Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reset our thinking?

Which do you think has more value to us as a nation? A growth industry that saves lives, uses high tech equipment made in the USA or another growth industry that is degenerative to human lives and uses high tech equipment manufactured in China? Perhaps that's stated a bit strongly, but how else can I make my point? We get all up tight when health care grows and takes a bigger share of the gross national product. We run out and buy stock when we find out that electronic entertainment or video games are selling off the shelves at Xmas. Why do we go nuts and look for "solutions to the problem" when health care spending goes up, and glow with stock market happiness when entertainment expenses go up? Why do we see health care growth as a negative and brain numbing games as a positive. I think we need to push the reset button on our thinking. If video games were provided by the government from our taxes the same way that liberals propose to provide health care, maybe we'd have a federal death panel in charge of video games usage.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Congress of Birds = Super Committee

On the day the Super Committee of the US CONgress (opposite of PROgress :^) failed to reach a compromise on solving the US Debt Crisis, another kind of Congress, birds of a different feather, gathered in, around, and over the pond behind my home in The Villages, FL.

The special gathering of birds seems to have been initiated a day or two ago when there was a heavy rain. That event seems to have stirred something up that attracted lots of birds to our pond.

Click on the YouTube video and enjoy.

Ira Glickstein

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Clean Coal - Sustainable Power/Food Concept

I presented a forward-looking Sustainable Power/Food Concept based on Clean Coal technology at the Science/Technology Club, The Villages, FL, on 10 November 2011 and at the Bridgeport Men's Club on 15 November. You may download my PowerPoint Show HERE. This presentation is based on my postings at Watts Up WIth That?, the world's most popular climate Blog, HERE and HERE. The basic idea is to utililize the Clean Coal concept of Coal to Gas (CTG) and/or Coal to Liquid (CTL), extracting coal energy toally underground without mining. The CTG (or CTL) is piped underground to a Clean Coal powerplant where the CO2 effluent is captured. Instead of the (IMHO insane) concept of sequestering the CO2 underground in old oil wells, my concept pipes the CO2 to enhanced-CO2 greenhouses, where it is used to grow food crops far more quickly and efficiently than ordinary free-air farming. The cellulose waste products from the food crop are processed into methane (CH4) and recycled as fuel into the Clean Coal Powerplant. In addition, food and industrial waste (biomass) from nearby towns and cities is also recycled into methane, providing further power.
Ira Glickstein

Thursday, November 3, 2011

David Hume - History of England

I presented "David Hume - History of England" at the Philosophy Club of the Villages on 4 November 2011. THANKS to all who attended and made well-thought out comments.

You may download a copy of my Powerpoint show here: HERE

David Hume was born in Scotland (1711) and lived there and in England for most of his life. He published the first volume of his History of England in 1754. He published additional volumes in the years following. Hume died in 1776.


1. David Hume and Adam Smith

  • His sanguine life and stoic death
2. Early History of England
  • Britons (prior to ~43 BC)
  • Roman Rule (~43 BC)
  • Saxon Invasion (~450 AD)
  • Danish Invasion (~980 AD)
  • Norman Conquest (~1050 AD)
3. Jewish References (~1100-1290AD)

Ira Glickstein

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Raising Cain

[from billlifka - images added by Ira. (Neither Ira nor billlifka specifically endorse any candidate in this posting)]
At the moment, many of the national polls rank Herman Cain highest among those campaigning to become the Republican candidate for the presidency. It’s still two months before the earliest presidential primaries so the polls have questionable value. Nevertheless, Cain is so unusual, in comparison to the others, that his current popularity is amazing. He is different mainly in his not being a career politician and this may be a major reason for his appeal. There are other reasons.
Both of Cain’s parents are African-American. They were poor and worked hard to raise a family. The mother was a cleaning woman and the father was a janitor, barber and, eventually, chauffeur to the president of Coca Cola. Herman was educated in segregated schools. He received a B.S. from Morehouse College in Mathematics with a minor in physics. His Masters is in Computer Science from Purdue University. He holds eight honorary degrees from various universities.
Cain was a (civilian) ballistics analyst for the U.S. Navy. At Coca Cola, he worked his way up to become its top IT executive. Recruited by Pillsbury, he managed a 400 store Burger King region near Philadelphia from least to most profitable. Assigned CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Pillsbury’s subsidiary, he improved its performance and led a leveraged buyout, continuing as its CEO. He was CEO of the National Restaurant Association. On behalf of that organization, he debated Bill Clinton on his Universal Healthcare Bill in a Kansas City town hall meeting; it was judged to be a Cain win. He served on the board of directors (and, later, its chairman) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He has served on the boards of eight corporations and one bank. This is the man who Hillary Clinton demeaned as a pizza man. She remembers who spiked her health plan.
Cain has lived all over the country, because of his career. He’s been married for 43 years and has two children and three grandchildren. He was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, metastases in his liver. With a 30% survival prognosis, he underwent surgery and chemotherapy. After five years, he has remained cancer-free. He’s assistant pastor at his Baptist Church. He’s been a talk radio host and a syndicated columnist. Most people would admit this guy is pretty impressive.
The problem with Cain is he came late to the campaign party without an organization for fund raising and campaign operations. Without massive funding, a modern political campaign is at a huge disadvantage, perhaps hopelessly so. On the other hand, the Tea Party really likes him. The good news is the Tea Party has great influence. The bad news is it’s very loosely organized, also. Unless Cain shows up well in the early state primaries, he’s toast. That would be unfortunate; he is a good comparison to the other Republicans and would be an effective opponent to Obama.
As the currently leading Republican prospect, Cain is the target of most criticism. His 9-9-9 tax plan is torn apart by many in both political parties. No doubt some valid criticisms will emerge, eventually, but not so far. Arthur B. Laffer, a credible, well known economist, gives the plan high marks. Newt Gingrich, another prospective Republican Presidential Candidate praises Cain for his boldness in coming forth with a useful idea while others just carp about the situation. The other main criticism of Cain is lack of international experience. Cain believes America should name its friends and its enemies and treat its friends like friends. That’s refreshingly original.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"NO SHUCKS" silk-free corn-on-the-cob, quick and easy

For years, I've paid extra to buy corn-on-the-cob with the husk removed, or spent time shucking the corn and tossing the husks in the garbage can. And, despite best efforts, there is always that odd silk thread or two that remains behind pretending to be tooth floss!

