May 6, 2008

Roof Grass

I'm wandering around the U.S. and use the time in the car to think of crazy ideas. Several years ago along the southeast coast near the Gulf of Mexico, I saw mile after mile of swamp with cypress trees. As far as I know, the only purposes of the tree are to defend against storm surge and hurricanes, and to use as shredded garden mulch.

I mused at the time that if if the cypress tree could produce marketable timber, harvesting selected trees in the flat water and leaving the rest would be easy and economically viable. So it seemed that all that is necessary is to genetically create a cypress tree with the right characteristics to make it marketable. Plant geneticists should be able to accomplish that, and easily make a sterile new tree species.

On another trip to Texas, I was stung by a fire ant--not a pleasant experience as the injected acid leaves a sore that lasts for a couple of weeks. Yard grass in the south is mostly St. Augustine. What if a similar grass were genetically developed to have roots with a garlic odor? I'll bet that many families with small children playing in the backyard of southern homes would love to have this kind of 'fire ant prevention' garlic grass to eliminate spraying their yard with hazardous chemicals every six to eight weeks.

On the current trip, 'roof grass' would not be genetically derived. Roof grass would be manufactured of multiwall carbon nanotubes and 'planted' on the roof of a house to catch the wind. Baffles on the roof would disturb air currents to create small vortices and other turbulence to keep the 'grass' in constant movement.

As the grass flexes, electricity should be produced because bending the structures creates a charge separation – positive on one side and negative on the other. The connection between bending and charge creation can be used to create nanogenerators that produce measurable electrical currents when the grass is bent and then released. Moreover, solar energy hitting the carbon nanotubes also produces electricity.

Lead storage batteries would be avoided by using the electrical current to run a water electrolysis system and small compressor for the hydrogen fuel that would be produced. Hydrogen fuel is the cleanest energy possible--and very safe for stationary applications, such as for individual houses.

So what would happen if the weather brought hail? No problem--carbon nanotubes are extremely strong and extraordinarily flexible. Their elasticity is so good that nanotubes almost perfectly regain their form when the load is removed. What about lightning? I must admit I don't know the answer to that one! Perhaps the grass also would drain electricity from the storm, but I don't know.

May 5, 2008

Porn Addiction

I've seen the devastation of pornography. Many years ago a good Catholic woman told me that her husband insisted that she go with him to the burlesque show. She asked me if she had to obey her husband and said, "I feel like I'm committing a mortal sin." She added, "I'm not beautiful like those women on the stage whom he really likes." Just listening to her inconsolable sorrow made me want to cry, especially because her husband was considered a Catholic pillar of his parish. Until her death, this wife remained faithful to her husband, but she was very unhappy and insecure because she thought she could never satisfy him.

In another family, the 13-year old daughter found porn material used by her father. She could never respect her father again, and it also affects how she views all men, including a possible husband.

I know a family man who was fired from his very good job because of his insatiable lust for viewing porn on the internet. I saw the almost 8-inch stack of printouts of visits he made to "Ladies of xxx" and other sites. Even AFTER he had been warned he would be dismissed, he could not stop. The young family then experienced financial problems before he could find another job--and not in the best place or what he really wanted to do!

Archbishop Chaput of Denver has noticed the good work of our two Kansas City Bishops. I can't improve on the Archbishop's observations:
In recent months, two Catholic bishops have begun some extraordinary work against pornography in their Midwest dioceses: Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan.

Bishop Finn’s excellent pastoral letter, Blessed Are the Pure in Heart: "The Dignity of the Human Person and the Dangers of Pornography” has a wealth of good information about the scope of pornography, the damage it does and many practical tips to fighting it in our homes.

Archbishop Naumann’s anti-pornography initiative, “As for Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord,” includes a DVD and workbook with valuable resources for fighting pornography, teaching chastity and wholesome sexuality, and helping others who have been hurt by pornography addiction.

...pornography poisons the human heart, imagination and soul just as steel mills once poisoned our air and water, only worse.

Pornography is never “innocent entertainment,” no matter how private it might seem. It turns human beings into objects. It coarsens our appetites. It darkens our ability to see real human beauty. It creates impossible expectations about sexual intimacy. It kills enduring romance and friendship between the sexes. And ultimately it’s a lie and a cheat. Pornography is a cheap, quick, empty copy of the real thing — the real joy of sexual intimacy shared by a man and woman who have joined their lives in a loving marriage.