ON POTABLE WATER / DESALINATION

December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

The number one global environmental problem carries the label of potable water. I believe it is or will soon be the number one global problem. At a minimum, it will achieve greater significance in the years ahead this century.

The world’s total water supply is enormous compared with the presently conceivable needs of man, yet there is a growing potable water concern. Approximately 98% of the 320 million cubic miles of water in the Earth’s crust is salty and useful neither for irrigation by present techniques nor for the majority of man’s other needs. Precipitation provides many times the world’s annual water needs, but fresh water supplies vary widely not only over the Earth’s surface but also from time to time in a given region. This accounts for what has come to be referred to as the “water problem.”

An obvious way to increase water availability is to recover fresh potable water through desalination from seawater or from some other source. Your favorite author has recently and is currently investigating new processes for producing potable water. This month’s article introduces the reader to the desalination process and reviews the essence of two recent potable water patents.

In the overall desalination process, feed water is introduced to the desalination unit where – following the application of some form of energy – it is separated into (relatively) pure potable water, and a more concentrated brine solution.

Of all of the desalination processes, the only ones which are known to currently be economically feasible are: (1) evaporation, (2) reverse osmosis, and (3) crystallization (freezing). At present, the economic feasibility of all other processes is considered doubtful. Each of these three processes is briefly discussed below.

The oldest and best developed process for saline water conversion is the evaporation method. In many desalination technologies in use or being developed today, desalination began using evaporative processes. These evaporative desalination techniques were recognized over 2,000 years ago when Aristotle wrote in 320 B.C., “saltwater, when it turns into vapor, becomes sweet and the vapor does not form saltwater again when it condenses.” It remains one of the major methods today for commercial production of fresh water from seawater. In principle, seawater is boiled in an evaporator by passing hot steam through an enclosure (a steam chest) where the steam condenses on the inside of the tubes of the chest and is usually returned to a boiler. The vapors rising form the seawater feed are cooled in a condenser and thus converted into pure liquid water which is collected in a storage vessel. The accompanying resulting concentrated brine solution is continuously or intermittently withdrawn from the evaporator.

Electrodialysis was the membrane separation process employed for desalination a century ago. However, in recent years, reverse osmosis (RO) has displaced electrodialysis as the primary membrane separation desalination process, leaving the latter as the choice for medical kidney applications. An RO system consists of an intake, a pre-treatment component, a high-pressure pump, a membrane apparatus, remineralization, and pH adjustment components, as well as a disinfection step. Generally, a pressure of about 1.7 to 6.9 MPa is required to overcome membrane resistance to flow. The aforementioned pressure must be applied to the solvent or water and the membrane must be relatively impermeable to the solute or order to make water pass through the membrane in the desired direction (i.e., away from a concentrated salt solution). The membranes used for RO processes are characterized by a high degree of semi-permeability. These membranes may be configured into a variety of geometries for system operation, including: plate and frame, tubular, spiral wound (composite), and hollow fiber.

Crystallization processes were also employed over 2,000 years ago. Today, these processes are important industrial operations that are often employed in the preparation of a pure product, e.g., sugar, coffee, etc. A crystal usually separates out as a substance of specific composition from a solution of varying composition. There are several different ways that crystallization can occur. The three most often encountered in practice are

  1. Cooling.
  2. Evaporation.
  3. Cooling and evaporation.

Process 1 is the most commonly employed.

World-wide development of potable water techniques in the last half century has been driven out of necessity due both to water scarcity and population growth. The private sector has primarily led the investment in research and development since water has begun to be seen not as a commodity, but as a product to be sold at a profit. With this in mind, your favorite author recently developed two processes that are presently utility patents. The two processes are described below.

1. The WOFF (Water Obtained from Fossil Fuels) Process, Patent #17,579,045:

A process of producing potable water by combining a hydrocarbon-containing fossil fuel with oxygen in a combustion device such as a utility boiler or home heating to produce a flue gas of water vapor and carbon dioxide, and condensing the water vapor in the flue gas to yield potable water. The combustion device can produce heat or electricity. The water vapor can be condensed with one or more heat exchange devices. The source of oxygen can be air, pure oxygen, or nitrogen reduced air. The source of oxygen can be humidified, such as with a non-potable water source , or non-potable water can be added to the flue gas. The carbon dioxide and / or nitrogen in the flue gas can be reduced or removed before the condensation step(s). The pressure of the flue gas can be increased prior to condensation of the water vapor. Natural gas is the preferred fuel.

2. The THEOGEO Process (Theodore Geothermal) Patent #17,736,235:

A system and method for converting non-potable water into potable water employing  Geothermal energy. Non-potable water, such as seawater or non-potable ground water, and the like, is fed down a conduit into a deep underground enclosure. Due to its extreme depth, the enclosure is geothermally heated above the boiling point of water at the pressure within the enclosure. The water boils and creates water vapor. The water vapor rises and can be drawn up through a vapor conduit to the surface. The water vapor can be condensed (and further purified, if necessary) into potable water. The steam can be used in a hybrid system where it is condensed after being used for heating purposes or the production of electricity.

Your thoughts on the two patents would be appreciated. I can tell you that no individual or business entity has yet expressed an interest in either patent, both of which have cost me a pretty penny. HELP!