No more! As the You Tube video shows (click image above to view), there is a much, much, MUCH easier way!

How did you get along for years without this knowledge? I have no idea.

I've loved corn-on-the-cob since I was a kid 70-odd years ago. Heck, when we had a young family of our own, and grew our own corn on a "gentleman's farm" in upstate New York, we'd get the water boiling before we picked the corn, and then shuck and toss the cobs in. Delicious!

With the advent of microwave ovens, I've wrapped the shucked corn in moist napkins, and then nuked it that way.

But, always, always, ALWAYS, it has taken considerable effort (or cost) to shuck it before cooking.

Well, thanks to Nancy, my water aerobics instructor, who put me on to this "NO SHUCKS" silk-free method last week, I will never shuck a raw ear of corn again.

Here is how to do it:

1) Take one or more the ears of corn, exactly as you purchased them in the super-market or picked them in the field, and place them in the microwave.
2) Set the timer for 3-4 minutes per ear, depending upon the size.
3) Holding a hot ear of corn with gloves or a dish towel, remove the lower part by cutting completely through the husk and cob. You will have to sacrifice about a quarter-inch of corn when you do this.
4) Grasp the ear from the tassel end, and shake it a few times, to loosen the husk.
5) The absolutely clean cob - totally silk-free - will emerge and drop right onto the plate (in some cases, you might have to grasp the cob and give it a little pull).
6) The only waste will be the part you cut off, plus the husk - with ALL the silk still inside - which will all be in one neat piece instead of an unruly mess of vegetation.


Ira Glickstein

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs RIP - Our first and most recent Apples

My wife and I invested $5,000 in one of the first 3000 Apple II computers back in 1978 (about $20,000 in 2011 dollars).

<< Magazine ad shows Apple II using a TV set as a display, as we did. The inset photo shows Steve Wozniak, the self-taught computer engineer, and Steve Jobs, the visionary, with one of the first Apple II computers.

This year, I paid a fraction of that for my Apple iPad2.

<< Me with my Apple iPad2 (photo taken with the very same iPad2). Steve Jobs in one of his last appearances announcing future developments for the iPad tablet computers.

Our 1978 investment brought fantastic rewards. As a result of our Apple II, Vi became interested in computers, earned a Masters Degree in Computer Science, taught at Binghamton University for a year, and then had a very successful professional career as a team leader for Special Forces helicopter software at IBM and Lockheed Martin.

I brought my Apple II (in a good-size suitcase) to IBM and used it while teaching a course there.

As a result, when the original IBM PC1 was introduced, I got the first one delivered to the IBM facility in Owego and introduced it to the other engineers. I have written thousands of lines of computer code for the Apple II and the IBM PC, and, although IBM never paid me for writing code, I believe that my Apple II and IBM PC computer expertise was largely responsible for my success in conceptualizing advanced automation for avionics systems.

As the life and contributions of Steve Jobs were being celebrated on all the TV news programs and newspapers today, I could not help but add my thanks to this American Original. Every time I use my iPad2, I marvel at the concept and the execution of a wonderful product no one knew we needed a couple years ago. It has become my constant companion. I use it as a camera, web surfer, email communicator, video viewer, book reader, game player, and so, so much more.

So, Steve Jobs - rest in peace. And THANKS! Your contributions changed the world - and my life - and will be remembered forever.

Ira Glickstein

PS: Had we invested that $5,000 in Apple stock in 1978, what would it have been worth today? OY!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gore-linked Video Fakes Climate Science


CLIMATE 101 from The Climate Reality Project on Vimeo.

The above video includes a supposed "high school physics" experiment that has been shown to be an edited video fake by Watts Up With That? (WUWT)

Last week, while I was in Brugge, Belgium, near the end of my bike and barge trip from Brussels, I received an email from Anthony Watts (owner of WUWT) with a link to a review version of the above exposure of the Gore-linked fake, asking for my comments. As I sat in the Brugge Markt, using a a free WiFi link, I was amazed and pleased to see that Anthony had used one of my graphics in his posting to explain the "Greenhouse effect". (To see it, click on Watts Up With That? (WUWT) and then scroll way down to just beyond the image of the INFRARED HEAT LAMP and you will see the animated graphic credited to me.)

As I read Anthony's posting, which reveals that the supposed "high school physics" experiment in the video was obviously faked, I thought immediately of how Dan Rather got into trouble when he broadcast images of a letter about George Bush's military record that included a superscript "th" that proved conclusively the letter had not been typed in the year it was supposedly prepared, and was therefore a fake. Rather lost his job and reputation. I hope the same happens to Al Gore for being asociated with this type of easily proven fakery.

Ira Glickstein

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Federal Regulation vs American Businesses

[from billlifka] There’s much debate over federal regulation becoming ever more intrusive, more unreasonable and more damaging to the economy. I agree with those who believe the federal bureaucrats have far exceeded their missions and have violated the constitution by usurping powers of Congress. Liberals (progressives) have been attacking the private sector for over a century. Their goal is a socialistic America. Consider my personal experience twenty six years ago. It’s only one of many similar happenings.

