Making Food from Sunlight and Wind

I want to build a 21st century farm. I’ll start with a solar array and a wind generator (probably a chimney). I’ll store energy in a liquid storage facility using a redox flow battery. Then using the storage cell I’ll run a CO2 extractor and maybe a water purifier.

Then I’ll build a sealed building similar to the PlantLab system. I’ll use red and blue LED’s on for 20 hours per day (or whatever is the optimum day/night cycle for the specific food I’m growing), high concentrations of CO2, and optimum temperature/humidity to grow food dramatically faster than a traditional farm.

There are very few consumables needed, some fertilizer and seeds. It’s not clear to me how long a wind generator or solar array can last. I’m sure eventually something will be needed for repair or maintenence.

Depending on the outdoor temperature this system could work for decades. If the greenhouse were buried in 57F degree ground and well insulated it may not lose much heat to the ground.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.

Stress Dependent Superconductivity

Here is a interesting article from about modifying superconductivity using stress. Film stress in the semiconductor industry can change electrical properties of conductors so this makes perfect sense.

At an atomic level the concept of stress is simply the distance between atoms or molecules. In an equilibrium state the atoms want to be a specific distance from each other. Due to the formation process the atoms may be a little too close or too far from each other. Technically this is not an equilibrium state, but the positions can be locked in place so that it is difficult for the film to relax. Moderate levels of compressive and tensile stress can be stable in the long term.

It would be interesting to deposit some high temperature superconductors at a variety of film stresses ranging from compressive to neutral to tensile and see how the critical temperature and critical magnetic field depend on the stress.

On a side note, I met Lee, Richardson, and Osheroff at the 1996 Nobel Prize ceremonies. They were all friendly and exciting people to be around.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.

Do we have free will?

Perhaps not, at least when we are rushed into a decision.

But what I find really odd is that the people who think we have no free will are insistent that we convert to their position, whether it's their religious opinion, or their political preferences.

My friend Harry Kroto was a committed atheist who believed I had no free will, that I had no choice whether or not to be a Christian. And yet he would not give up trying to commit me to atheism.

Goodbye my friend

I shall miss you with all my heart. You smiled when you were happy, you smiled when you were angry, you smiled when you were tired, you smiled when you were everywhere.

You were there with me when Challenger exploded, when I was frustrated and lonely, when I could not care less about carbon, when I was successful and enthusiastic about buckyballs. You told me my career had peaked when I was 23 years old.  I think you were right.

Harry Kroto was one of the greatest scientists in history because he understood joy and connected it to science better than anyone I have ever met.  He laughed and smiled at all things science.

It is with the utmost respect that I must sadly report that Harry has gone to meet his maker (or maybe not), he is pushing up daisies, he has joined the choir invisible.  Sir Harold Walter Kroto, FRS is an ex-chemist.