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or

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NEXT POSTINGS

JANUARY 1:             On the Ultimate Quiz VII

FEBRUARY 1:          The 2022-23 College Basketball Season

MARCH 1:                 On That First Job

APRIL 1:                    On Purely Random, Pristine Thoughts XXVII

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ON OHI DAY VI

November 1, 2022

November 1, 2022

This one may be primarily for those readers who refer to themselves as “Greek” or “Greek-American.”

Greeks first started to immigrate to the United State4s in large numbers soon after 1900. The main characteristics of these travelers were their high character, belief in God (most are Greek Orthodox), and their industriousness. My parents fit that description. They successfully managed to pass their traits onto their children…and I believe it applies to me. Today, the children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren?) of the immigrants are our leaders in business, industry, education, and government. The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) reported 13 years ago that Greek Americans rank 2nd in per capita wealth (Jews are first) and first in earned doctorates (Jews are 2nd). Truly a success story that all Americans can be proud of.

My parents emigrated from the Peloponnese region of Greece. It is a legendary place, especially from an historical perspective. This is the peninsula where ancient Sparta was located. Paris of Troy escaped here when he and Helen eloped. The Peloponnese is also where some of the most memorable of Greece’s locations can be found, including ancient Olympia, the site of the original Olympic games, and many others.

On to the main theme of this article. It’s been 3 years since I penned my fifth article on the OHI Day. This is a special day in Greek history as it regards Greece’s heroic involvement in WWII.

My ancestors have a long history of battling and suffering with evil elements and opponents. Unfortunately, history repeated itself in 1939. The 83rd anniversary of the resistance of fascist forces by the Greek Armed Forces was recently celebrated several days ago on October 28. The day came and went without a whimper here in the United States. OHI (an emphatic no in Greek!) was Prime Minister Metaxas’s response to Hitler’s order to peacefully surrender. What followed Metaxas’s response was 219 days of fierce battles. That in turn was followed by intense guerrilla warfare that resulted in a brutal occupation that included executions, sufferings, famine, and severe inflation; 10% of the population died. The rest is now history for some people and all Greeks.

Here are comments from two of the major players immediately following this war.

Winston Churchill: “The word heroism, I’m afraid, does not reflect in the least the Hellenes’ acts of self-sacrifice that were the defining factors of the victorious ending of all the nations’ common struggle during the 2nd WW for human freedom and dignity. If it were not for the bravery of the Hellenes and their courageous hearts, the ending of the 2nd WW would not have been clear.”

Franklin Roosevelt: “When the entire world had lost all hope, the Hellenic people dared to doubt the German monster’s invincibility, fighting back with the proud spirit of freedom. The heroic struggle of the Hellenic people against the German hurricane filled the American hearts with enthusiasm and won their sympathy.”

I dug this from my OHI files – a 11/21/1940 Newsday article.

“In a smashing drive at dawn, Grecian mountain fighters stormed the Italian defenses outside Koritza, drove the fascists back into the town and took over the new line from which they fired into the town…Despite desperate Italian efforts to stem the Grecian advances by flying in fresh reinforcements, Greek shock troops reportedly smashed through the Italian lines on the southern front, making another wide hole near Metyoni…Military observers here are of the opinion that if the present Greek progress continues, the Albanian port of Santa Quaranti itself will be threatened.”

Another reminder of the special day was a paper submitted by our 13-year-old grandson, 3 years ago, for his English class. It was titled VACHOS 1,5. Vachos is a small essentially deserted town build on a rocky terrain halfway up a mountain with no apparent means of sustenance itself. Vachos is located in Mani – the middle member of the Peloponnese peninsula – surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the south, the Ionean Sea on the west, and the Aegean Sea on the east, …Here was a part of Elias’s passage… “We had started our journey in Athens, and we were now in Mani, the region of the Peloponnese my great grandfather emigrated from…Excited and curious, my whole family had all been waiting for this part of the trip. As we drove into the hills, the sea disappeared. A sign ‘VACHOS 1,5’ told us to turn right and drive 1.5 kilometers to Vachos…It amazed me that my ancestors left this town for more opportunities in America, but a basketball hoop had traveled in the opposite direction…Nestled into a steep hills, the house was made of stone, most of it still intact, with a dilapidated clay roof. Trees obscured the view of the house so we walked down the hill to see it from another angle. Long, prickly brush scratched against my legs as I surveyed the place my Spartan family had lived in a century before…We wandered into the town cemetery, where we were greeted by marble stones with engravings, vibrant flowers, and food and drinks placed on graves. I share blood with all of these people…”

I talk to Elias nearly every night. He keeps asking me about revisiting Greece. Unfortunately, that kind of travel is no longer in the works for me. But we can always dream. Now a senior, I can’t wait for a follow-up paper, perhaps as a senior project.

Finally, I want the readers to know that as a first-generation Greek-American, I never forget the value of growing up in a country – The U S of A – whose economy is based on capitalism and is both democratic and free.

NEXT POSTINGS:

DECEMBER 1:          On Potable Water / Desalination

JANUARY 1:             On the Ultimate Quiz VII

FEBRUARY 1:          On Zzzabbuu VI

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www.theodorenewsletter.com


ON INFLATION

September 1, 2022

September 1, 2022

Inflation! You have been hearing a lot about it since President Biden took office. Here is my take on this controversial issue.