At the time, I was engaged in restoring a troubled company. Despite its negative cash flow, this company had a number of commendable characteristics. Having a few less than 500 employees, it was considered to be a “small business”. Small businesses are the real source of employment growth and for other reasons, also, the federal government was trying, in 1985, to encourage small businesses. Another federal goal was to reduce an imbalance of trade caused by much greater imports than exports. This company exported 35% of its products; well above average.

Both federal and state governments encouraged employment of minorities (translate this to be African-Americans) and especially those in pockets of poverty, like inner cities. The company was adjacent to Bridgeport, CT, with its large population of poor blacks. The company employed many of them in electronic assembly. This was not at minimum wage but competitive and union-negotiated hourly rates. Another federal concern, back then, was “Japan Inc. eating our lunch”, especially in the electronic industries. The company was leading all Japanese producers of its product, combined, in market share. (It shared the lead with the subsidiary of a huge American corporation.) The bottom line is that this small company deserved federal support, not its grief.

The company had two export licenses: one for trade and one for samples. The first was for items sold and the other for demonstration product which, eventually, would be returned or destroyed. In the company’s regular review of paperwork, it discovered that a small shipment (about three thousand dollars) had been filed under the sample license, mistakenly. The company reported this to the local Commerce Department office, within a few weeks of the mistake. Nothing was heard from Commerce for over six months. This wasn’t surprising. It was like not feeding a parking meter and showing up at city hall a few weeks later, voluntarily, to pay the dollar owed.

Without warning or discussion, Commerce cancelled the company’s export licenses, fined it $5 million (Like killing flies with a howitzer.) and spread the news to the company’s customers and distributors in federal publications. The company couldn’t raise $5 million or survive losing one third of its business. It appealed the ruling. The accuser was a young, black, female lawyer at Commerce who would not back down a penny. As far as she was concerned, the company was a typically rotten corporation better dead than alive. Her supervisor was empathetic, but powerless for fear of his underling’s political position. Eventually, the company had its U.S. Senator exert his clout; the licenses were restored and the fine reduced to $50K, less than cost of legal fees to continue the fight. That’s one example of regulatory action that is killing American businesses. Cost of filing compliance reports is worse. Over-regulation is a major factor in unemployment.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Score One for the Internet

The other day I was at the clinic to have blood drawn for some tests. I told the young lady poking me with a needle that the blood culture had to be done for 21 days rather than the usual 3 days in order to detect brucellosis. She said that she saw brucella on the order but nothing about 30 days. I insisted that it was necessary, because brucella is hard to detect. I had read that on the internet. She had never heard of brucella, but she went to ask the the microbiologist. When she returned, she said, "Score one for the internet. We would have thrown out the culture after 3 days."

There are only 200 cases of brucellosis in the US. The point is that health care can be improved if the public is educated about how to do internet research properly. My own doctor has never seen a case, although he learned about the disease in medical school. Doctors find patient research on the internet to be annoying, but when done right, patients can contribute to their own diagnosis.

What would you say are the key features of useful amateur internet research?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Global Warming Debate

I participated in a Joint Presentation on Global Warming at the Science-Technology Club, The Villages, FL, on 08 September 2011. My friend Bob Miller was on the AFFIRMATIVE side, which maintains that Global Warming due to unprecedented use of fossil fuels DOES constitute a substantial, near-term danger to human civilization on Earth. I took the NEGATIVE side that it DOES NOT.

Our combined PowerPoint chart set is available for anyone to download at Please use SLIDE SHOW mode to view the presentation because some of the charts are animated.

As indicated in the second graphic above, the debate follows the traditional 1858 Lincoln and Douglas debate format. (The photos show Bob in his younger days and me before I grew my beard :^).

The main difference in the format is that an Audience Participation Question and Comment period has been added between the initial presentations by each side and the rebuttal presentations.

To keep this debate on track, and prevent it from degenerating into a pointless argument about whether the so-called "Greenhouse effect" is real (it is), whether the Earth has been warming over the past century (it has) and, whether humans have any role in that warming (we do), both participants have agreed to the stipulations listed in the third graphic.

In short, we both agree that the "Greenhouse Effect" is real and rising CO2 levels do contribute to that effect, that it has indeed warmed, and that humans actions have some responsibility for the warming.

That leaves the much more important questions for debate:

  • How much has the Earth actually warmed over the past century?
  • How much of that is due to human activities, primarily rising CO2 levels?
  • Does the temperature rise pose any substantial, near-term danger to human civilization?
  • What, if any, drastic action is required to ameliorate human-caused Global Warming?

Ira Glickstein

Thursday, August 25, 2011

GUILTY - Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

This posting is based on a presentation given to the Philosophy Club, The Villages, FL, on 26 August 2011.

The PowerPoint slides may be downloaded here.


In CIVIL cases, where one person or organization is suing another, the standard is Preponderance of the Evidence, meaning that the winning side must tip the scale of justice by at least a little bit.

In CRIMINAL cases, where The State charges an individual, the standard is much higher. It is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, meaning The State has a very high burden of proof, reflecting the seriousness of the charge and the potential punishment.

In the past, the phrase "and to a moral certainty" has been used, but it is no longer used in NY and NJ and some other states because it is "outdated and potentially confusing". Indeed, some people interpret the standard to essentially require that the judge and jury find the defendant guilty beyond all doubt, which is an impossible task in many crimes.

According to the Federal Judicial Center:

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you firmly convinced of the defendant's guilt.
There are very few things in this world that we know with absolute certainty, and in criminal cases the law does not require proof that overcomes every possible doubt.
If, based on your consideration of the evidence, you are firmly convinced that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged, you must find him guilty.
If on the other hand, you think there is a real possibility that he is not guilty, you must give him the benefit of the doubt and find him not guilty.


