided that while it was obviously being misrepresented, it was a good product for a good price, now only about 75 $US from a couple of sources. (Plus 60 $ shipping for two. I discovered under my account at Aliexpress that I had paid 150 $US, so they've come down in the last couple of years.) Rather than order a different type/brand of [presumably actually 1000 watt] inverter, I would order two more the same for probably no more money. And then even if one did fail, I'd still have two working. A number of stores at Aliexpress.com had them. Some asked higher prices. (There was another one, that was in the same aluminum extrusion case with the same everything - just an anodized cadmium color and a different label. Hmpf! There were also other obviously different models.)

   I decided also that I should put the utility stuff in the garage instead of the inside closet, which I hadn't started wiring up except for the one cable from the panels. And that could still be of use for a heavy 38 volt DC outlet or sub-panel. The garage was the closest run from the panels, and for the batteries to be placed outside. And the whining cooling fans of the inverters, coming on and off, wouldn't be heard from in the house. I would separate the panels into two pairs of 500 watts - 3 pairs if I put the other two panels up.

   I must remark again that solar power just keeps getting cheaper and better. A system of a 300 watt panel for around a dollar a watt(?) and a grid tie inverter for 100 $ can be thrown together quickly if you can do it yourself and will start you saving on your power bill for perhaps under 500 $ - which may be a single power bill payment or two. If you live in a reasonably sunny place that gets 2000 hours of sunlight per year, and electricity is 15 ¢/KWH, that would theoretically save around 90 $/year and (if I have it right) pay itself off in 6 years. for each panel-inverter pair. (if rates rise, even sooner.) If your area uses fossil fuel to make electricity, you're helping cut pollution and saving the environment.
   Alternatively two 250 watt panels (a bit lighter each to get onto a roof) and the inverter would be probably over 600 $ and would save 150 $/year.

A Floating Tidal Power Vessel?

(Well... I wrote this over the month, but with the example of the fabulous tidal power machine in the next article, by September 3rd I finally decided to either get sufficient community support (read: somebody finds the money) to do something like it, or drop it altogether. As a utility scale project, this would really cut diesel power usage. Forget doing any small "home scale" unit.)

   Along with the solar units, I considered also getting a grid-tie inverter made for wind power. These came in 1000 and 2000 watt sizes. They cost more, but tie directly to 3 phase PM alternator outputs like my "improved Piggot" design, and have "dump loads" to keep the windplant loaded (so it won't over-rev) while not overloading the inverter in higher winds. They seemed to be around 300-500 $US. I have only a little interest in doing wind power per se [trying out a VAWT at home might be cool], but it would also be an ideal grid tie for a small floating hydro generator.
   If I can induce a very few people to help make one to put on the Tlell river, there's the ready-made means to connect it to the power lines. I decided to leave it to see if others would contribute to the project first. I don't want to do it all myself.

   But I wanted to do some preliminary work and study first. If it was a "go" and each stator in the generator outputs 2000 watts when the water is flowing well, each one could be hooked to a 2000 watt inverter. Obviously the bigger the catamaran and the bigger the "paddlewheel", the more stator-inverter pairs that would be useful.
   (I'm dropping the "turbines in pipes" idea... for now... probably. So, how about the "venetian blind" curved vanes 'paddlewheel' design in TE News #106?)

   On the 28th I went to the river at 1:20 "PM" (really still before noon). Someone said low tide had been at 10 AM, so it was about mid-tide. At the highway bridge, there was no sign of the tide yet. The shallow river was still flowing out probably less than 1 meter per second. Perhaps it would be better further downstream? I drove as far as I could, two kilometers down to the end of Beitush road. There were signs of some inflow, but it wasn't very much or fast yet. That was the end of the line. There were no power lines any farther downstream.
   But there was a trail from there and I started walking downstream. The farther I went - and the higher the tide was rising - the more and faster the inflow of water. By the time I'd walked maybe 1-1.5 Km the water was rushing in. I eventually got down to the mouth. (If I had known I was going for a 5 Km hike on loose sand and coarse gravel I'd have worn hiking boots. It was definitely hard on my feet. They seem to have weakened since I was hiking a lot in cheap runners 20 years ago!)
   I was repeatedly estimating how far foam and things on the water moved over 3 second intervals. 10 feet would be 1 meter per second, and 20 would be 2. Over much of the course the water seemed to be inflowing at around 2 meters per second. There were fish jumping. I saw a seal and a big salmon with a red head. By the time I got back to the bridge at about 3 PM the tide was coming in there too, still at almost 2 m/s. If low tide was at 10 AM, high tide would be about 4:15 PM. Apparently one could only expect tidal power during the upper half of the tide where the power lines started, at the bottom of Beitush road. Whether it flowed as fast on the ebbing tide as it did when flooding should still be checked out. But it seemed it would produce "full power" over at least about 5-6 hours per day, and it would also produce a certain lesser amount during lower tides just from the flow of the river, which might be substantial if there were heavy rains.
   Those power lines ended at the "Haida House at Tlaal" at the foot of the road. To connect to them, we would doubtless need their approval. On the way home I picked up a hitch hiker. It turned out that she worked there, had been active in native politics, and was sure they would be enthusiastic about the idea. (And she was sure the "Council of the Haida Nation" would be very interested in a larger project in Masset inlet - see next article below.)

