Danish Wind

From the desk of: Harvey H. Homitz

Office Bar and Grill
23°43’N 82°08’W
Planet Earth

To: Justin Gillis
C/o. The Editor,
      New York Times, 620, 8th. Ave.
      New York, NY. 10018.

Re : By Degrees A Tricky Transition From Fossil Fuel

New York Times, Science section, Tuesday Nov. 11th. 2014

Dear Mr. Gillis,

 Congratulations! You are indeed the lead trumpeter for the NYT Green Warming Marching Band if you dig my tune.!  Nothing wrong with blowing a good trumpet,  even if it is for the NYT,  but be careful!  Remember when Joshua blew his at Jericho….the walls came tumbling down.   

We don’t want that happening in New York! Right?

Let’s not mince words!, for a while now  I’ve been following  your ‘BY DEGREES’ piece on Global Warming, or what they now call Climate Change.  That terminological reconfiguration was a smart move, nothing wrong with that!  Better be safe than sorry I always say, especially for you journalists when you get into the prognostication business.  

So! We’ve got the outcome thing covered whichever way the thermometer goes,  but all this headlong charge into Wind and Solar has been bothering me for a while  and I’m relieved that finally you got it ..  Justin Time eh!  Oops ! I forgot; Justin Gillis.

Well done! You hit the Danes on the Jutland with that one!    What are those 5.6 million Danes going to do when the wind stops blowing and the Norwegians won’t give back the electricity  they owe from pumping up their hydro electric dams when there was too much wind? And Danish wind to boot!   More to the point what are they going to do when 45 million Brits., who shut down their Nukes and dirty old coal plants, are begging for a few tera-watts  to save them from freezing in the dark? Eh?

Well I don’t mind sharing this one with you; the Brits will do OK without Danish Wind. They’ve got Lord Browne Fracker!  You know,  the chap who changed British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum,  jumped out  the closet, quit BP and started fracking all over North England.  

Now you seem to be a bright sort of fellow, very literate if not so numerate.  After all, apart from a few recent exceptions, there’s  not many Dodos on the NYT payroll, so you may have guessed by now that I am packed in the sardine section of an Airbus, at Mach .75 , 35k ft. and reading your piece in the Times.  Incidentally, when you say “BY DEGREES” are we talking about Fahrenheit, Uncalibrated, Celsius or Kelvin? Perhaps you should put that little circle with F, U, C or K after ‘degrees’ so that any real scientists reading it would know what the f*** you’re on about.

Now Articles like yours  tend to make one think.   So it occurred to me as I sipped an inferior wine while nibbling fruits and nuts, (appropriately  since I was departing California which harbours  large numbers of both),  how lucky I was to be propelled by kerosene and not Danish wind.  Further, with the aid of a slide-rule, (which need not be switched off in flight),   I calculated that it would require 70,000 horses or 350,000 galley slaves at max exertion, to get this Airbus off the ground.   Suddenly the sardine section seemed less crowded!


Well, not to worry, you’re on the right track now, and being an expert in these matters myself I don’t mind helping you avoid the obvious pitfalls while sweeping on with the grand fallacy.

As luck would have it i’m available.  Let me know when we can start.

Yours from the last Bastion of independent and Unfunded Natural Scientists,

Harvey H. Homitz

Purveyor of Sensible Science to the Inumerate Literati.


Ozone and the Montreal Accords.

I remember in Chemistry class being taught that Ozone (O3) was formed in the upper atmosphere by Cosmic Rays1 , Ultraviolet Light, or Alpha Particles  from the Sun, bumping into Oxygen molecules (O2) according to  the  equation 3O22O3,  a reversible reaction.   

Reactive and unstable, Ozone decays pretty soon, back into O2 or an oxide of Nitrogen (NOx), there being plenty of Nitrogen around up there.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that in America Ozone is believed to come from automobile exhaust pipes in places like Los Angeles.

When, in the ‘80s a sharp eyed New York Times reporter first spotted the ‘Ozone Hole’ lurking over Patagonia in late October, I was curious. When, every year thereafter, the ‘Ozone Hole’   reappeared at the same time and place as reported in the NYT, I became suspicious. 

Now it was common knowledge among my classmates that our schoolmasters were Neanderthals, nevertheless to avoid being caned we paid attention, (A.D.D. having not yet been invented).  We also knew from paying attention that the Antarctic, being a continent, was 30o C, or more, colder than the Arctic which is an ocean.