In the well publicized OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony cases, many of us think the jury acted in error in finding the defendants not guilty.

OJ was rich enough to hire an excellent defense team. His celebrity and race appears to have led to what is called "jury nullification" where evidence is ignored in favor of some higher considerations. In this case, it was an ill-considered effort to correct past and ongoing discrimination by the US justice system against poor people in general an African-Americans in particular by releasing a rich man who, despite his race, has done very well in our country.

Casey Anthony, on the other hand, was neither rich nor black, but she was young and (to some) good-looking, and the unusual nature of the crime she was charged with and her bizarre actions after the death of her daughter attracted media attention. The State (IMHO) over-charged her by going for first-degree murder. No one (but Casey) may ever know exactly what happened, but I believe she was not guilty of pre-meditated murder but only of horribly negligent actions that led to her daughter's demise. I think she over-medicated the child with chloroform, to quiet her so she would be free to go out on the town.


Part of the problem is the unreasonably high level of expectation of proof juries have come to expect based on their experience watching crime programs such as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) on TV. In many of those programs, the evidence is solidly physical and overwhelming. Juries therefore have a tough time with circumstantial evidence.


If a guilty person is mistakenly acquitted, he or she will likely recidivate and commit further crimes, condemning innocent civilians to becoming victims of crimes.
Many wrongly convicted defendants have bad past records. They are most likely guilty of something.
Not-guilty verdicts reduce respect for and fear of the police force, and thus are detrimental to public safety.


If an innocent is wrongly convicted,then the cops stop looking for the actual criminal. He or she is still free, posing a danger of further crime.
A guilty person mistakenly acquitted is likely to be re-arrested for further crimes and eventually will be jailed, and justice done.
» A guilty verdict in a highly charged case (e.g., O.J. Simpson) may cause riots. Better to let one killer go free than to have more innocents die.
Many defendants are poor and have been abused by their families and society. Their crimes are a cry for help. Forgive them!
A guilty person may escape justice on Earth, but will be severely punished in the afterlife. God’s justice will be done.


Within six years of release, after serving their term in prison, over 70% of convicted criminals will be arrested for a crime, and an astounding 50% will be convicted of another crime. Recidivism rates are higher for those released at younger ages. Thus, given that convicts have high recidivism rates, it stands to reason that criminals who get away with their crimes (either by not being arrested or, if arrested, being found not guilty by the jury), will have even higher recidivism rates since they are generally younger.

The graphic at the head of this posting shows the consequences.

1) Given ten murderers in a community, there are likely to be about twenty victims (since many murders involve more than one victim).

2) Violent crimes tend to be cleared by arrest at a rate of about 60% for murder. (Other violent crimes have clearance rates that are much lower, such as about 25% for rape. Non-violent crimes have even lower clearance rates, below 20% for theft and burglary.)

3) Thus, only about six of our ten murderers will be arrested and charged. Conviction rates are about 80%, so only about five of those six charged will be convicted and jailed.

4) This failure of justice leaves five murders out on the street, and they are likely to commit an additional ten murders.

5) Furthermore, when the jailed murders are released after serving their sentences, come of them will likely recidivate, leading to even more dead people.

Please consider the above if you even have the opportunity to serve on a jury!

Ira Glickstein

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Heinz Jaffee and His Historical Bracelet

An amazing chapter has been added to the eventful life of my friend Heinz Jaffee who I originally wrote about four years ago.

Through the kindness of a stranger in Germany, a bracelet he lost during WWII was returned to him, some 60 years after he lost it while fighting the Nazis. Our local newspaper The Villages Daily Sun published the bracelet story today:

It’s been more than 60 years since Heinz Jaffe was injured while fighting against the Nazis in World War II.

Now 88 and living in The Villages, Jaffe’s reminder of that time lies in the Purple Heart and two Bronze Star medals he keeps in their case and, of course, the memories that over time have refused to fade.

“Those memories are ingrained in me,” the Village of Mallory Square resident said. “I remember my war years. It was an experience that you just don’t forget.”

Recently, Jaffe was given back a tangible piece of that history: an ID bracelet he wore, and lost, while fighting in the war.

The gift came from a stranger some 6,000 miles away who spent years trying to return the simple bracelet to its owner.

“It’s an unbelievable story,” Jaffe said.

... a recent phone call from his sister-in-law in New Jersey brought back a wartime memory that Jaffe had long since dismissed.

One day out of the blue, Jaffe’s sister-in-law received a call from a Birgit Heuser in Germany, who was looking for the owner of an ID bracelet with the engraving “Heinz A. Jaffe 32915458.”

The stranger was then connected by phone with a shocked Jaffe, who gave her his address and anxiously waited to receive the bracelet which he believed he lost when he was injured crossing that river so many years ago.

“I definitely remember the bracelet,” he said. “I don’t remember having lost it but I do remember that bracelet.”

According to Heuser’s letter, from 1944 until the end of the war, her grandparents and their children were evacuated from their home in a village about six miles from where Jaffe fought and was eventually injured.

When Heuser’s family were able to return home, a 12-year-old boy who would grow up to be her father found several items from the war, according to the letter, including some clothes of American soldiers and two ID bracelets.

In the letter, Heuser writes that her parents tried several times to get more information about the owners of the items but to no avail. However, they never parted with their discoveries, choosing to keep them in a small basket.

Decades later, Heuser came across the historic items and decided to further investigate the names on the bracelet.

A couple of clicks of the mouse and she was able to locate Jaffe and mail him back his long-lost bracelet.

Although Jaffe cannot remember exactly where or from whom he received the bracelet, there was no denying his name and Army serial number etched in the bracelet which, other than a broken clasp, has remained perfectly intact.

All these years later, Jaffe said it’s hard to express what seeing the bracelet again means to him.