   Having a figure for the speed gave me a way to very roughly estimate how much power might be expected. At least, how much might be expected during a typical rising tide.

From wind power:

Watts = K * Efficiency * .5 * mass * Area * V^3

"K" for metric is 1. Somebody did a fantastic job of defining all the units so that this would be so.
Efficiency or coefficient of performance is how much of the potential power flowing by is actually extracted.
The last parts are derived from the well known general formula E = .5 * mass * V^2, in kilograms and meters per second giving "E" in watts. But the mass is the mass of the air or water going by, which depends on the area of capture and the wind or water speed. If the speed is doubled, twice as much air or water mass flows by in a second, so instead of V^2 it's V^3.

(note: Kilometers per hour = meters per second * 3.6.   Miles per hour ~= m/sec * 2.25)

   Say the paddle wheel captured 2 square meters of water frontage, and managed 30% coefficient of performance. (Theoretical maximum for a single windplant propeller is 59%. For a paddle wheel I don't know but let's not expect too much.) Water is heavier than air, 1 megagram per cubic meter instead of 1.4 Kg.

Watts = .3 * .5 * 1000 Kg/m^3 * 2 sq.m * (2 m/sec^3) ... = 2400 watts.

   The V cubed factor is really startling. In water moving just one meter per second, there'd be just 300 watts. If it got up to 3 meters per second, it would be 8100 watts. Unlike wind, the tidal flow probably won't get way higher than its average at any time. However in heavy rains, the regular river flow might reach higher figures. However again, those figures might have more power in them than the generators and inverters can use, but the paddle wheel even if unloaded won't reach dangerous speeds like a windplant propeller can in high winds.

   And some places as one looked across the river the water was definitely flowing faster than others. Generally near the shores was much slower. An aspect to the great effect of velocity on the power is that I got the idea to put a rudder and two pressure sensors on the vessel. The idea is that it would, within limits of being moored, automatically and continually steer itself across into the fastest flowing part of the stream as the flow changes and then reverses. If that's say 10% faster than some other position, that's 33% more power. I should think that would be well worth while.
   On the 31st I went there again on a falling tide, almost out, and found only a couple of shallow "rapids" with much flow. I started to get a bit more feel for the river and its pools and flows.

   I started to think it might be a good idea to at least finish the improved Piggott alternator I had started in the months just before I moved - early 2017. I found I didn't have any more sets of unused 1" x 2" x .5' magnets. (Lots of 1" x 2" x 3/8" ones for Electric Hubcap motors.) But I had a previously set of 12, some more used ones and 4 new ones all of the same type that made 23 (#24 was corroded), and I used a different brand for #24. On the 30th I cleaned the epoxy off the set of 12 and wire brushed the rust off one of the custom CNC waterjet cut rotors. On the 31st I found and cleaned the other 12 and brushed off another rotor, then I mixed a bit of epoxy, painted it onto a rotor, and set the first 12 magnets in place.

   In that something odd happened. The used magnets (even with the bumps sanded off) had an epoxy pattern visible on one side. I wanted that side to be down. There would be 6 with their "north" face up and 6 "south". As far as I knew I had set the magnets, spaced well apart from each other, in random places, and I took no care which order I grabbed them in. To be the right way up, each magnet had to repel the one I had just set in place. I put one in place. The second one was the right polarity with the pattern down. So was the third one. And the fourth. The first one could be either way up, and the last one would inevitably be right since they had previously been mounted 6 and 6. That left the 10 in the middle as quasi "random", each with seemingly almost a 50-50 chance. Yet every single one was the correct way upon the first try. It was like flipping a coin and getting the same result 10 times in a row. The odds against that are 2^10 or 1 in 1024! (For someone who tries to to plug 120 volt plugs in backward 9 times out of 10 also against apparently 50-50 odds, that somehow seemed remarkable enough to write down.) The phenomenon wasn't repeated on the second rotor where several magnets needed to be reversed.


