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joe breskin
Works at Envirosearch, CH2M Hill, Foresight Science & Technology, City of Port Townsend,
Attended mercer island
Lives in port townsend
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this will get a whole lot smoother after I've played it for a while. but it's more obvious now, before I get the moves fluid. most of the chord shapes are close to what I normally play, 7ths and 9ths, except for those little-finger additions that sketch in the melody
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And now, back to stuff about the world we live in that we did not already know: this is a very interesting article about odor and fabrics, especially the clothing we wear against our skin.
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Interesting read indeed, it appears I am already in line. :-)
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Geee ... they found that someone had underestimated the costs and overestimated the benefits. Does that sound at all familiar? 
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I used to write stuff like this, but now I just wait for others to see the problem, and write it ... 
Huws writes: It's a familiar pattern. First there's an economic crisis. Then comes an enormous restructuring of capital - and with it a restructuring of labor - throwing past certainties into doubt.
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This was triggered by an observation (on FB) that many of those holed up in the Malheur (among those who were not in fact FBI agent provocateurs) were probably in fact posers ... 

I ran into an interesting song last night, whose lyrics get close enough to where the stand off in the Malheur is likely headed that it seems like it might be useful. I have not decided it I want to change any of the words, to try to get them to fit a little closer, or more precisely.

https://youtu.be/cVUswuxF-vA?t=25m22s this link takes you to the beginning of the song 26+ minutes into the concert.

It is Bruce Springsteen, singing "I hung my head", a song Sting wrote about killing someone w/o understanding what he was doing, until after it was too late to be undone.

This could easily be a song about when and if one of these guys - one of the posers - shoots a cop or a newsman or a USFWS guy, and then suddenly wakes up to what he has done. That he has made some man's wife a widow or made his children orphans, for no reason at all, beyond feeling the explosion of power that allowed him to do it.

Because this situation is in fact quite a bit different from "wartime" situations, where the differences between the shooters and their targets has been defined in terms of race and culture, or even what we had a few inters ago, when the cops were hurting the demonstrators at Occupy.
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It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it. - Upton Sinclair

I wrote this piece quite a while back ... July 15, 2011, but the big lie about biomass-to-energy plants being "carbon neutral" keeps coming back. So this story, written after a walk in the woods, has to come back too.

picture a BIG stump

This stump got me thinking about truths and lies. Big ones and little ones. And how we as individuals and we as citizens of the west have somehow allowed ourselves to get confused about precisely what constitutes truth, and where our personal responsibility to recognize and see and know the truth ends and our socialized response - the unquestioning acceptance of the oft-repeated lies we are told - begins. And I found myself baffled by the enormity of the problem - the inability of apparently intelligent people to see the difference between truth and fiction. Even when the fiction totally contradicts what they can see with their own eyes. And that got me back to the amazing quote about how hard it is to show a man a truth when his very livelihood depends on him not recognizing it.

There is a lie that vampire foresters tell. About culmination of mean annual increment of growth. And it has been extended now to the idea of carbon sequestration and carbon sinks and is being used to justify carbon neutrality of biomass burning. These trees show that this is a lie. The way to prove the lie is to do the arithmetic: it is very simple. 

The story starts in chemistry world, and involves a little bit of bean counting.

Burning stuff is called oxidation for a reason. When you burn stuff, you bind stuff - typically carbon - to oxygen. CO2 ties up two Oxygens for every Carbon that is burned. 

Photosynthesis is a nearly magical process that reduces CO2 (from the air) by reacting it with H2O (from the soil) on the surface of a catalyst (inside chloroplasts inside leaves and needles) to produce a sugar and release an Oxygen. 

In CO2 the ratio is 1:2 - 1 Carbon to 2 Oxygens

Through photosynthesis, plants bind Carbon and Hydrogen and release Oxygen to produce glucose, which has the formula C6 H12 O6, and has a ratio of 1 Carbon to 1 Oxygen.

Plants further reduce glucose for storage as an energy reserve in the form of other carbohydrates such as starch, or Starch, consisting of two different polymers of glucose, is a readily degradable chemical energy stored by cells, convertible to other types of energy.