“It’s hard to explain, but it’s something from my past.” he said.

Jaffe said he is thankful to Heuser and her family for not only holding on to the bracelet for so long but for also taking the time to track him down and give him back a piece of his history.

My 2007 blog posting included an account written by Heinz for the D-Day Museum in New Orleans in 2001. The photo to the left was taken during his time in the US Army.

Heinz was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1923 and Bar Mitzvah there in 1936, during the terrible rise of the Nazis. As a young teen, he was sent to the US where, several years later, Heinz earned his US citizenship as a soldier. He fought in WWII and survived a combat war injury. You can read the whole account here. Highlights follow:
... I was assigned to Company B, 12th Engineers Combat Battalion, 8th Infantry Division. After a short training period with my new outfit, we embarked on a Liberty ship for the beaches of Normandy. The trip took about a week and the weather was beautiful. We spent most of our time sunbathing on deck. We arrived at the beach on either July 4th or 5th. We climbed down the side of the ship on nets into landing crafts that took us close to shore and we had to wade the rest of the way. This was similar to the situation on D-day, except no one was shooting at us! We relieved the 82nd Airborne which had dropped behind the German lines the night of D-day. They had taken tremendous casualties and were pretty shell-shocked. I watched them deliberately run over bodies of Germans with their Jeeps. War will do this to people.

While relieving the 82nd, I experienced my first artillery fire. I dove into the nearest hole and can still hear the laughter of the veterans as they told us it was outgoing mail, not incoming. One of our batteries had opened fire from right behind us! It didn't take us long to learn the difference!

Below are listed some of the war stories that I experienced and will never forget.

1. Gas Attack.

One night I was on guard duty about a half mile from where we were camped out for the night. In the middle of the night my partner and I heard people yelling off in the distance. The yelling got louder and nearer and we finally heard the word GAS! We had gas masks, but they were safely stored in our trucks in the camp area. We briefly discussed what to do and then decided to abandon our post and run for our masks. The run was all uphill and I ran out of breath about halfway there and decided gas or no gas, I couldn't run any further. It turned out the Germans had fired some phosgene shells which set off a gas alarm throughout the beachhead. No one ever said anything to us about leaving our post, which of course is a court martial offense.

2. Roadblock.

The Allied Armies broke out of the beachhead and most headed east toward Paris and Germany. The 8th Division however, headed west towards the Brittany Peninsula and the city of Brest. A major U- Boat base was located there and had to be neutralized to protect our ships in the Atlantic. One day at the outskirts of Brest we were called upon to remove a roadblock that was holding up the attack. It so happened that some of our troops had just liberated a wine warehouse. There was lots of wine around and we had our share of it. As we approached the roadblock, the Germans opened up with sniper and machine gun fire to keep us from removing it. Feeling pretty heroic, a few of us at a time ran to the roadblock and removed portions of it until the fire got too heavy. None of us were hit and we eventually removed the roadblock. We were rewarded with a Bronze Star for our heroism. In retrospect, I have no doubt our heroism came out of a bottle!

3. Luxembourg.

In late November of 1944 we had long since left the Brest area and driven across France to the main front. On the way we drove through Paris shortly after it was liberated and our platoon leader deliberately got us lost so we could see more of the city. The inhabitants of Paris welcomed us with flowers and wine, but we were forbidden to leave our trucks and so had no close encounters with the people.

One day we were in a village in Luxembourg when the Germans unleashed an artillery barrage on us. One of our sergeants yelled at me to jump into a jeep and move it to the back of a building for better protection. When I told him I could not drive, he could not believe that an American soldier could not drive a car! However, I had grown up in a city and my family didn't own a car and I had not learned to drive one.

4. Minefield.

Shortly after the Battle of the Bulge our platoon was called upon one evening to go to the front and try to get wounded soldiers out of a minefield they had entered during that day's attack. We got there after darkness had set in and could do nothing until daylight arrived. It was not possible to clear anti-personnel mines in the dark. All through the night we heard the soldiers calling for help and it was apparent that some didn't make it through the night. Listening to their cries for help all night and unable to do anything was a terrible experience. The next morning we went in and cleared paths to all the soldiers that survived and helped to get them out

5. The Enemy.

One night we were up front with the infantry and it was bitterly cold. I spent the night in a foxhole with nothing but my uniform and my topcoat. Waking up after a restless night, I had great difficulty straightening my legs because they seemed to be frozen. Fortunately, I managed to get the circulation going and they were all right.

Shortly after daylight we saw two German soldiers leave their fox hole and run toward their line several hundred yards away. Some of our guys opened fire upon them, but didn't hit them and they disappeared over a hill. These were the only German soldiers other then those wounded, dead, or captured that I saw during nine months of combat! I also never fired my gun during all that time.

6. Roadblock #2.

This next incident happened in January 1945 somewhere in Germany west of the Rhine River. We were called up to the front lines and asked to remove a roadblock. It consisted of one of our tanks that had been hit and was blocking a road needed for the next day's tank attack. Our plan was to use some dynamite and blast it off the road. We were told that the road was clear and there were no Germans around. The road was bordered by open fields except that a wooded area started on one side right about where the disabled tank was. We started down the road in broad daylight toward the tank. Just as we approached it a German machine gun opened up on us from the corner of the woods. Fortunately it missed all of us and we dove into the ditches on each side of the road. My first thought was I hoped the ditches weren't mined. My next concern was whether the machine gun could traverse along the ditch. We were lucky and safely made it back to our starting place. We were then told to try again after it got dark. We were also told that the machine gun nest would be eliminated. Based on what had happened earlier, I am not sure that was very reassuring to us!

