Blog #716 Air Conditioning 2

Air Conditioning – Park 2

Taken from: https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/air-conditioning-and-the-rise-of-the-south/

While air conditioning is nice for the parts of the United States farther north, it is almost essential for the south.  I cringe when I drive past a construction site (and in the Austin area there are a LOT of construction sites) when I see the laborers working in 90 plus temperatures.  It is HOT. Of course it also depends on the humidity too.

Air conditioning really was a game changer for the south.  Let’s look at this blog from the New York Times.

When air conditioning became available, it caused a shift in population.  From 1960 to 2000, the population distribution in the United States by percentage shows the South gaining about 19% (from about 30% of the US population lived in the South in 1960 to about 36% of the US population in 2000).  My guess is that is much higher since 2000.

It is pretty tough to live in 100 degree temperatures on a daily basis. In 2018 (last year as I write), between June 1st and August 31st there were 51 days OVER 100 DEGREES!!  That is about 55% of the days in that period that got to the 100 mark. The average high for July and August in Austin is 96 degrees. Do you think somebody from (say) Minnesota wants to live in an area where 55% of the summer days are 100 or higher?  Sure, Texans (and other Southerns) can brag about not shovelling snow in the winter – but Minnesotans can talk about those summer days at the lake in maybe 83 degree weather. [The average temperature in Minnesota in July is 83.]

So, air conditioning is a must in the south. While there might be some hardy souls without air conditioning, the number of residences and buildings with air conditioning must be close to 100%.  

And, close (if not quite) to 100% of cars have air conditioning.  

It also can be very dry in the summer.  Droughts are not uncommon. But more water conservation is occurring.  As you drive past businesses and see steel grain bins, those are really water storage units.  That water is used to water lawns and gardens when the rain stays away.

Leander Texas has been ranked #1 of the fastest growing communities in the United States.  Others in the Austin area are also growing quickly. And… it is all due to air conditioning.

So, thank you Willis Carrier for figuring out how to remove the humidity and cool the air in 1902!!!  As a lifelong Northerner, I am loving not shoveling snow in the winter and having air conditioning in the winter.  [And, if you want to go skiing, talk to my friend Kristof about flying Jet Blue to Steamboat Springs next winter!!!]

So, are you “cool enough” today?

Karen

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Blog #715 Air conditioning – part I

Air Conditioning – part 1

https://www.energy.gov/articles/history-air-conditioning

THANK YOU WILLIS CARRIER!!!

As time goes by, it really hasn’t been that long since Willis Carrier discovered air conditioning\:

“The idea of artificial cooling went stagnant for several years until engineer Willis Carrier took a job that would result in the invention of the first modern electrical air conditioning unit. While working for the Buffalo Forge Company in 1902, Carrier was tasked with solving a humidity problem that was causing magazine pages to wrinkle at Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn.

“Through a series of experiments, Carrier designed a system that controlled humidity using cooling coils and secured a patent for his “Apparatus for Treating Air,” which could either humidify (by heating water) or dehumidify (by cooling water) air. As he continued testing and refining his technology, he also devised and patented an automatic control system for regulating the humidity and temperature of air in textile mills.

“It wasn’t long before Carrier realized that humidity control and air conditioning could benefit many other industries, and he eventually broke off from Buffalo Forge, forming Carrier Engineering Corporation with six other engineers.

“In May 1922 at Rivoli Theater in New York, Carrier publicly debuted a new type of system that used a centrifugal chiller, which had fewer moving parts and compressor stages than existing units. The breakthrough system increased the reliability and lowered the cost of large-scale air conditioners, greatly expanding their use throughout the country.

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I remember theaters proudly displaying signs that announced “Air Conditioning” and people could flock to the theaters to relax, enjoy a show – and to stay cool!!!

I was born on (then) the hottest August 24th ever – with the temperature reaching 100 degrees.  Hospitals were not air conditioned. Refrigeration did exist so ice and cold items did exist, but I’m sure my mother would have wished for air conditioning.