With no sunlight for six months there are no ‘Cosmic Rays’ to generate fresh ozone over Antarctica. In addition the cold dense polar air mass descends over the South Pole and heads North in every direction creating the hurricane force katabatic winds. The Earth’s rotation or Coriolis effect, take your pick, gives the Northbound wind an Easterly kick and voila! the South Polar vortex is born, giving rise to the roaring forties, or screaming fifties depending how far south you go. All of this sucks more of the remaining ozone out of the upper atmosphere.

When in September, spring in the antipodes, the Sun pops its smiling face over the horizon to warm things up, relatively speaking, again the polar vortex weakens and the ozone depleted winter air mass spirals Northward to show up in Patagonia on cue for the annual October/November Ozone hole spotting!

To panic about the disappearing ‘ozone hole’, our shield against cancer causing UV radiation, seems strange given that UV radiation is absorbed in the process by creating the Ozone layer.

The energy needed to create the highly reactive Ozone molecule from the standard O2 Oxygen molecule reduces the high energy UV to a lower energy state with a corresponding longer and less harmful wavelength.(according to the formula E= H/λ, where E is ‘Energy’,  λ is wavelength ( lambda) and H is Plank’s constant). 

Other things too are going on in the upper atmosphere where most of the Sun’s damaging UV radiation is absorbed, among them the creation of Carbon 14 (the radioactive isotope of the normal Carbon 12) which is used to determine the age of fossils.

Since most (79%) of the atmosphere is Nitrogen (N2), these energetic little solar bullets bump into a lot of Nitrogen molecules in their hunt for the scarcer (20%) Oxygens to bump up into Ozones. When this happens, the hapless Nitrogen can lose a proton in its nucleus and miraculously absorbs an electron to become a neutron bringing its atomic number (protons in its nucleus) down from 7 to 6.  Thus emasculated, our Nitrogen takes on the chemical characteristics of an overweight Carbon atom, a sort of nuclear transgenderification.

So modified, our freshly minted Carbon 14 sets out in search of a comely Oxygen molecule in the high energy stratospheric discos of Auroras – Borealis and Australis. After a successful high altitude courtship our newly mated CO2 couple settles out of the rarified air, dragged down by gravity and reality from the stratosphere to the lower troposphere. There, lured by the seductive sirens of house and home, they succumb to the Bankers and Realtors of water and photosynthesis and settle in eternal connubial bliss in their chosen cellulose molecule.

And that my friend is why they call it Carbon Dating.

Making Plastic Chairs Out of Thin Air

From:   The desk of Harvey H Homitz,

Office Bar and Grill
23°43’N  82°08’W
Planet Earth.
August 7th.2014

To:   Mr. Charles Osgood,
c/o 25,000 podcasts,
and 300+/- Radio stations.
Westwood One ,
New York, NY.

   Re:  Carbon Recycling; Making Plastics out of Thin Air;

The Osgood File. August 5th. 2014

Dear Mr. Osgood,

That was a lovely piece about your chaps making plastic chairs out of thin air!   It’s good to know that since (the concensus of) the majority of scientists  identified the devil in CO2 and other GHGs (GreenHouse Gases),  we can make plastic chairs out of him!  Try doing that when he was a serpent in the Garden of Eden beguiling gullible girls with low hanging fruit! Eh! What a transition! Poof! The serpent vanishes into thin air. I’ll bet David Copperfield would like to add that trick to his reportoire.

But back to the point, being a frustrated prestidigitor myself, and a dumb foreigner to boot, I’d really like to know how they do it.  Do I smell a rat, or is it just a bit fishy?

In the old days we used to start with hydrocarbons from petroleum,  add  salt for the chlorine and then with a bit of clever pressure cooking.. Bingo!  out the oven came Polyvinylchloride ( PVC to the Rubes) or something like it,  perfect for making cheap plastic stacking chairs  of the kind that nearly severed me mate Trevor from his family jewels……..

Now cheap plastic stacking chairs flex when you sit in them,  especially if you’re on the heavy side like Trev. So when Trev sat down at the Concert with a case of Frosties wearing his loose baggy shorts with no undies, the family jewels somehow dropped through the widened slot.   No problem!   Until he got up to point Percival at the porcelain.  You guessed it!  Unburdened the slot closed around the jewels like Rommel’s Panzers  in a pincer movement.  I will say no more.   Get the full story on utube: “The Tragic Tale of Trevor’s Trapped Testicles”.