After dark we started down the road again. I remember carrying a case of dynamite on my shoulder, but no rifle. I felt kind of naked! We got to the tank and my assignment together with another soldier was to go about fifty yards beyond the tank to remove some barbed wire that the Germans had stretched across the road. We carefully checked the wire for booby traps and started removing the wire when a loud explosion went off behind us. I first thought it was a mortar shell, but quickly realized I had not heard any shell coming in. We worked our way back to the tank and found that the guys placing the dynamite had set off a booby trap. Several members of our squad were wounded, including our platoon commander, Lt. Cohen. We managed to get all our wounded back to our lines and then went back down and blasted the tank off the road and removed the barbed wire. The Germans never bothered us that night, but it was a horrific experience nevertheless.

The next morning the tank attack started and almost immediately bogged down. I remember walking back to our trucks along the road lined with tanks with the rest of my squad and cursing at the men on the tanks for not going forward. I guess the experience of the night before left us less than understanding of their problems.

I, together with several others of my squad, received a Bronze Star for our efforts. This one I can say I deserved!

I never learned if our wounded comrades survived or not. In war, information is hard to come by.

7. My Last Battle.

In mid-February I found myself in the small town appropriately named Krauthausen. The town was divided by a river with all bridges across it destroyed. We were on the west bank of the river and the Germans on the east bank. The town was about 60 miles west of Aachen. The weather was cold and wet, but no snow.

An attack was planned and a night patrol was ordered to cross the river at night to learn something about the German positions. The river crossing was to be made by a small assault boat manned by three engineers and carrying a squad of infantry. This was the standard method for this type of operation.

I was not selected for this operation. The river current was very strong and the boat was swept downstream and never made it across. Fortunately, all occupants made it safely back to our side. The next night the operation was attempted again with the same result. The following night it was my turn to go.

I went with two of my buddies to the assembly area and met with a squad of infantry commanded by a 2nd Lieutenant. This time someone decided a small assault boat wouldn't do and they brought up an amphibious vehicle known as a Duck. It was operated by two African-American soldiers who had no idea that they were at the front and what they were being asked to do. One must remember the Army was not integrated in those days.

We were briefed and started toward the river in the Duck. It was pitch black and raining. As we left the main road the Duck got stuck in the mud! I remember thinking, great, we don't have to go. However, someone had the foresight to bring an assault boat along and we were going to attempt the river crossing in a way it had failed two nights in a row.

The standard way to approach the river was for the squad leader to lead the way followed by one of the Engineers carrying some of the paddles. The infantry men would carry the boat and the other two Engineers would bring up the rear with the rest of the paddles. The Lieutenant started toward the river and I followed at about twenty yards as the lead Engineer. I could not see the Lieutenant ahead of me in the dark, but caught up with him near the river. He had encountered some barbed wire and was attempting to remove it. I asked him to let me do it because I was trained to do this, specifically to watch for booby traps. However, he told me he would do it and I turned around to stop the rest of the patrol from getting too close. Just as I turned away he set off a mine!

I was hit and fell to the ground. I did not feel any great pain, but had difficulty breathing. I heard the rest of the patrol drop the boat and hit the ground. I realized that the Lieutenant must have been hit also. Everything was quiet for a while, but I knew my buddies would come looking for me. I remember taking off my helmet and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible, but I still had difficulty breathing. Eventually my buddies reached the Lieutenant and me and started carrying us back to the road. They got hold of a jeep and we went off to the nearest aid station. I remember the Lieutenant lying next to me on the jeep, but I never knew how badly he was hurt or if he survived. I never even knew his name!

Upon arriving at the field hospital, I was operated upon immediately. I had never lost consciousness. I later learned the extend of my injuries. My right lung was punctured and collapsed. Several ribs were broken. My intestines and other organs were perforated, I had a deep flesh wound in my thigh, and the fingers on my right hand were injured. I am sure if I hadn't carried the paddles on my right shoulder and turned away just before the explosion, I might have had serious head injuries.

Luck was with me that night. The surgeon on duty, I believe his name was Major Satan, was a chest specialist from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. I remember as they cut my clothes off that the nurses were kidding me because my feet were so dirty. The fact that I hadn't taken off my shoes and socks for days and slept in a coal cellar for protection from shelling probably had something to do with that!

I am pretty sure that the mine the Lieutenant set off was one of ours. First of all we were on our side of the river and the barbed wire was probably placed by us. Also, I saw an X-ray of my chest taken before any of the shrapnel had been removed and a piece in my lung looked like the corner of an American personnel mine.

8. The Road Back.

I spent about a week in the field hospital. During that time a Red Cross worker wrote a letter for me to my parents as my hand was bandaged and I was unable to write. I had never told my parents that I was in combat and always wrote as if I was still in England! The only one who knew the truth was my brother, who was serving in the Pacific Theater. That letter arrived home before the official notification from the War Department arrived! I am sure it saved my parents from the shock of receiving a telegram from the War Department. When it did arrive they already knew its content.

I was transferred by ambulance from the field hospital to a hospital in Liege, Belgium. Two weeks after that I again was transferred by ambulance to Paris. Unfortunately, I was in no condition to enjoy that great city! After one week I was flown to England to a military hospital that specialized in treating chest injuries. That was my first airplane flight! It was a C-46, the military version of the DC-3. It was outfitted to carry stretchers and had nurses aboard. I still remember that the landing was as smooth as any I experienced since. The pilot must have been specially trained to land a plane full of wounded soldiers!

I went through several more operations at the hospital and by May was an ambulatory patient. I became friends with two soldiers from the 101ST Airborne and the Rangers. For some reason we started to march through the wards and hallways of the hospital singing A duck must be somebody's friend to the tune of The Stars and Stripes Forever at the top of our voices! I think it was to wake everyone up in the morning. I also had the distinction of being the only one in the ward who did not have a drain tube in his chest.

