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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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joe breskin

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another try at imposing some things I already sort of play onto the new instrument. Posting these as a sort of time-capsule, to capture what my initial explorations of the instrument sounded like, since my approach and technique are sure to evolve fairly rapidly as I adapt myself to the way this guitar works
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joe breskin

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Got it at a yard sale last weekend. A case of love at first sight. Simply could not resist. Still trying to figure out how to play it :)
Fingers are kinda dumb and almost numb from running serious power tools (a Fein 250 oscillating plunge saw in particular) all week chopping out a bathroom floor.
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Hey, it has a Really nice voice!
Well, I guess the good angels and fairies found it especially for you.
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joe breskin

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This is a story about a fascinating paper that I have been reading, that is clearly related to one I have written about in the past, one from a few years ago that uses the same experimental methods (simultaneous PET and fMRI scanning) and even uses the same basic experimental design to compare neurological activity in 'sociopaths' with 'normal' subjects. Study was based on pre-filtering the subjects using their narcissism and mach scale performance on standard personality inventory. Tasks performed in that study involved a short sequence of arithmetic operations that all involved the same basic algorithms for solution, but one class of problem paid a benefit to the subject and the other did not.
Different areas of the brain were clearly involved in these solutions, depending on which class of problem was being solved. The same areas of the brain were activated in both groups when solving each of the problems, what differed was the default state.
The "pays benefits to the subject" circuit was "normally on" in the sociopaths and "normally off" in the 'normal' subjects.
The current paper overlaps my immediate interest in the activity of the standard Carbidopa+Levodopa medication and Rasagiline, an MOA-B inhibitor used to control Dopamine destruction in my mom's Parkinson's , which if not managed fairly precisely can lead to unpleasant imbalances including fairly long lasting schizophrenia-like episodes.
http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46242/title/How-Dopamine-Tunes-Working-Memory/
Dopamine receptors in the cortex orient the brain toward the task at hand.
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joe breskin

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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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Zaid El-Hoiydi's profile photoSarah Rosen (Silencieux)'s profile photojoe breskin's profile photo
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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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joe breskin

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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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wow
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joe breskin

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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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joe breskin

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Over time, my technique will change in response to its demands and I will learn how to play new stuff that works better with this instrument. So this is a time capsule, documenting a starting point.
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I'll try to do a better version of this, with the bridge, after I've played it some more
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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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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
Places
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
Links
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.
Education
  • mercer island
    develop immune system, 1953 - 1965
  • university of washington
    ethnomusicology, ethology, physiological psychology, 1965 - 1973
Basic Information
Gender
Male