Let’s start with what Webster has to say on inflation: “increase in the amount of money in circulation, resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden fall in its value and rise in prices.” The opposite is deflation, which is defined as “a lessening of the amount of money in circulation resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden rise in its value and fall in prices.” Thus, inflation and deflation are terms used to describe a decline or an increase, respectively, in the value of money and in relation to the goods and services it will buy.

Since inflation is the continuous rise in prices in goods and services, these price increases erode the purchasing power of money and other financial assets with fixed values, creating serious economic concerns. Repeated price increases were historically unique and often directly linked to wars, poor harvests, political upheavals, etc.

Effects? Inflation initially increases  business profits, as wages and other costs lag behind price increases, leading to more capital investment and payments of dividends and interest. Despite this temporary gain, however, inflation eventually disrupts normal economic activities, particularly if the pace fluctuates. Interest rates typically include the anticipated pace of inflation that increases business costs, discourages consumer spending, and depresses the value of stocks and bonds Higher mortgage interest rates and rapidly escalating prices for homes discourage housing construction. As noted above, inflation also erodes the real purchasing power of current incomes and accumulated financial assets, resulting in reduced consumption, particularly if consumers are unwilling to draw on their savings and increase personal debts. Business investment suffers as overall economic activity declines, and profits are restricted as employees will demand immediate relief through some form of automatic cost-of-living escalator clauses. It is fair to say that inflation is a major element in the prevailing pattern of booms and recessions that cause unwanted price and employment distortions and widespread economic uncertainty.

Impact? The impact of inflation on individuals depends on many variables. People with relatively fixed incomes, particularly those in the low-income groups, suffer during accelerating inflation, while those with flexible bargaining power may keep pace with or even benefit from inflation. Those dependent on assets with fixed nominal values, such as savings accounts and pensions, suffer erosion of real wealth. Borrowers usually benefit while lenders suffer, because all forms of loans are paid with money that loses purchasing power over time and interest rates tend to lag behind the average rate of price increases.

Stabilization measures? I have no answer since I am not an economist. However, it seems to me that any serious anti-inflation effort will be difficult.

I close with these thoughts:

  1. Politicians like to spend money because it gets them votes and power. They spend more than what is raised by taxes so they have to seek money elsewhere. They turn to printing money and / or borrowing money. Money is borrowed from government trust funds such as Social Security and Medicare and from the open market via Treasury Bonds. This assumes that the government can always borrow money without consequences. It also assumes that interest payments can also be borrowed. Elected officials know they must be right because this scheme has worked out pretty well since 1964 with the start of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. But now,  it appears that a day of reckoning may be fast approaching.
  2. The question of money always arises in inflation discussions. A nation can only create money of value when there are businesses creating useful goods at a profit. With these conditions, it is then a function of government to print money to facilitate commerce. As businesses prosper and trade increases, then governments, of necessity, print more money, However, if government prints money faster than the increase in business activity, then excess money will begin to chase the supply of goods available and prices will rise. Enter inflation.
  3. Our nation is blessed with an economic system which is very productive and efficient. It is able to take materials of low cost and make them into very valuable products. (The productivity of workers today is orders of magnitude higher than in those days of handcrafting.) As a result, workers are paid salaries that allow them to save money. These savings are a result of goods that have been made. If businesses borrow savings, it is usually to create more production and more money of value, and that is good. However, government spending rarely creates useful goods at a profit which would result in new money creation. In fact, the opposite happens. Most government spending destroys the value of money since government spending can result in the earlier statement of too much money chasing after a limited supply of goods. Once again, enter inflation.
  4. Treasury debt now exceeds 30 billion dollars and is still rising rapidly. Ouch!!

Note: Thanks are due to fellow Cooperite, colleague and friend Dick Graven for providing some of his thoughts on this controversial topic.

NEXT POSTINGS

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

NOVEMBER 1:         The OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On My Two Patents

 


On The Constitution

August 1, 2022

August 1, 2022

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The above quote is the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. Every American, particularly those who vote, should read it (at least once). It is the basic instrument of our government and the law of the land.

In terms of history, the Constitution was drafted by/at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and ratified by 2/3 of the states (as provided in the Constitution and became effective in 1789). The Constitution provided for a national government of three independent branches: executive, judicial, and legislature. One of the conflicts that arose at that time concerned the makeup of the legislature. The dispute was resolved by the so-called Great Compromise, establishing the present arrangement whereby the states are equally represented in the Senate while the House of Representatives is represented in proportion to their populations.

The Constitution was signed by 39 delegates (a great trivia question). I recognized only four signatures: Ben Franklin (PA), Alexander Hamilton (NY), James Madison (VA), and George Washington (VA). The ratification process brought on intense debate and conflict. This was resolved when it was agreed to amend the Constitution with the inclusion of a Bill of Rights. A total of 42 amendments were proposed but were subsequently reduced to 12. Two (2) failed ratification and the remaining became the first 10 amendments, today referred to as the aforementioned Bill of Rights. Unquestionably, these were major and significant additions to prevent government abridgement and to insure the fundamental rights of individuals.

Here is what I would consider some of the key amendments. Read #10 carefully.