Cellulose is another polymer of glucose used by plants as structural component. The Carbon to Oxygen ratio in Cellulose is still approximately 1 Carbon to 1 Oxygen. Actually the formula for cellulose is C6 H10 O5 and the Carbon - Oxygen ratio is now 6:5. Most woods are 40% – 50% Cellulose.

Lignin is a more structural/more durable form of Glucose polymer found in trees, and it is more substantially reduced. Which is to say, a lot more oxygen was released in the process of its creation. Ligin has several forms C9 H10 O2, C10 H12 O3 and C11 H14 O4 with Carbon : Oxygen ratios between more than 4:1 and less than 3:1. 

Lignin is 15% – 30% of the wood in a tree. Through the ever-increasing number of Carbon atoms that are tied to each Oxygen molecule, converting these polymers of glucose into Lignin releases Oxygen to the air-breathers and plays a significant role in the carbon cycle, sequestering atmospheric carbon into the living tissues of woody perennial vegetation. 

But the REASON that you did that mental arithmetic is so that you really KNOW that inside a tree is a bunch of Carbon locked up in biopolymers based on Glucose and that these biopolymers account for between 60% and 80% of the mass of the tree, depending on species and growing conditions, and that of this mass (the part of it that is made from just these two biopolymers) - slightly more than half is probably actually Carbon. 

And that is what you needed to actually figure out, to be able to understand it and carry it forward with real confidence, to use in the next chunk of arithmetic.

Now, picture a stand of pecker poles

Let's guess that these pecker poles are over 70 and under 100 years old and 100 feet tall. And typically 1 foot to 1.5 feet through. And that between breast height and 60 there is almost no taper and for the top 40 feet it tapers to nothing. If you look at a fresh cut - and I wish I had shot a picture of the fresh cut where one had dropped across the trail and a passage had been cut in it - you can see the thickness of the growth-rings and on this slope they vary from under 1/10" inch to over 3/16" thick depending on the quality if the growing season. It seems to have been pretty dry for the past decade or so and then before that quite wet. And then dry again. The trail was cut through a nearly 4' tree that was hundreds of years old. And here is where the lie emerges. If you calculate the volume of the growth each year and you can calculate area as length times (pi times diameter) and volume as area times thickness and convert volume to mass in your head) you quickly see that it puts on more weight this year than it did last year cuz it is BIGGER and though the slope of the curve flattens somewhat it does NOT go flat. At least not for hundreds of years. Not until the tree falls or is killed.

Now picture a stand of 70 year old pecker poles surrounding giant 200 year old stumps

So, actually calculating how many tons of carbon per year each of these trees is sequestering and how much biomass is being generated per year, in trees, and how much carbon is going to be released by each acre burned, and how many acres it will need to defoliate to have fuel to burn in each plant every year. And how many acres have to be growing to sequester the Carbon in the CO2 released in the burning of each of those trees and by each of those plants. 

The number that has been floating around is that a 50 MW plant eats 5000 acres of green trees per year. So a 25 MW plant like ours will probably eat 2500 acres of green trees (or their equivalent in construction debris, which I assume means those thousands of abandoned houses from California's endless supply of foreclosed suburbs)? 

But how many trees is that and how many other acres have to be GROWING to get us back to "carbon neutral" ? 

Ironically, that calculation has to get started based on peer-reviewed "facts" on data collected by folks whose livelihood depends on averting their eyes from contradictions and failing to notice trends, but here are two "... the highest Douglas-fir growth rates recorded in North America at about 22 cubic metres/ha/yr ... Douglas-fir used to be grown on long rotation regimes of 50 or more years the focus is now on shorter rotations."

Wood is a heterogeneous, hygroscopic, cellular and anisotropic material. It is composed of cells, and the cell walls are composed of micro-fibrils of cellulose (40% – 50%) (C6H10O5)n and hemicellulose (15% – 25%) impregnated with lignin (15% – 30%) C9H10O2, C10H12O3 and C11H14O4. Lignin plays a significant role in the carbon cycle, sequestering atmospheric carbon into the living tissues of woody perennial vegetation. 