   But when I read about a very successful tidal power project (next article below) my ideas started to change. Perhaps the paddlewheel was doing it the hard way? At the least in the unit's hulls I thought I'd like to include mountings for two potential outboard propellers that could be added later. I'd have to keep them small for when it's shallow, but they might be a demo and test platform and add some extra power to the unit.

   But then the idea of enclosing the propellers in pipes again can come into play. "shallow" would be fine for enclosed props. The pipes would have broad "scoop" intakes to get a venturi effect, a faster flow going by right at the propellers. Those inlets would be flat on the bottom to accommodate the shallow water at lower tides, and would have a grill on the front to keep fish and debris out.

   In fact, maybe a single hull with an enclosed prop turbine on each side would be optimum? A single hull instead of two is an obvious saving in effort and materials. Would the two ram scoops each leading into a round pipe be harder to make than one big paddlewheel? Here the duplication would be having two of each mechanical thing: two props, two sets of bearings and mechanical linkages, two generators and two inverters.

   Or might it be better to have a single propeller directly underneath the hull? If it was a broad scoop with a flat bottom, then it could rest level on the bottom in low water and float when it was deep enough. Only one set of mechanical parts would be needed, albeit a larger set to capture the same amount of energy. Perhaps the top of the scoop could be the bottom of the hull.

   Aw, to heck with it! Better to emulate the project below and put some real power into the grid!

Scot Power Floating Tidal Power Vessel

   Here is an amazing project, brilliant in its simplicity. At first I thought to just write about it. Now I'm hoping we can do one in Masset Sound, the high flow water channel to Masset Inlet.
   It's a 210 foot single hull vessel that has been successfully deployed in the Orkney islands and which has generated 3 GWH of electricity in its first full year of operation. At 10 ¢/KWH, that's 300,000 $ worth of electricity. It's also more power than all previous tidal flow and wave power systems combined, counted over the last 12 years. Instead of a paddle wheel, it uses two propellers, one on each side under the water... just about like underwater windplants. (They may counter-rotate to cancel forces that would try to tilt the vessel?) They are located near the stern so the anchored vessel always faces into the current. Unlike the various small shallow water units being thought of around here, this one must operate in water deep enough that the large propellers will never hit bottom. The hull is simply sections of large steel pipe welded together.

Could it get much more simple and "to the point"? And this is just "Version 1.0".
(A newer design on their website allows the turbine units to be floated into place,
then attached, then pivoted down under the water with hydraulic(?) levers on deck.
That is much more maintenance friendly, so we see the bugs are being worked out
of a very exciting new concept.)

Presumably that's anchored. It looks like quite a current flowing past.
But how fast does it flow? The cube of the speed means everything.
A flow of 3 meters per second (10.8 KmPH) has 27 times as much
power per area as 1 meter per second (3.6 KmPH) has.

   Of all the various windplant types, the simple 3 rotor propeller is the one that eventually everyone settled on for major power projects. I get a sense that this design is the way to go for community power projects where strong tidal currents are available. How fast are those currents, anyway? On September 3rd I searched on line and found a study of Masset inlet for this very purpose from 2004 that suggested 34 MW could be obtained with only 10% reduction of the usual flows, and that the maximum speed of the currents was around 2.5 meters per second. (A maximum of 10 MW "for the island" is needed - so maybe 3 or 4 MW for the north grid.) That would be well over 2 kilowatts per square meter of propeller, derated by inefficiencies to one. If the vessel was over 200 feet long, it looked like a propeller was about 50 feet or 15 meters diameter. 15^2 * pi/4 = 177 square meters or 177 kilowatts, times 2 propellers makes 354 kilowatts. (Wow, for the rated 2 megawatts the tidal currents in the Orkneys must be headed for 3.5 m/sec or 12.6 KmPH. Actually to get 3 GWH in a year it might be making around 500 KW when the tides are running, so one suspects the maximum might be somewhere around 3 m/sec. Still fast!)

   By September, I started thinking this sort of project would be the thing to do. Forget about smaller scale of demo projects and my own designs. Here was something already proven to work, that could really power the north grid of the island and seriously cut the diesel usage.

   One or more of them might largely take the place of the diesel generators. The question may be: Do we make them, or buy them from Scotland? Most ideally, for once I would rather simply order such a machine than build anything. Well, there were no figures on cost, and it didn't look like they'd be exporting any any time soon. Then, what ready made components are available? Hundreds of kilowatts is really out of the league of my improved Piggot alternator - unless scads of rotors and stators were to be strung together on long shafts - so I have little in the way of special components to offer. But I could get the ball rolling.