But I digress. Your blokes at Newlight taking GHGs out of thin air to make Hydrocarbons to make testicle-trapping plastic chairs seems a long way round unless they’re not telling us the full Monty;  like how much energy they use and how big are the carbon credit  subsidies?

Are they really onto something? Or are they just another Green Energy whelp suckling at Aunt Sam’s  ample bosom?

Let me know what their dodge is… or is it all good prestidigitation??!

Lets get to the bottom of it,

Yours from the far Right

Harvey H Homitz

The Great Credit Crunch Crisis

Context of NPR Radio letter  October 29th. 2008.

Following the Great Credit Crunch Crisis (GCCC) in late 2008, government budget cuts at all levels were proposed and greeted with sage nods from the media and pundits at large, until the consequences landed in the backyards of the NIMBYs.  ( Not In My Back Yard ). Whereupon there was wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the land, as plump sucklings were faced with the prospect of separation from the public nipple. Among the loudest wails was an interview aired on NPR with a local tourism advocate who argued that we were competing with the World for the Tourist Dollar,  and citing Dubai as an example, foretold of the dire economic  consequences to SWFlorida of cuts in the beautification, beach renourishment  and related  public expenditurures.

At the time there was much debate over the proposed new Twins Stadium, Fort Myer’s third Stadium.


National Public Radio,

Gulf Coast University,

Fort myers Fla.

October 29th. 2008

Dear NPR Radio,

Your piece about Sanibel competing with Dubai for the tourist Dollar and the Boston Red Sox fans really grabbed me by the  ‘attentions’ if you get my drift!

Being a foreigner myself (I’ve spent a few years playing in the world’s great sandboxes; Sanibel, Saudi Arabia and the Sahara to name  a few), I’ll bet you $5 to a fish head that we could beat ‘em hands down.

Knowing Sheikh Rashid as I do, (I once had a Mimosa with him in Miami), here’ s what we need to do:

We build him the new Stadium  on his 80 acres in Dubai ( we can get by with two Stadia here in Fort Myers)  and build an indoor Ski slope like his on the Bailey tract on Sanibel. That way the Boston fans could practice parallel Christies between the ball games without going to Dubai.

Next  we sweeten the pot a bit  for Rashid by hosting a Horse Race around the West Gulf loop as a sequel to the Dubai Gold Cup,  calling it the Sanibel Earthware Cup to keep the ‘Greens’ on board.  We’d have to widen and turf the bike path a bit   and give the Segway folk all terrain tyres, but Marty and Randy would pay for the tyres if we put the finish post and Owner’s paddock at Doc Fords!

Now I know that International Business deals are hard for some of  you Academics and Sanibellians to understand, but  hang in there!  Here’s the kicker:

Dubai’s got private Islands for sale,  shaped like countries for rich folk who want a private island they can call a country, like France or Italy. That’s a tough act to follow!

But we can do it!!!!        We’ve got Blind Pass!        Get  it??!

They’ve been studying how to open Blind Pass  for longer than it took to build the Panama Canal….!

So here’s the plan:  dredge open the pass and use the spoil to build islands shaped like US States, Massachusetts, Texas etc. and sell ‘em to the rich  tourists, Sox fans and wannabees who want an address like H.H.Homitz, California, FL. 33957.  Voila!

Listening to you guys sounds to me as though you could use a little hard core right wing business savvy,  and as luck would have it I’m available,

Let me know when we can start!,

Yours from the far right,

Harvey H. Homitz.

Perveyor of International Business solutions to the Feckless.


Sins of Emission

In response to Volkswagon being caught cheating in their computerized emissions testing by the EPA in 2015.

To the Editor of the Island Sun, Sanibel, FL:

Sir, Madam, or Other,

So it’s Oxides of Nitrogen, NOx to the cognoscenti, that they were cheating on!

