Friday, September 23, 2011

Head Count

Since the Holy Month of Ramadan was last month, executions were in abeyance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. I expect things to change next month.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alligator Diesel

A researcher at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette is proposing that alligator fat is an ideal feed stock for conversion to biodiesel. Evidently, the high lipid content of alligator fat makes it a better candidate than other animal lards. The information on the paper and its abstract is below.

Potential of Alligator Fat as Source of Lipids for Biodiesel Production
Srividya Ayalasomayajula
Ramalingam Subramaniam
August Gallo
Stephen Dufreche
Mark Zappi
Rakesh Bajpai

Chemical Engineering Department and Chemistry Department
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Lafayette, Louisiana 70504
United States

Large amount of alligator fat (AF) is produced by alligator meat processing industry and disposed in landfills or discarded as waste. The AF can be used as a potential feedstock for biodiesel production due to its high lipid content. In this work, recovery of lipids from the AF tissue was studied by solvent extraction as well as by microwave rendering. Microwave rendering resulted in AF oil recovery of 61% by weight of the frozen AF tissue obtained from producers. The fatty acid profile of the lipid showed that palmitic acid (C16:0), palmitoleic acid (C16:1), and oleic acid (C18:1) were the dominant fatty acids accounting for 89–92% of all lipids by mass; 30% of the fatty acids were saturated and 70% were unsaturated. The biodiesel produced from AF oil was found to meet the ASTM specifications of biodiesel concerning kinematic viscosity, sulfur, free and total glycerin, flash point, cloud point, and acid number.

Currently, alligator fat is a waste byproduct from processing alligator skins. Approximately 15 million pounds (7,500 tons) is produced annually and disposed of in landfills. This amount of fat could produce 1.25 million gallons (29,762 Bbls) of biodiesel. This is about 1/50 (2%) of the amount of diesel fuel that is consumed in the State of Louisiana.

Me, I still prefer Alligator Sauce Piquant!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Battle of Trafalger - Updated to Today

"Order the signal, Hardy."
"Aye, aye sir."
"Hold on, that's not what I dictated to the signal officer. What's the meaning of this?"
"Sorry sir?"
"England expects every person to do his duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability. What gobbledygook is this?"
"Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."
"Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."
"Sorry sir. All naval vessels have been designated smoke-free working environments."
"In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle."
"The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."
"Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it. Full speed ahead."
"I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water."
"Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest, please."
"That won't be possible, sir."
"Health and safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness. And they said that rope ladder doesn't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."
"Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."
"He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo'c'sle Admiral."
"Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."
"Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."
"Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."
"Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."
"Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."
"A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without crash helmets. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?
"I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."
"The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."
"What? This is mutiny."
"It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of legal aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."
"Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"
"Actually,sir, we're not."
"We're not?"
"No, sir. The Frenchies and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."
"But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."
"I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-coordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary."
"You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King."
"Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules."
"Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"
As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu. And there's a ban on corporal punishment."
"What about sodomy?"
"I believe it's to be encouraged, sir."
"In that case ...kiss me, Hardy."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Knee Report - One Fortnight

Two weeks was the magic day for meeting milestones. First, the physical therapist pulled the staples on the incision and replaced them with strips of adhesive tape. I was finally able to take an honest to God shower. The staples were a source of continuous aggravation. They pulled when I moved the knee. If you put pressure on the incision, they stabbed you and if you put an ice pack on the knee, they acted as a conduit for cold right to the skin which was worse than the pain the ice was supposed to relieve.

After a shower, I went to the doc for a follow up. He declared me good and released me from out patient therapy. I also got to remove the pressure stockings I had to wear to prevent blood clots. I don't know how women stand pantyhose as those damn things were a pain in the butt.

Finally, I was able to get behind the wheel and drive!

The knee is not yet fully flexible but its at 85% and I expect to get fully there in about one month. But, it's back to a normal life - and the office.

Friday, September 9, 2011

8 Days

One week plus a day since going under the saw. Took a short walk outside (with the walker). I am having to unlearn several months of bad habits from favoring the bad knee. I have to concentrate on the proper form of my stride without rocking or limping. The walker provides security and gives me confidence. Also climbed the stairs today so I can finally sleep in my own bed instead of the sofa. I find I need the pain pills less and less and extend the times between taking them.

My physical therapist is a gunny. We talk guns while he's putting me through my paces.

I get the staples out next week. I can't wait as they are a source of aggravation..

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

5 Days

Able to take short walks using baby steps without the walker - enough to get to the bathroom to pee. Swelling is going down. Doing exercises to increase flexibility. The routine of leg bending machine, ice pack, exercise, repeat ad infinitum is getting boring.

They tell me they will pull the staples next week. Then I will be able to take a real bath instead of a wipe down.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

72 Hour Report

About three days ago they put a mask over my face and told me to think of my favorite dream. When I woke up I had a partial knee replacement and my leg was strapped into a machine that slowly moved it back and forth. A few hours later they had me standing and even taking a few, very few, and painful steps. On day 2 they gave me a walker and told me to walk to the physical therapy room where I had to negotiate some stairs. They then gave me some pain pills and kicked me out of the hospital.

Now that I am home I am getting into the routine - knee machine two times a day for two hours each, pain pill every four hours, work on learning skills with the walker to move around the house, change dressing.....repeat as often as necessary.