Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Train Safety Update - after reviewing crash in Italy

Regarding this accident.
Official: 20 Dead in Head-On Train Crash in Southern Italy

I had another idea to improve train safety.  Before I get into it let me note that my last post referred to an mobile app for safety.  Also that I lived near a railroad crossing growing up and trains destroyed cars on three occasions near my house, twice happening to people we know.

So here is another technical safety idea.  Simply create a light weight robotic train scout that rides on the tracks far enough ahead to be able to report back any conditions that might require the train to stop.  The scout would have to be light and small and be able to stop rapidly in the event a car is on the railroad tracks but it would be designed to not be deadly if it did strike a car at a railroad crossing, or a pedestrian perhaps via airbags.  The robotic scout would report back:

  1. Live video feed for the conductor. (Imagine a herd of cattle on tracks)
  2. The track conditions, preventing derailment.
  3. That upcoming street crossing were clear and barriers were in place.
  4. That no other scout or train is heading straight for them.
  5.  And it could report conditions to a mobile phone app used by the passengers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Train Safety provided by Citizens through Mobile phone app.

Train safety cell phone app.
With a few minutes of research it appears to me a mobile phone app could have saved those people in the recent Philadelphia train crash, on 5/12/2015.  Amtrak already has a reservation app, they just need to program a gps speed monitor and link the app to a database of track speed limits.  Then simply put the cell phone number of the conductor and presto you have a crude safety net, as least as far as monitoring speed limits.  {In fact a car stuck on tracks could warn a train if they already had the app as well} If multiple phones report a speed violation and Amtrak HQ can not slow the train remotely the app issues a warning to the mobile phone owner to contact train personnel or to execute an emergency stop.

Here is the link, to the current 'Vital Positive Train Control' video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIsQuoFXwe4   and here is a link to the Amtrak app, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amtrak.rider&hl=en

This seems like an easy move to make at least until they get there professional grade system working everywhere.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Schmiege's Chimney Solution - for deep water Horizen type oil leaks.

I hope to attach my sketch later but for now I will write what I think is obvious and simple solution for containing the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from British Petroleum's disaster, called the Horizon deep water rig.

1. Don't stop or cap the leak, just keep it from mixing with the Gulf water.
2. Simply put a chimney over the leak.

* This is ideal as:
  1. Does not increase risk of natural earth cap rupturing further.
  2. Works at any depth.
  3. May work anywhere in the world problem arises.
Overview:  In the same way a household uses a chimney to guide the smoke through the house without letting it mix with all the air in the house. The pressure is equal or nearly so inside and out side the chimney.


The only question is how strong to build the chimney to survive the transitional forces in one mile of water in the gulf.  Now here we discuss options, this is where detailed engineering analysis should be taking place in the public discourse and designs submitted, but it's not.  Why, what is going on?

The most obvious solution which was not tried is, weld a new open valve over the pipe and then close the valve.  Or bolt it on.   If pressure can not be held then the chimney effect is all you can do.

The key here is that your guiding the oil and water together, not containing it by force in a tube under pressure.
When the oil reaches the surface it will begin to 'fill up' the top of the chimney, this is where one naturally draws off the oil and seawater mixture, while its necessary to suck up the mess the added benefit is that the top of the chimney can be built to act as a natural oil and water separator.
Now what to build it out of.
At first, the first few days after the spill when I thought of this solution (a solution that was so obvious that it would be implemented asap) I thought the lightest possible material for an emergency chimney was needed for expedience, I will get into this, however now having months to address they could have built the chimney out of concrete, steel, plastic and so on.

So the idea was to take the lightest strongest synthetic material, perhaps similar to a sail or parachute and rig a frame with wire rope and secure it in place over the leak.  One end would have a float the other strapped down over the leak.  The oil would flow up the tube, the tube would be a large enough diameter so there would never be any buildup of ice or anything else.  The tube could even be made in multiple overlapping sections so if one, 'got away' it did not take down the entire chimney.  Submarines, cables, tug boats and robots could hold the chimney vertical and in place while a more durable chimney was built.

Any amount of chimney helps reduce the amount of mixing between the gulf water and the oil, creating a denser patch for skimming from the top.

Final thoughts, in this day and age these failures are difficult and they are POLITICAL failures not engineering failures.  However the after the fact failure to coordinate a technology team is nearly unbelievable.  Nay I say it is unbelievable.  Where is the list of solutions on the web showing each proposed solution and it's pros and cons.  Where is the list of vetted engineers that serve on the committee evaluating this.  Where the *uck is NASA.  One of there mandates is to help companies develop technological solutions to their problems.  They got a robot on Mars but they cant help here?  What, they don't have the presidents number?

We need a worldwide emergency technical response team.  One that's disconnected from local, national and corporate politics.  One that's 100% transparent and online in real time.  With zero political control from any government.  What if we face a catastrophic meteorite, or a rogue nuke, or worldwide epidemic, all systems of technical organization will fail us.  We must develop new tools now before the next crisis.

Leonard Schmiege,
Disappointed Floridian

Hands Across the Sand - St. Pete Beach, FL

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Is not every human worth at least a web notation!