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Back to the article on the history of air conditioning

Chemical air conditioning fluids

“Around this same time, Thomas Midgley, Albert Henne and Robert McNary of General Motors synthesized chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) coolants, which became the world’s first non-flammable refrigerating fluids, substantially improving the safety of air conditioners. However, the chemicals would be linked to ozone depletion decades later and were eventually phased out by governments all across the globe after the Montreal Protocol in the 1990s. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which don’t destroy the ozone, gain popularity but are eventually linked to climate change. Recent breakthrough research by the Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is resulting in new refrigerants and technologies that are less harmful to the planet.”  [HURRAY!!!!]

Air Conditioning moves inside:

“Engineer Henry Galson went on to develop a more compact, inexpensive version of the window air conditioner and set up production lines for several manufacturers. By 1947, 43,000 of these systems were sold — and, for the first time, homeowners could enjoy air conditioning without having to make expensive upgrades.

“By the late 1960s, most new homes had central air conditioning, and window air conditioners were more affordable than ever, fueling population growth in hot-weather states like Arizona and Florida. Air conditioning is now in nearly 100 million American homes, representing 87 percent of all households, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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I can’t image the 13% of households without air conditioning!!

I remember a trip we made from Oregon to San Jose for a training session.  My budget was limited and somehow we found a motel without air conditioning – and a rare hot day in San Jose.  Our children were pre-schoolers and we ran bathwater and through in ice cubes from the ice making machine. I remember the next day in class – where I kept falling asleep in the wonderful air conditioned educational center

To be continued tomorrow!!!

Karen

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Blog post #714.5 Thoughts from dying people

I was reading an excerpt from “A Thousand Naked Stranges” by a paramedic (Kevin Hazzard), He was describing what strangers who died in his arms said:

“1- Those who were dying often expressed regret about something they had done or had not done

2- In their final moments may people hoped that they would be remembered

3- As their lives faded away, people wanted to believe that their lives had value and meaning.”
(As cited in the Caringbridge newsletter).

Do you have regrets about something you have done – or NOT done? Do you want to be remembered? Do you know your life has meaning and value?
Just something to think about today!!!

Is that true for you?

Karen

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Blog #714 Space Data Storage?

My business data is up in the air (literally)

Taken from: https://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/the-next-way-to-stop-climate-change-storing-data-in-space/

The article starts with this:

Data centers consume the energy of 50 power plants and spew out more greenhouse gases than 140 countries. Now, space could save the day.

“LyteLoop, has developed technology to store data in motion, but not just between servers on Earth. It is planning to use photonics — the science of generating and harnessing light that undergirds technologies critical for everything from smartphones to lasers — to store data in space, by sending it back and forth between satellites. The impact could extend to the health of the planet, and LyteLoop isn’t alone.”

“Storing data in space uses up significantly less energy than the traditional data center and, therefore, emits drastically less carbon dioxide.”

“Consider this: Data centers on Earth, which store our information on the cloud, are currently among the largest consumers of energy, and significantly contribute to rising carbon emissions. In the U.S., all data centers make up 2 percent of national electricity consumption, according to a 2016 report by Berkeley Lab. By 2020, data centers are expected to consume 140 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, according to a report by the National Resources Defense Council.”

“That’s equivalent to the annual output of 50 power plants, the report says, and will cost American businesses $13 billion annually in electricity bills while spewing out nearly 100 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year — that’s more than the greenhouse gas emissions of 140 countries.”

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In recent years various companies have tried to deal with the energy usage issue.  There are huge data centers in northern Sweden – close to the Arctic Circle. That rely on hydroelectric power (which is abundant in that area) and the cool (really ‘cold’) environment.  A lot of energy is burned up in storing data. And, much of that data is never used again. For example, hospitals have to store all kinds of data – including images from Cat Scans, and MRI.  Now, it might be needed some time in the future – and it might not be needed – so the data is stored.

Even with data that is stored and never retrieved it takes power (energy) to move it to the data center and to keep it.  Why not keep it in the frigid world of space?

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The article also says:

“It’s already possible to store petabytes — a thousand trillion bytes — of data on satellites. “Storing data in motion simply relies on light,” he says. With attached solar panels, data can be transmitted between satellites without any carbon emissions. “We’re saving so much in energy costs and carbon emissions.”

