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Dense wood and fog

February 12, 2018

KinderspelRoundingFiveMaterial scientists have a history of making wonderful new materials from wood. We live in houses made from plywood, concretized wood, oriented-strand board, and treated lumber. So, it’s interesting to read about the densified wood being made at the University of Maryland, College Park. (Cite.)

That said, I am underimpressed by the 8% expansion from humidity change. That is quite large. The process is cumbersome. Other techniques do much the same. And a key question for every new material is: how does it deteriorate? The problem with steel, especially on salty coasts, is that rust never sleeps. Ordinary wood suffers rot and termites. This new densified stuff? Don’t know, don’t know. So it is interesting academic research, but I don’t expect dense wood bridges in the near future.

Of course, I’m a skeptic. Not just about new materials. Did Hillary Clinton do something illegal with her email server? Everyone seems to have a legal opinion on that. Me? I have some technical opinions about what was done, and recognize much of what is written about it as nonsense. I don’t pretend to know the law, nor the prosecutorial standards. My best information there is what the FBI said its process determined.

Did Trump or his as-yet unindicted underlings commit illegalities with the Russians? I don’t know that, either. I am unqualified to be on Robert Mueller’s team. More, I don’t know what facts they have uncovered, nor with regard to what laws. So I await their further results, skeptical of most every guess I read about it in the news, both those predicting much of consequence, and those predicting it will produce nothing. What I have written on Trump does not turn on legal opinion. Even if Trump did commit a crime, Mueller might not be able to indict him. That opinion comes from someone who has been counsel in related field, so perhaps holds more water than most reports. I do like that Mueller is keeping his cards as close as he can. But don’t pretend that I can scry them better than anyone else.

Photo shows a plastic boat carefully navigating a steel waymark in the first frost-bite regatta, Saturday. Alas, I was called out of town, so missed that race. A mate took the photo above of the other J-105. Sailing in fog makes you more aware of what you don’t know, moment by moment.

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