Amendment 2:

“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Amendment 10:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Amendment 13 (1865):

“Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”

Amendment 14 (1968):

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State      wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States …”

Amendment 15 (1870):

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Amendment 16 (1913):

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived …” Ouch!!

Amendment 18 (1919):

“…the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States…for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”

Amendment 19 (1920):

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Amendment 21 (1933):

“The 18th article of the amendment to the Constitution is hereby repealed.”

Amendment 26 (1971):

“The right of citizens of the United States who are 18 years of age or older to vote shall not be denied or abridged…”

Exit the objectivity of the above material. Enter my take on the Constitution. I believe the intent of the framers was to protect the rights of the people, and not the government and/or elected officials. Unfortunately, most officials and some of the Justices have chosen to ignore the intent and instead reinterpret many of the laws of the land. The framers obviously were concerned that an expanded government would encroach upon the rights of individuals. An objective review of the Constitution clearly indicates their concern that government expansion would adversely affect the rights of individuals.

How lucky we are to be Americans. As I noted at the top, everyone should take the time to read our Constitution. It is a brilliant document that has fortunately and understandably withstood the test of time.

Note:   I have decided to discontinue the closeout note for these articles on offensive or defensive basketball suggestions since work on the second edition of “BASKETBALL Coaching 101” is now in full swing.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Aging

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

NOVEMBER 1:         The OHI Day V

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ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE, AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXXVI

June 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

Back to another one of our four favorites…here are 20 comments that may (or may not) tickle your fancy.

  • The recent baseball strike can best be described by one word: greed. Both parties were guilty but the players more so.
  • My virology book is finally in publication, due out in late November. Hopefully, this one will sell.
  • I may go forward with a book on hydrogen energy – a hot topic.
  • The recent March Madness tournament was but another reminder on the level of NCAA corruption.
  • I’ve now lost almost all of the players of my basketball team of the 1955-65 era. Unfortunately, death continues to pay us a visit.
  • Can the Mets finally do it??? Let’s go Mets!
  • It was 80 years ago at this time that 76,000 American were subjected to the 60-mile death march by the Japanese invaders in the Philippines.
  • COVID-19 and the Ukrainian war are beginning to take a toll on my mental state.
  • I keep asking colleagues, friends, foes, relatives, etc., about the $20 they owe me…to no avail.
  • My files continue to mount. I’m going to have to get rid of them one of these days.
  • I really believe potable water is the major problem facing society. Unfortunately, my book and two patents on water have yet to be favorably received. I’ve modestly titled one of the patents, “The THEOGEO Process.”
  • I often think about the millions of people our nation has saved.
  • I continue to feel that no group of people have impacted civilization more than the Greeks (my forefathers).
  • I’m making fewer and fewer trips to Astoria, Queens (my earlier abode) which is home to some of the best Greek restaurants.
  • My earlier years in Hell’s Kitchen during the Great Depression is slowly becoming a fleeting memory.
  • Recently returned from Florida after a one-week vacation (our 48th) at the beautiful Sandcastle Resort in Sarasota, Florida.
  • Taking a beating in the stock market – invested in Draftking’s (ugh!). Thankfully, I’ve only a few thousand invested.
  • Finished reading the 2020 book “The Henna Artist” by Alka Josi. This is a must read for those from India, particularly women.
  • I’m unfortunately looking forward to the visit to Saratoga Springs for the races for the 77th (straight) year this August.
  • Both the winters and summers seem milder than what it was nearly a century ago.

I return early next year with another “rambling” article.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JULY 1:                      On Great Eats V: Pastrami

AUGUST 1:                On the Constitution

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Aging

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Try to avoid inbounding the ball in the corner if the opposing team is pressing.
  2. Try to avoid dribbling or passing toward one of the forecourt corners when the opposing team is pressing.
  3. Players should practice their offensive skills whenever and wherever possible.

WINNER OR LOSER?

January 1, 2022

January 1, 2022

The New Year has arrived and for some, it is time to talk about days of old.  So here is a tale from nearly sixty years ago that has been drawn from my academic files.  Stay with this one even though there is some technical material in it.  You might find it interesting.  At least, I hope you do.

This is a tale that occurred late in 1960 that may or may not serve to justify the value of an open-ended approach to a relatively simple engineering/science problem.  That story, as recanted by an engineering educator, is presented below.

            Some time ago, I received a call from a colleague named Lou Theodore who asked if I would be willing to serve as the referee on the grading of an examination question.  He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a heat transfer question involving a mercury thermometer, while the student claimed he should receive a perfect score and would if the system were not set up against the student.

            I went to my dear colleague’s office and read the examination question: “As part of a QA/QC (quality assurance/quality control) test, outline how one can ascertain the readings on this long stem mercury thermometer employed in the department’s lab is correct.”

            The student had answered: “Place several other thermometers along the one of concern and check the readings.  If all the readings are in close agreement with one another, one can conclude that the lab thermometer reading is correct.”

During discussions with my colleague, who was completing his first year as a chemical engineering professor, it became apparent that he felt the student was a “loser and a liability, and would ultimately serve as an embarrassment to the department in later years.  He complained that the student was Irish, often showed up late for class, was occasionally inebriated, with many of his lectures serving as a sleeping pill.” My colleague also felt that the student should have provided an answer that reflected the lecture material.  For example, the mercury in the narrow tube expands as it gets hotter due to its coefficient of expansion.  In effect, the mercury expands by an amount that linearly depends on the temperature so that a rise of 10 degrees produces twice the expansion than a 5-degree increase.  In any event, Dr. Theodore and the student agreed to submit this to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected.