“Then, there are other advantages to storing data in space. ConnectX, for instance, is focused on using satellites to ensure cybersecurity of transactions in the international commodities market.

“If [the U.S.] wants to buy $300 million worth of oil from Saudi Arabia, there are so many middlemen involved in that and so much risk,” says Lance Parker, the firm’s CEO and founder. “Instead, our satellite would hold a secure key, mitigating the risk.”

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I’m not sure what might happen if a meteor would hit a data storage satellite – if the data is lost.  Most likely (in my estimation) data would be duplicated on another data storage satellitel

None-the-less, it seems like an interesting concept.  Moving from “cloud” storage (which is not really in the clouds) to space storage might be a good move.  Just one more thing to keep in mind!!!

Karen

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Blog #713 Super Size that

I have an appointment in London in three hours.  Can you get me there?

Taken from: https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/22/boom-wants-to-build-a-supersonic-jet-for-mainstream-passengers-heres-its-game-plan/

The speed of sound is much slower than the speed of light.  The speed of sound is about 767 miles per hour. The speed of light is 6.706e+8 (that is 670,616,629 miles per hour.  (The only thing faster than that (joke) is the amount of time between when the light turns green and the person behind you starts honking his/her horn!!!)

From the article:

“Indeed, while most commercial airliners today fly at between 400 and 650 miles per hour — largely because it’s more economical to burn fuel more slowly — a spate of startups is borrowing from the age of the legendary Concorde to build planes that they say will fly at 1,000 miles per hour, 1,500 miles per hour, and, even in one case, at more than 3,000 miles per hour.”

“The last of these, and seemingly the most audacious, is Hermeus, a year-old, Atlanta-based startup that wants to build planes capable of getting from New York to London in 90 minutes.”

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The previous SuperSonic jets (most notably the Concorde) did break the sonic barrier – but had troubles.  Another article says “Air France and British Airways blamed low passenger numbers and rising maintenance costs. Passenger numbers fell after an Air France Concorde crashed minutes after taking off from Paris in July 2000, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground.”

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For humans, going faster than the speed of sound means that there will be a loud sonic boom.  (I remember one from my childhood from some Air Force tests in our area).

So most SuperSonic planes will fly over the oceans so the sonic boom does not affect major population areas.  

To my limited knowledge there is no way to stop the sonic boom from occurring and thus populated areas where such planes have made it illegal to cross the sonic barrier until they are out of the area.  

So, if a trip from New York to London might take about seven hours now, but could be as low as one-and-one-half hours with super-sonic planes.  (I have made a few trips across the Atlantic and it is a long, boring flight!! Thank goodness they feed us!!)

It will be some time before SuperSonic flights will resume, but I find it interesting that companies are investing time and money to develop such new planes!!

(So, what will be next in terms of fast travel?  “Beam me up, Scottie”!!)

Karen

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Blog #712 Watermelon

YES – it is WATERMELON TIME!!!

https://www.paeats.com/feature/ten-facts-you-never-knew-about-watermelon/

One of my favorite summer treats is watermelon. This website has ten facts you never knew about watermelon!!!
Let’s start
-1 “Not only does it quench your thirst, but it can also quench inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.”
(Hmmm – I’ve been stiff from too much walking or something that last few days – maybe if I ate 5 or 6 watermelons the inflammation would go away!!!)


-2 Over 1,200 varieties of watermelons are grown worldwide.
Like pink, orange, yellow and more!!! There are four basic types of watermelon: seedless, picnic, icebox, and yellow/orange fleshed.
-3 Watermelon is an ideal health food because it doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol, it is high in fiber and vitamins A and C, and it’s a good source of potassium.
Probably not all you need in a balanced diet – no protein for example.


-4 Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals.
Yup – it is time to neutralize those ‘free radicals’ – and anytime I can get more carotenoids into my diet, life is good!!!


-5 Watermelon is a vegetable! It is part of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash.
Say it isn’t so!!! It is a fruit? (Okay, I guess not)


-6 Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
Hmmm – so you could cut a hole in one end, dig out all the watermelon and the solid rind will hold water! (Of course, it holds water – it is a “water” melon after all!!!