From this we can calculate both Carbon Sequestration and rate of energy-equivalent accumulation in tissue.

Lignin is one of the most slowly decomposing components of dead vegetation, contributing a major fraction of the material that becomes humus as it decomposes. The resulting soil humus generally increases the photosynthetic productivity of plant communities growing on a site as the site transitions from disturbed mineral soil through the stages of ecological succession, by providing increased cation exchange capacity in the soil and expanding the capacity of moisture retention between flood and drought conditions.

I'm working on a composite image to show a section of a 120 year old tree against the local Palmer Drought Severity Intensity Index graph 

Of course there is a very rich body of scientific literature that has already developed over long periods devoted to dendroecology and dendroclimatology, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel here:


So here is a fascinating paper on seasonal variations in water storage within the bole of a 120 year old Douglas Fir tree, a study only spanning 4 years ... but still of interest here.

http://treephys.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/5/737.​full.pdf

I'm working on a composite image to show a section of a 120 year old tree against the local Palmer Drought Severity Intensity Index graph 

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/t​emp-and-precip/drought/his​torical-palmers.php

the fantasy of thinning and "doghair release" ... 

"While thinning may reduce drought stress in some forests, it is not clear that thinning would effectively increase resilience in different forest types or regions, and specific recommendations for target densities or growing stock levels to reduce mortality during periods of warming are lacking.

The complicated interactions following harvesting and the potential differences between short- and long-term responses to treatments make it difficult to understand the utility of thinning in reducing mortality. Results from controlled, replicated studies with multi-decadal datasets are needed to assess the effects of various thinning treatments on mortality." 

https://profile.usgs.gov/m​yscience/upload_folder/ci2​011Mar1715063671597Powers_​etal_FEM_2010.pdf

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here is a discussion of another, more recent paper that comes to the same conclusion, but based on measurements of a huge number of trees rather than simple arithmetic calculations. It is worth noting that the formulas being used in LCA to justify conversion of pacific northwest's forests into "biojet" still presume the old younger trees capture more carbon mantra of industrial forestry.
http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3781#.Vva7ndUrL9g  
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Amazed that I have not seen this sooner,  but without doubt this is the most emotionally powerful advertisement I have ever seen. Cuts right through your 'compassion fatigue' and still manages to find you and touch you, right where you live. We need a LOT more of these.
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Thought experiment. Embarrassingly good idea. Have not done the math yet (calculate how much heat is involved in evaporating the LP gas that I consume), to see if it really "works" in my world, but my guess is that it does. In fact, there should be enough heat involved that controlling temperature on the cold side might prove to be a little tricky.   http://contest.techbriefs.com/2013/entries/sustainable-technologies/3792
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These two stories need to be read together. Both are about the problems involved in the regulation and application of a clearly disastrous neonic insecticide named Imidicloprid. And each involves at least one very quotable quote. 

I will lead with the MotherJones piece about how and why the US EPA has finally gotten around to reviewing something they never should have permitted. 
http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2016/01/epa-finds-major-pesticide-toxic-bees

“The agency still has to consider public comments on the bee assessment it just released, and it also has to complete a risk assessment of imidacloprid's effect on other species. In addition to their impact on bees, neonic pesticides may also harm birds, butterflies, and water-borne invertebrates, recent studies suggest.” 

But the other quote - and my comment on that quote - relates to the second story, the one where the shellfish growers doggedly demand to be allowed to continue to poison literally millions of native creatures in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor - from the Ghost Shrimp that Gray Whales eat, to Dungeness Crab and waterfowl to make it possible for them to farm their non-native oysters. And it's a poisoning that includes sub-lethal doses administered to the very oysters they will be selling for human consumption.
http://komonews.com/news/komo-4-investigators/oyster-farmers-file-permit-to-use-pesticides-again

“The Department of Ecology has agreed it is safe [last year], but a new permit means new studies and public hearings could change everything. "It may offer some additional risks that we have to take into account. We just don't know," said Rich Doenges with DOE.”

