Two gallon donor

Be nice to me.

Donated a pint O'Blood today and dragged along my nephew Andy who donated a pint as well. So two pints of O+ in the bank. Afterwards we retired to the restaurant for a steak dinner.
Train Traffic Cone

This week's adventure's

In two days I am off to my niece's PhD graduation in Clemson, South Carolina. This will take a minimum of 3 days for the trip. The graduation is on Thursday and I will head out Tuesday night and stay at my brother Walter's house in West Milton, Ohio (near Dayton), then finish the trip on Wednesday. I hope to get back late Friday or early Saturday. The annual cookie decorating party is at my place next Sunday afternoon and this old rumpled hermit needs to shovel out his house before the guests arrive.

In other news, I picked up a new Oxford World Atlas using a 25% off coupon at Barnes and Noble. It is the sort of book I can stare at for hours on end. It is also Very Heavy.

Yellowstone Park

On the way to NARAM, the national model rocket contest, my brother Dan and I took a short side trip to Yellowstone Park.

Here I am next to yellow stone by Yellowstone Falls:


More pictures beyond the cut.
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Egglofter, rockets

Light Bulbs and Ion Drive

On March 6, I went to Pittcon in Chicago's McCormick Place. Pittcon (originally the Pittsburg Conference) is a roving trade show for instrumentation. They also have seminars at exorbitant prices. However, Thursday was their free admission day, so that is when I went.

At one point, I visited the AirGas booth. They supply both industrial and laboratory gasses. We discussed the declining availability of helium from US supplies and the company's contract for future helium production in the Middle East. While on the topic of Noble Gasses, we touched on Argon being readily available at 1% of the atmosphere. We skipped Krypton (Sorry, Superman) and I learned that there will be a 2 year shortage of Xenon, the heaviest of the non-radioactive noble gasses.

It turns out that with the replacement of classic incandescent light bulbs, quartz-halogen, along with compact fluorescent and LED bulbs are an acceptable high efficiency replacement. The xenon is used as a carrier gas for the iodine used in quartz-halogen bulbs to redeposit tungsten to the filament in the high temperature and therefore more efficient bulbs. The AirGas guy told me that a requested order of xenon from one light bulb manufacturer was the entire world supply of xenon. There are no plans to expand production of xenon due to the high capital costs and expected limited duration of the shortfall.

Meanwhile, on the way to the asteroids Ceres and Vesta, the Dawn Spacecraft is powered by an ion drive that has been fueled with several hundred pounds of xenon.