As a species we try or pretend to try to prevent the premature deaths of our members.

I suggest to help prevent death we must first track death.  As citizens we should also be aware of how are tax money is spent.  Therefore when the money is spent to kill someone this should be noted in the public record.  This should be important to those in favor as well as those against this use of tax money.

So for example we should have an index of those killed by our weapons in war.  We spend astronimical amounts of money to 'defend freedom' around the world.  It's absurd that we don't get an accounting from our military that we fund with about half our tax dollars.  How much does it cost per enemy killed?  How often did we waste ammo killing civilians?  Are we using a million dollar cruise missile to kill 2 bad guys when a marine could have done it for a days pay?  It doest not matter if your horrified by war or you are rooting for the most kills per buck you are entitled as a tax payer to the information.
I suggest from now on we don't accept the bullshit excuses from the military.  Instead we want the full name address, picture, next of kin where available and circumstances posted online.  If its a 19 year old Afgan at a wedding where stray bullets were fired, thats knocked out with a cruise missile or an entire enclave of Taliban terrorist leaders individually getting their throats slit by our finest special forces, we deserve to know.  We paid for it.  Can you image hiring people to kill for you and you ask, "how did it go?"  and they say, oh its going great we killed lots of bad guys.  "Really, who?", and how much have you spent so far and how many are left to kill before they give up?  I think you get the idea.
Where the military doesn't provide the data perhaps an NGO could.  Maybe we could even have a type of batting average score that is easy to understand.  Which generals have the best average, kills per dollar, plus combatants versus civilians.  Also since we're American tax payers now that Americans suspected of terrorism can be killed by executive order overseas those definitely need to be tracked.  Think about it, potentially American taxpayers overseas would actually be paying to have themselves killed.  Since their would be no trial the least we should expect from the government is a the military strike obituary mentioned above.

Follow up: (Could not find any sites showing most bang for buck on military strikes)
http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
http://www.alternet.org/world/123818/
http://skirsch.com/wm/TheRealEnemy.htm
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/02-7

Is it a Hoax? 'World Census' (should have been posted April 1)

A small web start up in St. Petersburg, Florida has decided to put an internet theory into action.


  1. Worlds societies are projected to collapse.  It will happen before you or your children die of natural causes.  It is now in your timeline of life, not just the kids or grandkids.  Our system of corporate democracy is failing to sustain the life that what we can all agree on.  If we continue on the current planned course, the shit hits the fan.
  2. Theory, using the internet we could coordinate all people of the world and devise a solution.  We can easily build the tools to do this.
  3. To build tools we need the network effect.  [We have the Chicken and egg problem?]  Need to coordinate billions to be counted and be uniquly identitified.  They, you, may be able to do as little as read one email per month and vote, or default your voting to a chosen proxy holder.
  4. Once we have 100 million participants at $1 each.  We can build with the hundred million dollars the web  tools required to coordinate and save ourselves.

* Action:  In the meantime Floridians may join www.ShadowVote.org, an project to localize and test this concept in Florida.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

World Court rules: All energy patents now in Public Domain.

Imagine that the heading of this post were true.

Regarding the news surrounding the Copenhagen conference today, Dec 12, 2009 as reviewed by me on www.democracynow.org.

Apparently there is a secret plan b, whereby the developed nations get 2x as much allowed pollution per person in 2050.

I suggest plan C:
Realizing that the lead polluter was the United States, and that our debt is the largest. Also that counties reserve the right to contain or keep patents under wraps in the interest of National Security. I suggest flipping the scenario:

The United States public domain all energy patents in the interest of world peace and security.
If needed we compensate those that have there patents taken.

Climate debt is for real, and we Americans owe a shitload. If we simply get lucky enough to negotiate to pay for half of what we owe, imagine how much that is. Imagine every mile you drive, having to pay x dollars, maybe 5x what you paid for the gas for sequestration of the pollution you output. Now also imagine paying that for all the gas, electricity, etc. that you have ever used your entire life. Now hear this, you OWE that debt. And the richer and more resource you used the more you owe...

If I was the developing world I think I would sue in the world court. Because they could get a judgment passed for damages. Since the USA probably would not pay the damages, the court could award damages that could be collected without cooperation from the USA. The court could award the rights to all the necessary intellectual property that's protected under international patent and trademark law. For sure stuff relating to energy but also the protections for AIDS medicines would be cleared for use by developing nations. Virtually everything the first world has ever developed that can be taken without force should be used. If this threatens future intellectual property development, then governments or the UN could give a cash award to the creators of the intellectual property that was effectively eminently domained. Also these projects could be and I think should be continued in an open source way instead of with the for profit model. When it comes to saving the earth, or at a minimum, millions of lives, our current for profit incentive system of intellectual property development has not been effective what so ever, in fact its what caused vast amounts of damage.

Where is the public domain blueprints of the most efficient internal combustion engine in the world? Where is the open franchise system for solar panel development? Where is the open and free design for the worlds most practical solar hot water heater?

Are we to tell developing nations that have almost nothing compared to us that they must pay to get into the modern game?