DOE now has to reevaluate and reissue the permit that the growers “pulled” last spring, in the wake of public outrage and restaurateurs' panic when it was revealed that the Bay that had been getting poisoned with a now-banned neurotoxin - Carbaryl - that had lost its EPA registration, and was about to get dosed with a replacement a neurotoxic neonic called Imidicloprid.  

What they did NOT want the public to know was that the mudflats where the non-native Pacific Oysters are grown have been getting sprayed with this stuff since 1963*, and that the stuff - delivered from helicopters as a wettable powder - drifts great distances and poisons its way up and down the entire food-web, killing or damaging everything with a nervous system from the surface of the water to over 3' down (where the native shrimp live) - from sand fleas to salmon - as well as birds and bees, and although the growers describe spraying “empty” oyster beds in sequence, like a crop rotation, the stuff is aerial sprayed on mudflats at low tide and drifts significant distances, affecting everything alive, and since 1984 Carbaryl had been sprayed directly across active oyster beds. Drift covers thousands of additional acres, carried by the tides beyond the target areas, and in its wake dying creatures struggle to the surface to die, where they are picked up and carried off by gulls and crows as well as the smaller shorebirds: dowitchers, dunlins, plovers, turnstones. and whimbrels.

I suspect that the "additional risks" that Rich referred to - are the risks that the public might actually HEAR the real story this time around. 

But maybe not. Last time this story made the papers, it got squashed.

*Pages 5 and 6 of the June 1985 FEIS Titled "Use of the Insecticide SEVIN To Control Ghost Shrimp and Mud Shrimp in Oyster Beds of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor"  Section 2.1 Background of Sevin Usage 
The agency says it may place new restrictions on the chemical by year's end.
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http://www.hcn.org/articles/the-people-v-the-blm-bundy-hammonds-malheur 

 HCN reports:  "Former federal officials blame the Bureau of Land Management's inaction in the Bundy case for the debacle that’s unfolding in Oregon today. “At the end of the day, most people have a common respect for the law, and with Mr. Bundy, he just believes differently, that he’s above the law,” Bob Abbey, former director of the BLM, told High Country News recently. “The fact that their trespass hasn’t been dealt with in a timely matter reinforced beliefs.” "

But for some odd reason, in their litany of crimes and punishments, HCN has conspicuously omitted ALF/ELF and the reason that the Hammond's arson triggered the federal terrorism charges.

Here is ho the FBI website explains the matter:
"During the past decade we have witnessed dramatic changes in the nature of the terrorist threat. In the 1990s, right-wing extremism overtook left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous domestic terrorist threat to the country. During the past several years, special interest extremism, as characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has emerged as a serious terrorist threat. Generally, extremist groups engage in much activity that is protected by constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. Law enforcement becomes involved when the volatile talk of these groups transgresses into unlawful action. The FBI estimates that the ALF/ELF have committed more than 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 43 million dollars.

Special interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect widespread political change. Special interest extremists continue to conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments of society, including the general public, to change attitudes about issues considered important to their causes. These groups occupy the extreme fringes of animal rights, pro-life, environmental, anti-nuclear, and other movements. Some special interest extremists -- most notably within the animal rights and environmental movements -- have turned increasingly toward vandalism and terrorist activity in attempts to further their causes.

Since 1977, when disaffected members of the ecological preservation group Greenpeace formed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and attacked commercial fishing operations by cutting drift nets, acts of "eco-terrorism" have occurred around the globe. The FBI defines eco-terrorism as the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.