            I pointed out to Dr. Theodore that the student really had a strong case for full credit since he had answered the question completely and correctly.  On the other hand, if full credit was given, it could well contribute to a high grade for the student in his heat transfer course.  A high grade is supposed to certify competence in the subject of concern, but the answer did not confirm this.  I suggested that the student have another try at answering the question.  I was not surprised that Dr. Theodore agreed, but I was even more surprised that the student did.

            I gave the student ten minutes to answer the question with the warning that the answer should show some knowledge of heat transfer.  At the end of five minutes, he had not written anything.  I asked if he wished to give up, but he said no.  He had many answers to this problem; he was just thinking of the best one.  I excused myself for interrupting him and asked him to please go on.  In the next minute, he dashed off his answer which read:

            “Call the local airport and weather bureau and inquire about the ambient temperature.  Then take the thermometer outside.  If the reading is in close proximity to that reported by the two agencies, one can conclude that the reading is correct.”

            At this point, I asked my colleague if he would give up.  He conceded and I gave the student almost full credit.

            In leaving Dr. Theodore’s office, I recalled that the student had said he had many other answers to the problem, so I asked him what they were.  “Oh yes,” said the student. “There are a great many ways of checking the validity of the thermometer readings.  For example, you could mail the thermometer back to the vendor and request that it be recalibrated to reassure the reading is valid.

            “Fine,” I asked. “And the others?”

            “Yes,” said the student. “There is a very basic measurement method that you will like.  In this method you take the thermometer and place it in running tap water.  Since the tap water in the lab is in the 62-64°F range, a temperature reading of the lab thermometer in that range would signify validity. 

            “Of course, if you want an even simpler method, you can take the thermometer to the lab technician. Speak to him as follows: “Mr. Technician, here I have a fine thermometer.  If you tell me if the thermometer is properly calibrated, I will give you this thermometer”.”

            Finally, he concluded there are a host of other ways of solving the problem.  “Probably the best but perhaps a somewhat unorthodox way is to take the thermometer, along with Dr. Theodore, to the bathroom.  You ask Dr. Theodore to drop his pants and bend over.  You then stick the long stem thermometer as far as it will go up Dr. Theodore’s ass.  If the thermometer registers something in the 98.6°F area, it must be in working order.”

            At this point I asked the student if he really did know the conventional answer to this question.  He admitted that he did, but said that he was fed up with traditional education and college professors trying to teach him how to think using the “scientific method”, i.e., to explore the deep inner logic of the subject in a pedantic way, as is often done in the new curricula, rather than teaching him the structure of the subject.

            Interestingly, the student did manage to graduate despite the efforts of my dear colleague.  The student married soon after graduation, and his two children – Michelle and Mark – later served as babysitters for my colleague’s children (Dr. Theodore married a beautiful woman of Irish decent later in life).  The student?  John McKenna, who went on to earn a law degree and a PhD.  He is currently President and CEO of ETS International in Roanoke, VA. 

            So much for the decision-making capabilities of some of our educators.


On Hofstra 2022 Men’s Basketball Upcoming Season

December 1, 2021

December 1, 2021

Two teams come to mind when one thinks of basketball on Long Island: St. Johns (Queens) and Hofstra (Nassau County). Hofstra has held the upper hand in recent years. But last year, SJ head coach, Mike Anderson, revitalized the team with a high-pressure defense that created havoc for a number of teams (I have a bet on them to win the NCAA this year at whopping odds of 175-1). Hofstra, on the other hand, took several steps backwards after coach Jo Mihalik went on medical leave last year and the team utterly failed to respond to the new leadership. That was then, now is now, and the article is about Hofstra’s Spring season (I did not bet on them at 2500-1.).

Five topics on Hofstra’s upcoming season are reviewed below: coach, players, defense, tournament thoughts, and closing comments. Here we go.

  1. Coaching: There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Speedy Claxton. Everybody is enthused about his selection to lead the Pride. So am I. He will do fine, even though it is his first year. My dear friend and mentor, Jack Powers, former Executive Director of the NIT, had this to offer on Speedy: “He is a wonderful kid, a quality person, a great player, and certain to succeed. Rick Cole made a great choice.” My sentiments…exactly.
  2. Players: Here is some bad news. The club lost Isaac Kante who I believe would have been a dominant center in the CAA this season. This was a major loss, particularly since the club lacks both a solid big man and shot blocker. The club appears to be top heavy with quality guards. They include: Jalen Ray who will need to have a superstar year on offense, and improve his defensive play; Aaron Estrada, a solid addition from Oregon University; Cabet Burgess, a holdover who shows promise; and, Zachary Cooks, another solid addition from New Jersey Institute of Technology;
  3. Defense. The club has almost exclusively played zone since the arrival of coach Mikal ich. Here is some good news. Speedy announced early on that that the club would almost exclusively play zone defense. As I’ve always said, if you play against a zone, your grandmother can guard you. I’ve also said that it is defense that wins championships, particularly backcourt defense. Bottle up your opponent’s playmaker and you’re in business.
  4. Tournament thoughts. The object every season for any club in a mid-major conference is to win their tournament, NOT their conference. Iona College, with essentially mediocre seasons, has won the MAAC tournament in the last 4 years in a row. Does Tim Cluess know something that other coaches don’t know? I believe he has figured out that the corrupt NCAA has stacked the deck against mid-major teams, and the only way to survive and prosper is to win their tournament. Bottom line: Play to win the tournament, NOT conference games during the season. How does a team do this? I discussed this very topic in the 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book.
  5. Closing comments. The team chose to open against 3 top 25 ranked teams: Houston, Maryland, and Richmond. Did these games provide a wakeup call? Perhaps. Houston was an overtime loss; Maryland was 2-point loss with some really poor time management at the end of the game, and Richmond was also a loss. The club was 3-4 at the time of submission of this article.