   Or maybe I could make much larger rotors and have quite a few per shaft? Or have thicker stators with more copper and up the RPM? Since I'm putting one together, I'll certainly try a few variations. Maybe tests will show that my quite minimal expectations will be substantially exceeded?

Electricity Storage

Rechargeable Battery Making
with oxalate electrolyte:

Lead-Zinc Cell From Scratch With Rolled-up Sheet Metal Electrodes

   On the 17th I was visited by two members of an off-grid farming family. They were interested on the improved Piggott alternator, but more especially in batteries. It was a good reminder that those today are either short lived or high cost, and people keep looking for something better that they can afford. It's hard to know what advice to give. They were very interested in the strips of zinc and lead and asked questions like was that just moss-killer zinc for roofs that you buy in rolls (yes), and what the voltage was (1.7). I said I'd try to get the rolled-up PbZn cell done and tried out by the end of the month. And send that to the DIY battery e-mail lists too, of course.

   I etched the zinc strip for about 20 seconds in ferric chloride to increase nano-scale surface roughness. I didn't do anything to the lead. I'm not sure what might help. Previously I had rolled the sheets thinner using a textured roller in the rolling mill, also trying to get more surface roughness.

   Being about out of watercolor paper, I got some parchment paper from a kitchen drawer (from a grocery) and cut a long strip. I folded it in a "V" over the lead. As I tried to roll it up it kept moving over to the outside and I had to keep crinkling it to keep it in line. The zinc was 82 grams before etching and I forgot to weigh it after. The whole with the lead, zinc and paper weighed just a little over 500 grams. (Ugh - If you don't write it down right away, you forget exact figures.) It it didn't seem to fit into a '1.25"' (really about 1.4") PVC irrigation pipe. It almost fit in a 1.5" ABS pipe, but not quite.
   Not finding anything else so convenient I unrolled it and rolled it up again tighter. Then it had a short somewhere.  There was a rough edge on the zinc that was poking through the paper, but after fixing that it was still suspect, giving diode-like readings - perhaps intermittent. I cut a wider strip of parchment paper and tried again, and this time it read "open circuit". Yay! (I wonder how many times you can roll and unroll zinc and lead before they start breaking?)

   Then I cut a length of the 1.5" ABS pipe and "glued" a flat (white) piece on one end for a bottom. I left it a while to set, then filled it with water. It didn't seem to leak.

   About 5 PM I filled the cell and put it on charge. It started out reading 585 mV. I put 1.9 volts on it and it started drawing hundreds of milliamps, which dropped pretty soon to 100. After an hour it was down to 70 mA. I was a bit surprised by the low charging currents. Shorted it put out over 3 amps for a moment. I raised the charge to 2.0 volts and it started drawing 120 mA again, then dropped lower.
   Of course, it was starting out from "overdischarged" metallic lead, which had to be converted by charging to lead dioxide or (more likely in an alkaline environment?) lead tetrahydroxide. This would then convert to lead [single] oxide or lead dihydroxide on discharge.

Half reactions [at pH 12]:

 Pb(OH)4 + 2 e-  <==>  Pb(OH)2 + 2 OH-  [+.48 V]

 Zn + 2 OH-  <==>  ZnO + H2O + 2 e-  [-1.2 V]

   Lead is 259 AH/Kg, so 435 g is theoretically 112 amp-hours (dream on!)
   Zinc is 820 AH/Kg, so 80 g is theoretically 65 amp-hours.

   What it actually gets depends on how much of the substance is actually available, in touch with the electrolyte. If it gets 5 amp-hours it might be a useful cell. 10 would be nicer but hard to get. 20 would be even better but unlikely. To get 50 watt-hours per kilogram, at 1.5 volts under load, it would have to have 16.7 amp-hours. However, for a homemade off-grid home storage battery, the 5 amp-hour figure might be economical if one can get the lead cheaply, ie, if you don't have to have it mailed to you.

   I filled it pretty full with 50 mL of electrolyte, expecting water to be used up, the oxygen or hydroxide being absorbed into the lead and the left over hydrogen bubbling off as gas from the already charged zinc. But instead of going down, the water level went up and overflowed and overflowed. Apparently the lead hydroxide expands and takes up more room than the water.
   I expected performance and capacity to increase with charging and cycling. It would only put out a little over 4 amps momentarily when shorted, which seemed pretty disappointing for such a large surface area. Doing 5 ohm load tests it looked pretty weak the first evening. It was twice as good the next morning, going from 25 mAH to 50. But 12 hours later the charging current had gone up a bit to 80 mA, there was a froth of bubbles on the surface and it didn't perform quite as well as it had in the morning.