In recent years, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has become one of the most active extremist elements in the United States. Despite the destructive aspects of ALF's operations, its operational philosophy discourages acts that harm "any animal, human and nonhuman." Animal rights groups in the United States, including the ALF, have generally adhered to this mandate. The ALF, established in Great Britain in the mid-1970s, is a loosely organized movement committed to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals. The American branch of the ALF began its operations in the late 1970s. Individuals become members of the ALF not by filing paperwork or paying dues, but simply by engaging in "direct action" against companies or individuals who utilize animals for research or economic gain. "Direct action" generally occurs in the form of criminal activity to cause economic loss or to destroy the victims' company operations. The ALF activists have engaged in a steadily growing campaign of illegal activity against fur companies, mink farms, restaurants, and animal research laboratories.

Estimates of damage and destruction in the United States claimed by the ALF during the past ten years, as compiled by national organizations such as the Fur Commission and the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), put the fur industry and medical research losses at more than 45 million dollars. The ALF is considered a terrorist group, whose purpose is to bring about social and political change through the use of force and violence.

Disaffected environmentalists, in 1980, formed a radical group called "Earth First!" and engaged in a series of protests and civil disobedience events. In 1984, however, members introduced "tree spiking" (insertion of metal or ceramic spikes in trees in an effort to damage saws) as a tactic to thwart logging. In 1992, the ELF was founded in Brighton, England, by Earth First! members who refused to abandon criminal acts as a tactic when others wished to mainstream Earth First!. In 1993, the ELF was listed for the first time along with the ALF in a communique declaring solidarity in actions between the two groups. This unity continues today with a crossover of leadership and membership. It is not uncommon for the ALF and the ELF to post joint declarations of responsibility for criminal actions on their web-sites. In 1994, founders of the San Francisco branch of Earth First! published in The Earth First! Journal a recommendation that Earth First! mainstream itself in the United States, leaving criminal acts other than unlawful protests to the ELF.

The ELF advocates "monkeywrenching," a euphemism for acts of sabotage and property destruction against industries and other entities perceived to be damaging to the natural environment. "Monkeywrenching" includes tree spiking, arson, sabotage of logging or construction equipment, and other types of property destruction. Speeches given by Jonathan Paul and Craig Rosebraugh at the 1998 National Animal Rights Conference held at the University of Oregon, promoted the unity of both the ELF and the ALF movements. The ELF posted information on the ALF website until it began its own website in January 2001, and is listed in the same underground activist publications as the ALF.

The most destructive practice of the ALF/ELF is arson. The ALF/ELF members consistently use improvised incendiary devices equipped with crude but effective timing mechanisms. These incendiary devices are often constructed based upon instructions found on the ALF/ELF websites. The ALF/ELF criminal incidents often involve pre-activity surveillance and well-planned operations. Members are believed to engage in significant intelligence gathering against potential targets, including the review of industry/trade publications, photographic/video surveillance of potential targets, and posting details about potential targets on the internet.

The ALF and the ELF have jointly claimed credit for several raids including a November 1997 attack of the Bureau of Land Management wild horse corrals near Burns, Oregon, where arson destroyed the entire complex resulting in damages in excess of four hundred and fifty thousand dollars and the June 1998 arson attack of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Damage Control Building near Olympia, Washington, in which damages exceeded two million dollars. The ELF claimed sole credit for the October 1998, arson of a Vail, Colorado, ski facility in which four ski lifts, a restaurant, a picnic facility and a utility building were destroyed. Damage exceeded $12 million. On 12/27/1998, the ELF claimed responsibility for the arson at the U.S. Forest Industries Office in Medford, Oregon, where damages exceeded five hundred thousand dollars. Other arsons in Oregon, New York, Washington, Michigan, and Indiana have been claimed by the ELF. Recently, the ELF has also claimed attacks on genetically engineered crops and trees. The ELF claims these attacks have totaled close to $40 million in damages."
A look at how the feds have — and have not — punished individuals for defying regulations.
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joe breskin

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Idea looks right, but the price looks wrong. How to fix this?
http://www.empowermentplan.org/#!the-coat/cass
The Empowerment Plan is a Detroit non-profit that hires previously homeless women to make sleeping bag coats for homeless people.
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Education
  • mercer island
    develop immune system, 1953 - 1965
  • university of washington
    ethnomusicology, ethology, physiological psychology, 1965 - 1973
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
I can fix anything but your broken heart or your organization that is falling apart
Introduction
Putting it in point-blank terms: I am here hoping to find people who I can play with, build teams with, have mutually enlightening conversations with, do amazing things with. 
 
