Monthly Archives: December 2010

Your Wine is Radioactive – Do You Know Why?

Did you know that alcohol made from petroleum is chemically identical to that made from natural substances such as grapes and grains? But the US Government regulations say that alcohol used for human consumption must be made only from the natural substances, although the taste and safety is matched by that from petroleum. So how does  the government enforce this regulation?

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has only one reliable test; check for radioactivity. Continue reading


Windmills Are Losing Their Wind

In 2008, billionaire T. Boone Pickens unveiled his ‘Pickens Plan’ on national TV, which calls for America to end its dependence on foreign oil by increasing use of wind power and natural gas. Over the next two years, he spent $80 million on TV commercials and $2 billion on General Electric wind turbines.

Unfortunately market forces were not favorable to Mr. Pickens, and in December 2010 he announced that he is getting out of the wind power business. What does he plan to do with his $2 billion worth of idle wind turbines? He is trying to sell them to Canada, because of Canadian law that mandates consumers to buy more renewable electricity regardless of cost. Continue reading

Colonel Sanders and a Colored Drinking Fountain

It was in November, 1948 and I was set to get my BS in January, the end of the semester. Professor Nierenberg stopped me in the hall of the Engineering Building and asked me to come to his office. He had a letter from the headquarters of the Electrical Engineering Honorary Society, Eta Kappa Nu. They were asking for UK members to assist in the installation of the first chapter in Tennessee the next month.

Since I was the elected president of the UK chapter, Professor Nierenberg, our faculty advisor, and I were requested to participate in the ceremony at UT/Knoxville in December. The professor planned to drive and suggested we choose two more to go since we had room in his car. He was to make other arrangements to fill a weekend. The installation ceremony was to be held on Saturday night and conducted by the “big wigs” from the national office in Pennsylvania with us locals having small “sword carrier” roles. Continue reading

Glenn T. Seaborg, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry – 1951

(The Epitome of the Phrase: “A Gentleman and a Scholar”)

I am sure Glenn Seaborg made an excellent first impression on most everyone he met, whether or not knowledge of his amazing achievements had preceded him. He had a gentle demeanor which evidenced no trace of superiority feeling. He focused on you intensely while you were speaking and responded to questions with a graciousness that never hinted that you perhaps should have already known the answer.

I met him only one time and that was during a visit he made to Richland, WA in 1994 to participate in the 50th Anniversary of the first production of plutonium, the element co-discovered by him and Edwin McMillan, and for which they received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry when Seaborg was 39 years old. In addition to plutonium, he is credited as a lead discoverer of americium, curium, and berkelium, and as a co-discoverer of californium, einsteinium, fermium, mendelevium, nobelium and seaborgium. Continue reading

Why Start a Blog?

I have enjoyed spending a lot of my spare time during recent years writing about school sports, my Army experiences in Rheims, France, and growing up with my friend Buck. I can think of no similar subjects I can write about in such detail that would have as much interest to others as those. However, I thought that from time to time I may pen some shorter writings of interest, and the easiest way to make them available to others is to have a blog. Then the blog visitors can read them, or ignore them. They can comment on the posts by clicking on the “leave a comment” phrase at the bottom of the post, sign in with your chosen ID and password. My ID is will1be and is shown on the blog. Your ID will be shown with any comment you want to attach, but, of course, your password will not.

So check in from time to time for my new posts, and, I hope, some posts submitted by some of my readers. And having a blog gives me a new hobby while I’m still young enough to enjoy it! There are many little details about doing a blog that I am still learning. Hope to hear from you.

To visit my blog, go to:

Catch-all for Past Writings

I have placed a copy of my past writings in this category. Three are listed below that you can open.I have received some very useful comments from readers suggesting additions and corrections. I plan to update the documents from time to time and post the newest version here. Please continue to send me your suggestions. By the way, the Menifee County Library has a copy of the FHS Athletics history and of the Growing up with Buck document.

Just click on the titles below to have the documents downloaded in .pdf format for reading. The downloads may take a couple of minutes, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

FHS Athletics – Describes the history of athletics at Frenchburg School, the Presbyterian Mission-run school in Frenchburg, Ky, from opening (1910) to closing (1957). More and better pictures are needed in addition to expanded descriptions of the results of some seasons. I would be pleased to receive your inputs and will use them to update this document.

Buck (11-07-10) – Story of growing up with my friend Buck Lyons and of his Army service in WWII.

A YEAR IN RHEIMS (03-02-09) – Description of the year of my Army service (1946) spent in Rheims, France.