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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Brass at Westminster

Our brass group will be playing at the Westminster SDA church tomorrow morning, with prelude starting at 10:45. See you there?

320 Crest Lane
Westminster, MD 21157

Monday, December 15, 2008

Recycling Electrons

I'm sure this has been done to death in high-school and college physics classrooms and labs around the world, and I'm showing my naivete by bringing it up again. But it strikes me that we're set up to use our electric potential very inefficiently.

To look at it one way, you could say that electrons flow from the ground into our houses, through our appliances and down the wire to whatever utility generates electrical potential for us. What bothers me is the perception that a stream of electrons will generally flow through only one appliance of mine on the way from ground to utility.

Many of my appliances have no need for the full potential available on the wire. Shouldn't there be some way to reuse the available current?

What I'm imagining is some kind of master router that would replace my circuit-breaker box. Rather than the hard-wired (literally) division of current between the various circuits in my house, this master router would manage the provision of potential among the various circuits, taking what comes back down the black wire and augmenting it to provided the needed current for the next circuit.

At its simplest, I think this would be like wiring lamps in series, instead of having all the circuits of my house wired essentially in parallel. And I'm not remembering if wiring in series would make the electric meter spin any more slowly.

If you could do this, would there be any reduction in my demands on the power company? Would it help if you could do something similar at each electric socket or switch?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sleepy ThinkPad

For the past several weeks I've been living with a ThinkPad annoyance: my T61 puts itself into stand-by mode whenever it gets too warm. Suggestions on keeping it cooler?

A Different Kind of Memory Problem

As I look back on brass rehearsal last night, I notice something unfamiliar: with two different topics, I had something in my mind, but not in my mental schedule.

In conversation, I mentioned that I would need to leave quickly (because I had another rehearsal to attend). But that need didn't "click" with me until nearly half an hour after rehearsal should have ended, when I suddenly "remembered" that I needed to be rushing out the door.

And on the way out the door, I mentioned to someone that we had brought three new, still-in-the-box music stands with us, but didn't remember until this morning that we needed to unbox and assemble them.

With two different topics, my "autopilot" was working with respect to having critical knowledge available for conversation, but it was broken as far as getting me to understand that I needed to act on that knowledge. I've never noticed this kind of discrepancy before.