If I post something, I care enough to dig back and find the source. If I have time I try to add context, and let you know WHY something matters to me or why I think something might matter to you. There are a lot of demands on my time in meatspace so sometimes I just don't have time to post every fascinating thing that crosses my path.

For example - I am currently designing a heat pump based soil heating system 
for a commercial greenhouse operation - a system that for most of the year will simultaneously provide the majority of the chill needed for their cold storage facility and the goal is to have it up and running by the first of the year.   

I don't follow a lot of people and I really only post publicly,  Generally I add folks who post interesting stuff that I have not seen elsewhere already or gets closer to the source than the other posts I've seen.  

I have already done a lot of things in my life, but I am gambling that I have time for at least one more BIG project, so I am designing a low-cost, easy-to-manufacture permanently affordable "zero energy house" that actually works in this challenging climate. It is unabashedly low-tech but is based on several highly detailed computer models of airflow and heatflux and leverages work done decades and in some cases centuries ago. Design integrates
cheap, relatively low temperature heat storage, multiple loop thermosiphons, trickledown open loop SDHW collectors, air heaters, and multistage heat recovery at every exit point, avoiding PV, wind, and other high cost and high embodied energy technologies entirely. Also working on a compost powered "living machine" aquaponics system based on black soldier flies.  

For the past 18 months I have been derailed into a black hole attempting to stop a hedge-fund's biomass waste-to-energy cogeneration incinerator project that has captured the regulators at all levels, state and local, while holding the employees of the largest private employer in the community hostage, basically implying that if they can't use taxpayers $$ to increase airborne toxics nearly 3X, chew up the local forests, and import construction and demolition debris to burn to sell for "green power" RECs and PTCs so they can export $$ they will shut down and leave the employees and the community twisting in the wind. 

In an earlier life, I helped build a successful commercialization thinktank (that's still going strong) that cherry-picks useful technologies from the federal labs and independent R&D labs and finds good homes for them in industry,  And before that I did policy work for local government and before that did a software startup developing scientific visualization tools and before that I built a LOT of interesting stuff: huge auditorium soundsystems and seakayaks, and a bunch of big custom sailboats including a few that sailed nearly around the world and one that has gone around twice, 
Bragging rights
Saved/protected the watersheds of two rivers on the Olympic Peninsula from logging and saved a community from having to spend USD $15 million on a water treatment plant they did not need. Directed a bunch of Federal money into watershed storm-proofing, the first projects on the Olympic to do prevention instead of post-disaster repairs. Projects based on sidecast haulback and culvert removal. Saved the estuary of Chimacum Creek from development. Wrote a "smart" building code for a temporary city called Oregon Country Fair which is the literally the fifth largest city in Oregon one weekend a year. Did a lot of "swords into plowshares" work - finding socially useful commercial applications for technologies developed at the federal labs before the Bush coup turned us back into a war-based economy. Played World-fusion Chamber Rock in NYC in the Winter of '66 and Acid Rock in Seattle the Summer of Love in 1967. And have I fixed an awful lot of stuff that other people who claim to be good fixers have broken: software hardware mis-communications, you name it. I have also failed to turn around some organizations that really needed to be turned around, and I am currently seen as a pariah by a lot of people who will thank me for what i am doing, eventually.
Work
Occupation
Senior Generalist, Engineering Design Consultant, public policy wonk and general purpose pariah. I also fix complex interesting things that don't work.
Employment
  • Envirosearch, CH2M Hill, Foresight Science & Technology, City of Port Townsend,
    CTO, Architect and Visionary, 1991 - present
  • joe breskin design
    engineering design consultant, 1976 - present
  • Seven Seas Boat Works
    General Manager, 1976 - 1988
  • Seven Seas Software
    CFO, 1983 - 1989
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
port townsend
Previously
mercer island - seattle, new york city
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