-7 Watermelon is grown in over 96 countries worldwide.
Does an Argentina watermelon taste different? Different water and chemicals in the soil?


-8 In China and Japan, watermelon is a popular gift to bring a host.
I’ve been invited to a party this weekend – and (even before reading this article) decided I would bring a watermelon!!!


-9 In Israel and Egypt, the sweet taste of watermelon is often paired with the salty taste of feta cheese.
My father and my neighbor like to sprinkle salt on their watermelons. I’ve done it a few times and it does taste good!!!


-10 Every part of a watermelon is edible, even the seeds and rinds.
My grandmother used to make watermelon rind pickles. I guess they were okay. I’ve heard of people putting the rinds in a blender and making some kind of smoothie.


There is so much good in watermelon – and it tastes GREAT!!!

How about you?
(One of my ‘worst’ memories of childhood was eating watermelon wedges at a relative’s house – and my cousins ran by and broke off the top of the wedge. It is my experience that the closer the wedge is to the center, the sweeter it is!! Of course, if that is one of my worst memories, I must have had it pretty good!!!)

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Blog #711 Midsummer

I have a dream (that is a “Midsummer Night’s Dream”)

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/6/14/18679392/summer-solstice-2019-june-21

Today is the Summer Solstice – June 21st – the longest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere – and the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere).  It will occur at 11:54 EDT; and 10:54 CDT.

In many parts of the world it is accompanied by various customs.  

Sweden

Swedes are fairly well attuned to the rhythms of nature. At Midsummer, many begin their five-week annual holidays and everyone is in a hurry to get things done during the relatively short summer season. Midsummer Eve is celebrated in the countryside − as always − and on the day before, everyone leaves town, everything closes and the city streets are suddenly spookily deserted.

In the far north of Sweden the sun will not set on that day.  Even in southern Sweden there will be 20 hours of sunlight.

It is a time of partying – and vacationing.  One site I read said (bluntly) that many Swedish children are born about nine months after Midsummer!!

Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe, the solstice celebrations fall on Ivan Kupala Day — a holiday that has romantic connotations for many Slavs.  Young women float wreaths on streams for young men to catch.

Greece:

In Greece, young men try to jump over bonfires to impress the young ladies.

Stonehenge

One of the largest solstice celebrations in the world, though, takes place at Stonehenge, in England, where thousands gather each year to bring in the summer season. While for many the event is an excuse to party in the lead up to the Glastonbury Festival.  On the Summer Solstice, the sunshine shines through Stonehenge in straight lines – as the ancients did know their astronomy and geometry.

In the United States, we can celebrate with more hours to play golf and to do outside activities.  Of course, Alaska will have midnight sun in north and very long hours in the south. For my friends in Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota, you will have about 16 hours of sunlight.  Iowa, Nebraska and Southern Michigan will have about 15.5 hours.

And, of course, in central Texas – we will have about 14.5 hours of sunlight.  (Of course the trade-around comes next December when the opposite will occur and places in Alaska (and Sweden) will have no sunlight at all.  Overall, mathematical speaking the average daylight is 12 hours a day – so the greater the sunshine in the summer, the less the sunshine in winter.

And, of course, Shakespeare wrote a comedy for Midsummer’s Night and Mendelssohn wrote incidental music (including the famous bridal march – “Here comes the bride …”.

With the actual time of the solstice close to midday, the nights of June 20th AND June 21st will be great nights for staying up late.

(But, if you are a pessimist, it is all downhill from here – the days will grow shorter until Saturday December 21st).

Enjoy the sunlight – wear your sunscreen – and party like the Swedes and others!!!

Karen

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Blog #710 – White Coat Syndrome!!!

Do you have “White Coat” syndrome?

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/white-coat-hypertension/faq-20057792

I ran across this article.

Basically the premise is when you get your blood pressure checked in the doctor’s office it is higher than at home.  As one who has had high blood pressure in the past (and resulting in a major surgery) there have been times when my blood pressure is much higher in the doctor’s office than at home.  The term comes from the concept that whoever is taking my blood pressure is wearing a white coat – so the impression is that the patient (me) is somehow scared of the doctor’s office and that translates to a higher reading.