Well!  Pretty nasty stuff. Makes you sneeze or worse depending on which one you sniff. But not all of ’em are nasty. There’s N2O, Nitrous Oxide  that the venerable Sir Humphrey Davey discovered, In seventeen-sumpty-or-other, took a whiff of, and appalled his laboratory staff by dancing around the lab giggling like a common idiot. Nowadays it’s called laughing gas, a favorite of your dentist, and outside the dentist’s chair, if you can get a hold of some, it’s a great party icebreaker,  if you’re looking for giggling idiots!   Not so the other NOxes, NO, NO2 and N2O4. Nitric Oxide, (NO) doesn’t hang around for long in the presence of free Oxygen (like in air) before turning into NO2, Nitrogen dioxide, or N2O4, di-nitrogen tetroxide, (never could tell the difference).  But both are extremely nasty brown gasses that, at concentrations of a couple of parts per million (ppm to the Rubes), a whiff will start you sneezing like a hound in a pepper mill and anything more will have you coughing, gagging and weeping like a penitent at the feast of Ashura.. Oops! I take that back, don’t mean to offend any devout flagellants! Can’t be too careful these days, the way they dish out those Fatwas.

But I digress. It’s no laughing matter, there’s a lot of NOxes out there and it’s not all cheating  two-timing  VW diesels, or Beamers, Audis, Fords or Chryslers. No! It’s not even the froggy French outfit  that makes most of the the diesels for the aforementioned and more than their combined output. No!   It’s Mother Nature, Gaia, God, or Zeus with his thunderbolts, depending on your religious preference.  Yep! You got it!         


If one can believe the raw ( that is..’uncorrected’) satellite data, there are an average of 100  discharges per second worldwide… Yes a hundred a second!!  And if you’ve ever been close enough to a lightning strike to make you jump out of your seat, you may have noticed a brown cloud surrounding the strike zone. That’s NO2.  Being highly soluble it dissolves quickly in water, which tends to be plentiful during thunderstorms, and bingo! We have nitric acid rain (typically ph 5+/-) even without a nearby sulphur dioxide spewing power station chimney to blame!  

Now it’s hard to know what to believe anymore, even if it’s on GoogleWicki, but they say there’s as much as 7,000 tons a day of Nitrates raining down on us, more or less than all the Ammonium Nitrate produced to fertilize farmer’s fields…..when it’s not in trucks blowing up buildings in Oklahoma or  in French ships flattening towns like Halifax, Nova Scotia (1917), and Texas City (1947).  Honest! I kid you not, both cities were leveled by French ships loaded with Ammonium Nitrate made in USA and destined for munitions in Europe!  The Halifax explosion at 2.9 kilotons was the biggest bang until the atomic bomb.

Now none of this has much to do with members of the Volkswagen tribe: Beetles, Passats, Siroccos and such, except perhaps to throw a little perspective on the severity of their sin.  There is little doubt  that like BP, they will pay their pound of flesh, or more likely, being of the metric persuasion, their kilogram$ of flesh.

It’s hard to quantify the gravity of their transgression since no data is offered in the media so one must make do with the howls of outrage from high places, tinged, I suspect, with the scent of money, much money, in the form of fines and punitive damages.

Now killing two birds with one stone is the ambition of all slingshot hunters, especially those who are short on stones;  and VW managed to do it,  meeting EPA emission requirements AND their cafe mpg mandates  with a single computer program. Never mind the wickedness of cheating, there’s innovation at work here and innovation is the catalyst of evolution and its sibling: progress.

There are some who advocate redemption;  after confession, contrition and penance which likely will run into Billion$.   And then there are those who suffer from guilt by association, and it is to those that I would like to address my closing remarks. If you are the victim of ownership of a nice late model Diesel VW I am prepared to assume your guilt along with your nice late model diesel VW….

Now driving a VW Variant fully loaded with canoes, bicycles and paddle boards through the eye of the EPA’s needle, is a lot easier said than done. So tradition has it that the purchase of an ‘Indulgence’ will bypass the eye of the needle and get your fully loaded VW through the main gate into Heaven.  Never mind the fact that the last Pope who got too cozy with politicians, lost half his flock to Martin Luther… who took them to Minnesota via Sweden. Help me out here, was it Incestuous the 7th or the 12th that  made the Rev. Luther post his 95 grievances on the Brandenburg gate?

But I digress, with nothing better to do, I am resurrecting the Indulgence business.

Believe me I feel your guilt. If you are the owner of a late model VW diesel and are burdened with guilt, I will relieve you of your VW and your guilt at absolutely no charge to you. Your Indulgence certificate will be valid at the Pearly Gates and is guaranteed for eternity.  

Call me at I-NDU-LGE-NCES

Yours etc.

Harvey H. Homitz

Pardoner of the Sins of Emission

P.s. According to today’s NYTimes, Porsche and Audi have been caught in the sinner’s round up so I will accept them too and expect many more in the coming days. Sin, it seems, even if not Original, is still very popular!