Early days of API-622 testing

Was looking back at some photos from November 2008 when I had for the first time a chance to put my hands on the API-622 rig. This one was built by Yarmouth Research in Maine where we were working on getting a full understanding of what would become the gold standard of emissions valve sealing.
Now almost 9 years later the way this one test has forced packing manufacturers move the needle to make LowE valve sealing a realty. Back in these photos the national limit at most plants were 10,000 ppm compared to 100 ppm today. My favorite analogy is if the Cafe requirements for cars would of changed that drastically you could drive from Boston to Los Angeles on one gallon of gas.

Website security warnings from Chrome and Firefox

Recently a common website I need to log into starting having this warning from Chrome and firefox that stated “This site in not safe”. After i looked into it a bit I realized it was because the site was a login page and not encrypted- meaning it was not an HTTPS site and still a HTTP site.
This warning is quite alarming and first you think the website is hacked or something. My daughter had to to the site recently and said it was trying to steal her secrets. Recently a magazine’s website was getting this warning and complained to Firefox telling it to stop showing the warning. They were surprised to realize it was not a bug but a feature! Here is a good article about it.

This is serious when you realize that as you are logging on to the site your username and password are in “the clear” ~ someone can grab it out of the network traffic and read it because it is not encrypted. Think about it if you were at a coffee shop and someone sitting at the other table with some basic tools can grab your info to login to your site.
Here is a great video showing how to sniff this info using this thing called a pineapple. This guy is great and has a great website called hak5

Peak Minutes Goal and Google embedded Graphs

A 2017 goal/New Years resolution is focusing less on Steps and more on peak heart rate minutes per week and month. I decided I would have a monthly goal that would increase by 5 minutes per month – starting with 15 minutes for January and ending at 70 in December.

This has been alot harder goal then I thought – my body likes to get to Peak heart rate and then come back to cardio while i start to cool down. It is really hard unless I keep sweating to keep my heart rate up. it has been a challenge but I am working on it – and as of today (end of March) i am meeting my goal.

The second thing I realized today is you can make a graph using Google Doc’s and insert it into wordpress (like this blog) and it will update it graph as the data changes in the google doc’s spreadsheet. I thought this was amazing!
Below is a graph of my weekly process:

And here is the average for the month.

I made a page specifically to keep me honest on this goal here.

Trip Review: 91 Vilnius, Lithuania


Back in May of 2004 I was asked to go to Lithuania to work with our new distributor. It was an interesting time in the country since it had focused on oil production and just joining NATO. The country had invaded by many counties including Russia only a few decades before.

This was the plane I flew on – they still had at that time government owned Lithuania airlines.


One afternoon outside our hotel we saw kids walking down the street marching in a band.


The local McDonald’s had a walk-by window.

This was the famous cathedral in the city center. We walked through it and it was amazing. some of the things I remember about the country is everyone was dressed so perfect everyday. Also I remember working with their computers and driving to the refinery on the other side of the country. It was a beautiful drive and everyone was very nice.

Fridjof Nansen’s Farthest North Book

Fridjof Nansen is the real life Indiana Jones that I have ever found – he was a man that never stopped doing the impossible. Besides being a world class explorer in his later years, he became a great statesman including winning the Nobel Peace prize for his humanitarian work that included his invention of the Nansen passport. This passport saved 450,000 refugees throughout the world.

His book, “The farthest north” chronicles his adventures with a custom build ship he designed to handle the ice in the arctic ocean as he tried to cruise to the north pole. He did not succeed but his adventure is a story that needs to be told! I expect his story to be made into a movie that would just amaze the world with fighting polar bears and Narwhals.

I read the 2 volumes of his book on the adventure for the north pole. It is a book that come directly from his notes he took every night on the trip. Even though it was written over 100+ years ago it seems so vivid like you were right there.

This is the ship that Nansen designed to handle the crushing force of the arctic ocean. The boat was a reflection on himself with a great study to read books while on this 3 year journey. Also it was outfited with a windmill to power a battery to read in teh darkness of the winter.



He brought a camera on board of the Fram and this is one of the photos of his crew. He handpicked everyone with high standards to handle the enormous challenge to being at sea for so long.

First learned about him from podcast “things you missed in History class”. it really gave me a flavor for such a man who did big things to change the world. Also it should be noted that he was a scientist – a degree in zoology and studied wildlife.
Some great quotes from him: “Never stop because you are afraid – you are never so likely to be wrong.”
“The difficult is what takes a little time; the impossible is what takes a little longer.”