One more thing. My spies tell me that Hofstra has aspirations of moving from the CAA to the MAC. I hope not since the CAA gives the club a more “spatial” presence.

Finally, attending Hofstra games for me still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area; it’s even cheaper than going to the movies. There is ample free parking, easy access in and out of the Mack Sports Complex, the concession stands are not a rip-off ($3.50 for a dog, $3.00 for a soda, etc.), and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Did I mention that it’s $9 for seniors and children, and the whole exciting atmosphere is conducive to family attendance? Consider sharing it with someone you care about.

NOTE: A real downer. An assistant in the Athletic Department cancelled my media pass for Hofstra games. That will probably adversely affect future Hofstra articles, but more importantly, reduce my ability to contact / involve key basketball personalities such as players, coaches, ADs, and officials in the second edition of my book “BASKETBALL COACHING 101”. It will not affect my involvement elsewhere. Anyway, I enjoyed my serving as a good will ambassador for the program — and it was good while it lasted.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JANUARY 1:             On Zzzabuu VI

FEBRUARY 1:          On Great Eats VI

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Random, Pristine Thoughts XXVI

APRIL 1:                    On Hofstra’s 2021-22 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                      On the EWSD Tax Vote

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice inbounding the ball at various locations on the court when the opposing team is pressing.
  2. The player nearest to the ball should take it out immediately after a basket or foul shot and pass it to the first open man.
  3. Do not leave the foul line after the first of two (or three) free throws, and do not slap / shake the hand of a fellow teammate.

ON ZZZABUU V

August 1, 2021

August 1, 2021

You were reintroduced to Zzzabuu four months ago. He had arrived earlier in 2003 from the planet Zzokki in a faraway galaxy, having been dispatched to Earth on a fact-finding trip involving politicians in the United States. Zzzabuu had been selected once again for a special assignment by The Superiors in 2021 because of his great intellect, analytical mind, and his love of gambling. On reaching Earth, Zzzabuu set out immediately to accomplish his specific assignment: to determine details (both pros and cons) of gambling investment opportunities on Plant Earth. As per instructions from the Superiors, Zzzabuu met with a retired, often confused, outspoken, nefarious chemical engineering professor (who shall remain nameless) in order to obtain background material and guidance prior to preparing a final report on his assignment.

As promised, this second of five articles on gambling is concerned with pari-mutuel racing, i.e., betting on horse races. This piece is particularly appropriate since the New York Racing Association (NYRA) venue is now in full swing in upstate Saratoga Springs…a place I have visited 66 years in a row. In any event, here is my take on this betting activity.

Let’s proceed directly to the bottom line. This sport is dying a slow death. Why?

  1. NYRA is a totally corrupt and incompetent organization, unable to run a legitimate business.
  2. There is a 15-20% “takeout” that significantly – and I mean significantly – reduces the probability of the bettor winning.
  3. The sport is currently supported by the aged few, e.g., yours truly, for whom this form of gambling has unfortunately become a way of life. Attempts to attract the younger generation and the opposite sex continue to fail miserably.
  4. The bettor has consistently been treated as a third class citizen, not a patron to be valued.
  5. I predicted NYRA’s demise when I appeared as an invited guest at a Presidential Crime Commission hearing in 1976. My predictions have come true.
  6. I have proposed a legitimate possible solution to the sport’s dilemma…but I hold no hopes for its implementation.
  7. Finally, NYRA has successfully alienated its base and continues to discourage live fan involvement.

But, what about those in this reading audience who will continue to wager on horseraces? Although you should accept the fact that the probability of losing is extremely high, here are a handful of hints that I believe will increase your chances of winning.