   I left the cell disconnected overnight, and the next morning to my surprise it was shorted out. 0 volts; wouldn't charge. The surface oxides certainly seemed to expand the metal judging by the amount of water that overflowed as it charged. Perhaps there just wasn't room? Well, so what? Given the low initial energy storage, I decided that while a thin sheet of etched zinc somehow seems to work well enough to give 5-10% of its theoretical amp-hours, a simple sheet of lead has next to no amp-hours in it. 10 times as much energy storage would still only be 1/2 an amp-hour. Perhaps given enough time and cycling (and thicker separator paper) it might have got there. 100 times as much, a few amp hours, might have made it worthwhile, but after one day, I wasn't seeing anything that promised the sort of improvement to reach that level. Most electrode substances have to be in the form of tiny particles to give very high surface area for the volume. As it was, I didn't plan to spend any more time on it.

   On the evening of the 24th I thought better of it, and having had no time for any other experiments or project work, I unrolled the cell. Even when it was completely unrolled it was still shorted. The parchment paper looked good except where I had accidentally ripped it in the unrolling. Only when I separated the sheets and then laid one "X" across the other did the voltage start to rise. to about .3 volts. I never did find the short. There were black oxides stuck to all four sides of the paper. I shrugged and rolled it up again with a new strip of parchment paper. This time I folded it over the zinc instead of the lead (as if that should make any difference). And I added an extra layer just in the middle. It fit back in its "can" and I connected the power.
   It started charging limited to 2 amps and the voltage started coming up (to 2.0 volts). I hadn't even added electrolyte yet - the two metallic strips were just still wet and they wetted the paper. A dry cell. I decided not to fill it up again since it had overflowed and overflowed while charging to the point where I now just scraped up the dried crystals off the counter with a spatula and added water to make more electrolyte. I just added a little (10-15 cc) and the dropping charging current shot back up to over an amp for a few moments.
   After 10 minutes it was down to .19 amps. I shorted the cell and as previously it put out over 4 amps but dropped rapidly. (At one point I think  Adding a little more electrolyte didn't raise the charging current. I guess the paper was now already saturated and more wouldn't help.

   That night the cell shorted out again. What could be happening? In my head I went over the theory again: To form dendrites, a substance has to dissolve, and then return to a solid state, either on charging or on discharging. Zinc doesn't have the soluble ion at pH 12 that it has at pH 14. Zinc oxalate salt isn't soluble, and neither is zinc hydroxide at pH 12. I couldn't come up with any flaw in the theory. Unless the charts were wrong or concealed some well hidden strange property, zinc should be pretty much the perfect negative electrode at pH 12.
   Another idea came to me. When I had filled it, the water had continually overflowed as the cell charged. The seemed to indicate that as the lead charged to lead oxide or hydroxide, it swelled up and displaced more water than it consumed. In the rather tightly rolled up cell, it really had nowhere to go except to press harder and harder on the thin separator paper until it pushed through it and shorted the cell. The separator paper had bits of greyish powder stuck on both sides in various spots and I couldn't really tell much from looking at it, but that's my tentative conclusion.

   I've decided not to use paper or fabric separators any more. Flooded cells with pocket electrodes have long been known to outlast dry cells. Even zinc electrodes gradually dissolving and making dendrites at pH 14 are know to last perhaps a hundred charges in flooded pocket cells instead of usually just a few in dry cells. The electrodes being separated by a millimeter or two of plastic frames or grilles just makes them much more robust. The bit of extra liquid to fill it doesn't weigh much compared to the solid parts - and it is refillable.

   What would I do with the lead-zinc cell? I could roll the sheets up around toothpick spacers or something. Or I could change it to a "prismatic" stacked plates construction.

   I decided the next thing to do would be to get back to the big square cell with manganese dioxide pocket electrodes for the "+"es. I had made just one of each electrode but had planned to put in 3 zinc and 2 manganese. And I considered that there weren't nearly enough holes in the first MnO2 pocket, so the next one was going to be much denser.
   At the same time I thought I'd try painting the osmium doped film on the inside of the next pocket and see if that helped increase available current.

   But there were many competing attractions and I didn't get anything more done.


   As a side note, I'm wondering if the electrolyte, for all its good properties, could be mixed to give faster reactions and currents. (or was it just the low surface area of a solid sheet of lead that kept it under ~5 amps short circuit current?) Potassium seems to be about the only oxalate that's very soluble, but maybe I should try some extras like a bit of sodium oxalate in the mix? That might up current capacity some. (Hmm, when might I be ordering any lab chemicals again?)

Haida Gwaii, BC Canada