There was great enjoyment at the hospital when the war in Europe ended in May of 1945. Shortly thereafter I left for home on the hospital ship "George Washington", arriving in Hoboken, NJ in mid-June. Walking off the ship I was handed a container of milk by the USO. I hadn't tasted fresh milk since I left the USA and it tasted terrific.

We went from the dock to a hospital in Staten Island before being sent to convalescent centers throughout the U.S. Since I lived in Newark, NJ, I was allowed to go home the next day for a reunion with my parents. I remember going to a restaurant with them that night and being the only one being served a steak because I was a wounded veteran.

The next day I was moved to Camp Upton on Long Island where I continued to recuperate until I was discharged in November 1945. While there, an announcement was made one Sunday morning that a bus was going to the Polo Grounds in NY for those of us who wanted to watch the NY Giants play football. We had special seats set up right behind the Giant's bench. This started my interest in professional football and I am still a Giants fan.

The Post War Years

The return to civilian life was not difficult. I went back to school under the G.I. Bill of Rights and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1949. I married my wife Betty in 1954 and we have two children, Linda and Peter. They have blessed us with four grandchildren that we love to visit. We pile up a lot of air miles as they live in Connecticut and Seattle!...
Thanks to Birgit Heuser in Germany and congratulations to Heinz for providing yet another chapter in his life story!

Ira Glickstein

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

micro Air Vehicles

Thanks to my neighbor Warren for the link to this great conceptual video about micro Air Vehicles. Almost makes me wish I was back at work conceptualizing automated avionics systems.

Ira Glickstein

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top Ten Heroes

[From Dr. Doris Branson, based on her presentation to the Philosophy Club, The Villages, FL. You may obtain download a copy of her Powerpoint slides here.]

Down through the ages since the beginning of the recorded word there existed the idea of a special type of entity called the hero. Man or woman; they exemplified that essence of the hope for the future.

The epic heroes of the Greeks and Romans are very different than the heroes of today but they still must have certain characteristic to fulfill the unconscious archetype of the hero. The slide show presented at the philosophy club reiterates the evolving hero in literature.

When I presented this to the Philosophy Club, discussion centered around the people that most exemplified heroes to the members. The range of the top ten heroes was most interesting and thoughtful. There was discussion about heroes for children today and do they have legitimate heroes. Some of the people selected as heroes ranged from ancient philosophers to politicians or religious leaders.

Selecting the top ten heroes is very personal. Who would your top ten heroes be and why? Please Comment!

Doris Branson

Monday, June 20, 2011

Edison, Tammany, Labor Relations, and Forward Pricing

When I was a teen, my contemporaries chased girls and worshiped sports stars. I did electrical experiments and my boyhood heroes were Thomas Alva Edison and Mr. Wizard!
In those days I was most interested in the technology behind Edison's clever inventions. I did not fully appreciate his real genius which was making them into commercially-successful, practical products the public needed and wanted to purchase. Nor did I realize the system engineering aspect of his work. His incandescent light bulb would have been useless had he not pioneered the electrification of Manhattan and other city centers.
I just read a book originally published in 1910 titled EDISON, HIS LIFE AND INVENTIONS By Frank Lewis Dyer (General Counsel For The Edison Laboratory and Allied Interests) and Thomas Commerford Martin (President of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers). The book is available free for the iPad at the iTunes store, or may be downloaded to your PC from this link:

Here are some highlights with which you may not be familiar:

1) Government Inspectors

To electrify the downtown area of New York City, Edison had to bury miles of copper wires encased in iron pipes. That required the permission of the city government, controlled by the corrupt Tammany Hall political machine. Then, as now, the politicians claimed to be looking out for the safety of the public. However, as Edison tells the story, all they really wanted was pay-offs.
"When I was laying tubes in the streets of New York, the office received notice from the Commissioner of Public Works to appear at his office at a certain hour. I went up there with a gentleman to see the Commissioner, H. O. Thompson. On arrival he said to me: 'You are putting down these tubes. The Department of Public Works requires that you should have five inspectors to look after this work, and that their salary shall be $5 per day, payable at the end of each week. Good-morning.' I went out very much crestfallen, thinking I would be delayed and harassed in the work which I was anxious to finish, and was doing night and day. We watched patiently for those inspectors to appear. The only appearance they made was to draw their pay Saturday afternoon."
2)  Trading Jobs for Tammany Favors

The corrupt Tammany Hall machine allowed businesses to violate zoning regulations in return for jobs for their supporters.
"The street was lined with rather old buildings and poor tenements. We had not much frontage. As our business increased enormously, our quarters became too small, so we saw the district Tammany leader and asked him if we could not store castings and other things on the sidewalk. He gave us permission--told us to go ahead, and he would see it was all right. The only thing he required for this was that when a man was sent with a note from him asking us to give him a job, he was to be put on. We had a hand-laborer foreman--'Big Jim'--a very powerful Irishman, who could lift above half a ton. When one of the Tammany aspirants appeared, he was told to go right to work at $1.50 per day. The next day he was told off to lift a certain piece, and if the man could not lift it he was discharged. That made the Tammany man all safe. Jim could pick the piece up easily. The other man could not, and so we let him out. Finally the Tammany leader called a halt, as we were running big engine lathes out on the sidewalk, and he was afraid we were carrying it a little too far. The lathes were worked right out in the street, and belted through the windows of the shop."
3) Labor Troubles Solved by Automation