  1. For the beginner or novice, who has little or no knowledge of pari-mutual wagering, simply bet the number 1 (one) horse every race.
  2. Always give serious consideration to betting the 1 (one) horse, particularly with 2-turn races where the inside post is a major advantage.
  3. What about tips? The general rule here is to never bet tips. Here’s a quick tale that will seal the deal. Mary and I owned Katy R, a standardbred. One night prior to one of her races at Roosevelt Raceway, I was introduced to a guy who suddenly claimed he had a tip on a horse in the race. What horse? Katy R. I asked him about the source of this tip. He showed me the program that read OWNER: M.K. Theodore and L. Theodore, Jackson Heights. He claimed that he got the tip directly from L. Theodore, a gambling degenerate who was owner and the chef of a diner in Jackson Heights. I showed him my horseman’s photo ID card. He snickered and walked away. So much for tips.
  4. What about win bets? I rarely bet win because tickets are being punched AFTER a race starts. I believe this could be proven in a court of law. (Successfully gaining illegal entry to computers, protected by sophisticated systems operated by true experts, has become painfully clear in recent months.)   Never bet place or show. I also generally try to stay away from favorites, particularly in stake races. I also prefer betting large field cheap claiming races rather than small field stake races.
  5. Try to key on betting on Pick-3, Pick-4, Pick-5, and triples.
  6. What about jockeys? I stay away from established older jockeys, e.g., John Velasquez. Their ROI, i.e., return on investment, is almost always negative. For me, the greatest jockey of all time was Jerry Bailey. The most overrated were Angel Cordero, Eddie Arcaro, and Mike Smith. Give bug-boys (apprentices) more consideration for longer races since the weight allowances are sure to come into play.
  7. Give apprentices more consideration in later races, particularly during the cold winter months, as the journeymen are more likely to be disinterested bystanders.
  8. What about race changes? I love first-time turf but stay away from turf to dirt. I also love horses going long the first time and stay away from horses going long to short.
  9. Give special consideration to 2nd-time starters.
  10. Try to stay away from betting on favorites.
  11. Give special consideration to speed horses in stake races.
  12. Try to avoid betting on layoff (21 or more days) horses in cheap claiming races since they obviously have missed a turn — for a reason.
  13. Finally, stop betting NYRA tracks. I now bet Gulfstream, Pimlico, etc.
  14. Where to bet? Find an OTB or a simulcast facility that offers track odds or bet from home with a phone account since live at-the-track betting has become a dying form of entertainment.
  15. What about money management? Forget about it. It is a non-entity for the real gambler. It all depends on the risks you are willing to take. For the novice, bet only an amount that losing will have no impact on your life.
  16. What about bringing friends and family to the track (as I have often done)? Don’t waste your time. Most are looking for “instant gratification” and become disillusioned / bored when they realize there are 30-35 minutes between races.

Good luck in the months (and hopefully years) ahead. If you continue to bet, and my above suggestions don’t work, blame it on Karma.

Zzzabuu will return early next year (if  I’m still around).

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Great Eats VI

OCTOBER 1:             On Technical Writing

NOVEMBER 1:         On the Ohi Day IV

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season / EWSD (Budget Vote)

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice putting the ball in play; there should be several options available (and known) without the need to take a time out.
  2. Always run on offense; the only exceptions are:
  3. The bench is weak, and
  4. A key player is in foul trouble (shorten the game).
  5. Motion offense is a must, otherwise your grandmother can guard you.

Note: Mary (M.K. Theodore) and I (L. Theodore) just published a book titled “Introduction to Environmental Management”, 2nd edition, CRC Press / Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, 2021 (99$). The book is the definitive source for those seeking a non-technical presentation of technical environmental issues, e.g., electromagnetic waves, noise pollution, nanotechnology, global warming, desalination, etc. Homework problems and exams (with solutions) are also available for those who adopt.


On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Men’s Basketball Season and The East Williston School District Budget Vote

May 1, 2021

May 1, 2021

This is not an easy newsletter for me to write. There are two parts: one concerned with Hofstra’s 2020-21 basketball season and one concerned with the upcoming East Williston School District (EWSD) budget vote. There is bad news on both subject matters. In any event, here goes.

  1. Hofstra’s 2020-21 Men’s Basketball Season

In case anyone forgot, Hostra won its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA Men’s Basketball Championship) in March 2020, defeating Northeastern 70-61. The teams’ combined wins over its past two years include 26 wins in 2019-20 and 27 wins in the 2018-19 campaign. These 53 wins placed them 14th nationally and was the main reason they won consecutive regular season titles. In addition, Isaac Kante was exceptional with a 65 percent field goal average – 9th in the nation. They were worthy champions in 2020 but, alas, the COVID-19 struck and the NCAA Tournament was cancelled.

The bad news continued following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season when coach Joe Mehalich took sick and has retired from basketball. The new season brought forth a new coach with Kante selected on the CAA’s preseason first team plus Jalen Ray and Tareq Coburn were preseason honorable mentions. I was pretty certain they were going to have another great year. But, the team’s performance turned out to be less than stellar. They arrived at the CAA Championship Tournament with high hopes but failed miserably.

My notes on this past season are listed below:

  1. They continued to play zone defense; even mediocre teams don’t play zone.
  2. There was no hustle on defense – a characteristic of many zone defenses with players confused at times as to who was guarding who.
  3. They couldn’t hit 3-pointers with any consistency.
  4. There was often poor shot selection.
  5. The other teams were simply better.

What makes for a winning team? Here is what legendary coach Rollie Massimino offered in my Basketball Coaching 101 book: “Every team has an identity and for me it is family. The magic word is WE. We are all together. Most of our family of players, coaches, etc., regularly contact each other for Christmas. I also still get calls from my gang at the beginning of each season wishing me well.” The Hofstra team? They looked like a pickup team; it was as if the 5 players had just been introduced. The bench? It appeared comatose most of the time. I once half-jokingly mentioned that “if you hope to win a championship, you’d better be with people you love.” Now I don’t think of it as a joke.