Trip Review: # 129 Laguna Verde Nuclear plant

I have visited a large percentage of nuclear plants in the US and back in 2006 I made my first visit to the only nuclear plant in Mexico called Laguna Verde. It is located north of Veracruz on the gulf of Mexico.

I visited the plant again in 2008 (#158) and the engineers traveled to Mexico City for another visit with me in 2011 (#200). In all three of these meetings I conducted training and troubleshooting of hard to seal valve applications. The plant has some very good engineers and also we have some great specialists who call on the plant.

One funny incident now looking back on it was when I was eating at a small outdoor restaurant and when I sat down the chair exploded into small pieces! I was like a giant and my weight was enough for the chair to give out.

The Road to Character book

Last year another great book I read was from David Brooks who I see on the PBS News Hour every week and on NPR as a conservative pundit. I was a little skeptical about reading his book but someone had recommended it to me. The book focuses on people throughout history who had tremendous character. He focused on what that means – not someone who was famous for speeches or movies but for doing what is right even when no one is watching.

One of the people he focused on was Eisenhower’s mother and how she raised Dwight with an abundance of courage and character. Another person he focused on was Frances Perkins who was the first woman to serve in any cabinet position for the US President (her case was FDR). She focused her life on workers rights and was instrumental in setting up the WPA, TVA, and the beginning of OHSA. Actually she is considered a famous Worcester alum and the library right down the street of my house is named after her.
below are a few qoutes from the book I am fond of.

Sapiens and a scale

Last year I read this amazing book called “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. It was a detailed look at the history of humans on this planet and his research was so detailed and the book is so well written – I highly recommend it. One point that he made in the book is about how humans have dominated the entire world for their own needs and have totally destroyed other species.

In the quote above, just thinking about the scale of these numbers are mind blowing. Take the number of domesticated dogs (400 million) compared to wolves (200,000). That is a 20 to 1 ratio! When you think of all living things on this planet weighing 1,100,000 tons and 1,000,000 tons is humans and domesticated livestock! Amazing. Think of 1.5 billion cattle to a few handful of other wild animals. The book seriously made me think we are the dominate species on this planet and like a virus we are taking it over until we kill everything.

Rickover’s comments on equipment in nuclear power


I thought this was such a good quote because I have seen it so many times in my 27 year experience working with the Nuclear industry. People often overlook technology like valves and heat exchangers and taking them for granted – this non focus can sometimes end badly an even death. Also I like how Rickover calls out the supply chain of such components and how manufacturing errors in workmanship and materials can cause the entire system to fail. Procurement can be looked down upon by engineering sometimes but their role is also needed for true safety in the nuclear industry.

I was digging a little deeper and found an article from the Chicago Tribune on this speech from Rickover.


Education Attainment and Employment

I saw something in Facebook about how great Trump is because he lowered the unemployment rate for his first month in office. I have always been interested in the employment statistics and had visited the employment rate website at the department of labor a few times so I visited it again to see the impact of one month in office. My main goal was to see if this drastic shift in unemployment (-0.1%) effected them who would have less education attainment levels.

The first thing you realize is for people without a high school degree have an excessive unemployment rate – 9%(+0.1% for the month)! That is almost 10 million people that really have a hard time getting a job compared to the rest of us. Looking at the other groups you can see how much higher it is – For a high school degree only – 5.4% (down 0.5% for the month), some college / associate degree 4.3% (up 0.2% for the month), and lastly a bachelors degree at 2.4% (down 0.1% for the month). With a college degree it is 3X less unemployment rate!

Then looking at the data for the last 10 years you realize it has been this way the entire decade. Also the recession hurt the non-high school degree the most. For example, people without a high school degree, at the height of the crash had in 2010 of 14.9% compared to college degree at the same time of only 4.7%! That is 3X less – just terrible olastn people who have financial difficulty already.

From this data done for 2015, you can see that a BS degree has 2X+ more earnings then someone without a HS degree.

Lastly I wanted to know a better idea of who are these people who have such an issue with unemployment. From the graph above from the US Census, my questions were answered. First you can see a little change in the non HS degree area – from 65+ at 84.3% to 25-34 at 90.5%. This is some change in 40 years but sad so little(+6.2%). Getting a high school degree is the first long term goal you achieve and failing to get that, besides financial stress and unemployment, is lower self confidence in reaching goals.