Edison was generous with his employees and he expected loyalty in return.
"After our works at Goerck Street got too small, we had labor troubles also. It seems I had rather a socialistic strain in me, and I raised the pay of the workmen twenty-five cents an hour above the prevailing rate of wages, whereupon Hoe & Company, our near neighbors, complained at our doing this. I said I thought it was all right. But the men, having got a little more wages, thought they would try coercion and get a little more, as we were considered soft marks. Whereupon they struck at a time that was critical. However, we were short of money for pay-rolls; and we concluded it might not be so bad after all, as it would give us a couple of weeks to catch up. So when the men went out they appointed a committee to meet us; but for two weeks they could not find us, so they became somewhat more anxious than we were. Finally they said they would like to go back. We said all right, and back they went. It was quite a novelty to the men not to be able to find us when they wanted to; and they didn't relish it at all. ...
"One of the incidents which caused a very great cheapening [of the cost of production of light bulbs] was that, when we started, one of the important processes had to be done by experts. This was the sealing on of the part carrying the filament into the globe, which was rather a delicate operation in those days, and required several months of training before any one could seal in a fair number of parts in a day. When we got to the point where we employed eighty of these experts they formed a union; and knowing it was impossible to manufacture lamps without them, they became very insolent.
"One instance was that the son of one of these experts was employed in the office, and when he was told to do anything would not do it, or would give an insolent reply. He was discharged, whereupon the union notified us that unless the boy was taken back the whole body would go out. 
"It got so bad that the manager came to me and said he could not stand it any longer; something had got to be done. They were not only more surly; they were diminishing the output, and it became impossible to manage the works. He got me enthused on the subject, so I started in to see if it were not possible to do that operation by machinery. 
"After feeling around for some days I got a clew how to do it. I then put men on it I could trust, and made the preliminary machinery. That seemed to work pretty well. I then made another machine which did the work nicely. I then made a third machine, and would bring in yard men, ordinary laborers, etc., and when I could get these men to put the parts together as well as the trained experts, in an hour, I considered the machine complete. I then went secretly to work and made thirty of the machines. Up in the top loft of the factory we stored those machines, and at night we put up the benches and got everything all ready. Then we discharged the office-boy. Then the union went out. It has been out ever since."  
4) Forward Pricing

I thought "forward pricing" was a relatively new idea. However, it turns out that Edison made use of this practice, which is selling initial production runs well below cost to build a market, at prices that would be achieved at later mass production quantities.
"When we first started the electric light we had to have a factory for manufacturing lamps. As the Edison Light Company did not seem disposed to go into manufacturing, we started a small lamp factory at Menlo Park with what money I could raise from my other inventions and royalties, and some assistance.
"The lamps at that time were costing about $1.25 each to make, so I said to the company: 'If you will give me a contract during the life of the patents, I will make all the lamps required by the company and deliver them for forty cents.' The company jumped at the chance of this offer, and a contract was drawn up.
"We then bought at a receiver's sale at Harrison, New Jersey, a very large brick factory building which had been used as an oil-cloth works. We got it at a great bargain, and only paid a small sum down, and the balance on mortgage. We moved the lamp works from Menlo Park to Harrison.
"The first year the lamps cost us about $1.10 each. We sold them for forty cents; but there were only about twenty or thirty thousand of them.
"The next year they cost us about seventy cents, and we sold them for forty. There were a good many, and we lost more money the second year than the first.
"The third year I succeeded in getting up machinery and in changing the processes, until it got down so that they cost somewhere around fifty cents. I still sold them for forty cents, and lost more money that year than any other, because the sales were increasing rapidly.
"The fourth year I got it down to thirty-seven cents, and I made all the money up in one year that I had lost previously. I finally got it down to twenty-two cents, and sold them for forty cents; and they were made by the million. Whereupon the Wall Street people thought it was a very lucrative business, so they concluded they would like to have it, and bought us out.

Ira Glickstein

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sarah Palin Right On Paul Revere's Ride?

Could Sarah Palin have been right on when she described her idea of the famous midnight ride of Paul Revere?

Say what? Yep, I read it on, of all places, the MSNBC website. [Scroll to the bottom and click on "Show more text"]


Pretty much the story as told by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, ...

"..Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

... And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

... It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
... It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
... It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.

... So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---...

Do you remember anything else?


The MSNBC site linked above quotes her as saying:
"He who warned the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms by ringing those bells, and makin' sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."
Say what? Did you ever hear that Paul Revere WARNED the BRITISH ??? And RINGING THOSE BELLS ??? And, we were going to be FREE and ARMED ???

Where did she get that from?

OK, if you go to that linked MSNBC site, scroll to the bottom and then click on "Show more text", you will read:
... Revere did give up some details of the plan to the British that night, but after he had notified other colonists, and under questioning by British soldiers ... Revere revealed "there would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up," ...

So, Paul Revere, in essence WARNED the British soldiers who questioned him after his ride, that there would soon be FIVE HUNDRED AMERICANS, ARMED and ready to protect our freedom.

And, during his ride through all those towns and villages, how did Paul Revere alert all those sleeping Americans? Did he go from house to house and wake them all up?

Of course not, he went to each Church, roused the keeper, and, by the sound of the Church bells, awoke and alerted everybody, informing them of the message he had received via the two signal lanterns hung in the Bell Tower of the Old North Church.

And, what was the main purpose of the British advance up through Medford and Lexington towards Concord? Well, it was to attempt to confiscate the stash of arms hidden there.

That explains this stanza in Longfellow's poem:
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

Ira Glickstein

PS: Sarah Palin is mocked for the slightest error or apparent error. At the same time, our President, arguably the most academically intelligent leader we have ever had, can write "24 May 2008" (a couple weeks ago in Westminster Abbey) as the date and year when it was actually 2011. The President forgets the YEAR, which is certainly more important for anyone to know than the story of Paul Revere, and Sarah Palin gets busted for her short-hand answer about the REAL story of Paul Revere warning the British and sounding the bells. Media bias? You Betcha! Amazing!