Next season? Look for them to rebound with a new coach. The new coach? What a great choice: Craig “Speedy” Claxton. Speedy played at Hofstra and won the Haggerty Award (top New York metropolitan player) as a senior. He followed that with 7 years in the NBA. Hopefully, he will not follow in the same footsteps as Chris Midlin. One thing we know is that Hofstra has had a really fabulous record of recruiting top guards and this included both Speedy and Juan’ya Green plus my favorite – Charles Jenkins. More recently, Speedy was apparently responsible for not only recruiting but also developing Justin Wright-Foreman and Desure Buie. Let’s hope the tradition will continue since it is guards who bring home championships. Regarding Speedy, my dear friend and mentor, Jack Powers, former Executive Director of the NIT, had this to offer: “He is a wonderful kid, a quality person, a credit to our sport, and certain to succeed. Rick Cole made a great choice.” My sentiments … exactly.

II. The East Williston School District (EWSD) Budget Vote

Over the years, I have been critical of teachers for taking yearly salary increases at a time when many people in the private sector are being laid off, taking salary cuts, or losing their benefits. Such is the situation this year.

A question we engineers often ask when evaluating a scheme, proposal, contract, etc., is as follows: Is it cost-effective and is there sufficient accountability? When applied to education, most school boards, school administrators, and teachers have conveniently avoided answering this question. In fact, these individuals continue to try to convince concerned taxpayers that taxes need to be raised further if our children are to receive a quality education. Our teachers also maintain that they are dedicated professionals. What in the world is the rest of the workforce? To hear the teachers you would think they were God’s gift to society. Regarding our teachers, I have more respect for the NYC teacher, who I believe is as dedicated, if not more, because they are exposed to combat duty, often on a daily basis. Furthermore, one need only compare the recent conduct of teachers with 9/11 first responders and the COVID-19 pandemic health care workers.

Needless to say, I shall vote against the budget since it contains increases and not reductions in teachers’ salaries and benefits. I suggest District taxpayers do likewise. Remember, it is Okay to vote NO on the budget.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day VI

JULY 1:                      On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXXI

AUGUST 1:                On Great Eats VI

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Technical Writing

OCTOBER 1:             Zzzabuu V

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Every attempt should be made to exploit the team’s offensive capabilities against the opponent’s defensive weaknesses.
  2. Players should learn to dribble with either hand.
  3. Players should learn to shoot with either hand.

ON THE THEODORE COVID-19 VACCINE DISTRIBUTION PLAN

February 28, 2021

March 1, 2021

The distribution process for the COVID-19 vaccine is obviously significantly flawed. Who is at fault? It depends on who you talk to but it really doesn’t matter. For sure, there has to be a better way of handling this situation. Here are my comments followed by my vaccine distribution approach.

Three questions first need to be addressed before proceeding.

  1. How should the number and timing of vaccines be maximized?
  2. Who should decide who gets the vaccine and when?
  3. How should the vaccines for the recipients be distributed?

The answer to question (1) is simply this: the federal government should subsidize the creation / discovery and preparation of the vaccine supplies with generous bonuses for timely deliveries. This apparently did occur. Anyone or any group – other than the CDC or WHO – should determine the answer to questions (2). Why not me, even though there must be a host of others who could better provide an answer. Obviously (3) is the key question. Both questions (2) and (3) should be dynamic and vary with individual states, counties, locales, etc. In any event, here is what I propose.

The prioritization (high priority to low priority) is presented in terms of 6 categories. Categories include:

  1. Healthcare workers
  2. Infrastructure personnel (police, firefighters, etc.)
  3. Senior citizens
  4. High risk groups
  5. Children
  6. Others not included in A-D

My prioritization follows. Note that there are 20 groups.

A1.   Employed healthcare workers

B1.   Policemen and firefighters

C1.   Citizens 90 and over

D1.   Citizens with cancer, lung, liver, or heart disease

C2.   Citizens 85-90

A2.   Unemployed healthcare workers

C3    Citizens 75-85

D2.   Citizens with flu or pneumonia

C4.   Employed citizens 60-75

D3    Citizens with any past lung, liver, or heart disease

C5.   Parents with 3 or more children

D2.   Other employed infrastructure personnel

D3.   Other unemployed infrastructure personnel

E1.    Children under 1

C6.   Employed citizens 18-60

C7.   Unemployed citizens 18-60

E2.    Children 1-18

F1.    Used car salesmen, realtors, and dentists

F2.    Lawyers, elected officials, and government personnel

F3.    School teachers, college professors, and veterinarians

I believe the first four groups (A1-D1) in any order – should receive the vaccine first. The last three groups should receive the least consideration.

The assignment of any of the priorities above is not based on any solid scientific or medical data and information. It is simply a gut feeling drawn from my limited experience. As is the case with this sort of judgement, this prioritization will vary with both the individual and time. But for me, the key would be to have as little impact as possible from the government and bureaucrats.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS:

APRIL 1:                     On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On Great Eats VI

JUNE 1:                      On Technical Writing

———————————————————————————————————————

Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice inbounding the ball at various locations on the court when the opposing team is pressing.
  2. The player nearest to the ball should take it out immediately after a basket or foul shot and pass it to the first open man.
  3. Do not leave the foul line after the first of two (or three) free throws, and do not slap / shake the hand of a fellow teammate.