The article says:

“White coat hypertension occurs when the blood pressure readings at your doctor’s office are higher than they are in other settings, such as your home. It’s called white coat hypertension because the health care professionals who measure your blood pressure sometimes wear white coats.

It was once thought that white coat hypertension was caused by the stress that doctor’s appointments can create. Once you’d left the doctor’s office, if your blood pressure normalized, the thought was that there wasn’t a problem.

I have my theories on that.  At home, I am frequently sitting in my rocker/recliner – and have been for at least five minutes.  I slap on my upper arm velcro wrap, start the reading device and relax. (Suggestions are to relax for a few minutes before taking your pressure).  

But, in the doctor’s office I generally have been waiting a few minutes and then jump up when I’m called.  The nurse/assistant puts me on the scale, checks my weight and takes me down the hall and puts the blood pressure monitor on my arm.  [That is, I haven’t been ‘relaxing’ when my pressure is taken]. It frequently has been high. Sometimes the nurse/assistant will say “Hmmm, that is high, we’ll check it again later.:

But, the article suggests that it really COULD be high blood pressure:

“However, some doctors think that white coat hypertension might signal that you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure as a long-term condition. If you experience white coat hypertension, you may also have a higher risk of developing certain cardiovascular problems compared with people who have normal blood pressure at all times. The same may be true for people who have masked hypertension, meaning their blood pressure is normal at the doctor’s office, but spikes periodically when measured in other settings. It’s thought that even temporary increases in your blood pressure could develop into a long-term problem.

If you have white coat hypertension, talk to your doctor about home monitoring of your condition. Your doctor may ask you to wear a blood pressure monitor (ambulatory blood pressure monitor) for up to 24 hours to track your blood pressure during the daytime as well as while you sleep. This can help determine if your high blood pressure only occurs in the doctor’s office or if it’s a persistent condition that needs treatment.”

The last time I was at my primary care physician, it was actually reversed.  My home blood pressure machine had been having systolic (upper reading) in the 140 to 160 range (my cardiologist said – for me, not to go over 140), and the lower (diastolic) in the upper 80’s to ’90s.  “Normal” pressure (if there is such a thing) is to be about 120/80. The nurse took my pressure at 117 over 67!!

Lately, even my home readings have been in the 110 to 125 range for systolic; and from 58 to 78 for the diastolic reading.  (I think those are low, but the medical staff thinks they are great. (Of course, I am on medication to control my pressure.

For me, I check my pressure daily – maybe like a diabetic would check their blood sugar daily.  I write it down so I do have a record.

The moral of this story is twofold:

-1 A person can have “white coat syndrome” where visiting the doctor’s office can elevate blood pressure – in which case it should be studied more to see if it is nerves or fear of the doctor’s office

-2 Take care of yourself.  “Know your numbers” is a slogan of one of my doctor friends.  Of course, as a ‘doctor’ myself I prescribe some additional medications!!!  (But, a Ph.D. doesn’t mean I can practice medicine – but I can practice philosophy!!!)

Do you know your numbers?

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Blog #709 Bayer, weeds and cancer!!

Weeds, Bayer, and Cancer?  (What do they have in common?)

Taken from https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/glyphosate-linked-non-hodgkin-lymphoma-analysis/

Bayer Pharmaceuticals is a well known name in the pharmacy world. (Wikipedia says: “Bayer AG is a German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.”

About a year ago, Bayer bought Monsanto for $63 million – and now “Bayer will invest $5.6 billion in developing new weedkillers over the next 10 years.”  (This about 9 times as much as Baylor paid to buy Monsanto!!!)

Two major reasons for Bayer to be concerned.

Reason #1:

One of Monsanto’s big products is Roundup – the herbicide that kills grasses and more.  One of the active ingredients in Roundup is glyphosate. [And, of course, it isn’t just Roundup that uses glyphosate – but other weed killers as well.

So what?  I like to kill weeds!!!  And more than that, farmers LOVE to kill weeds.  Monsanto has introduced corn that is resistant to Roundup (aka glyphosate).  So farmers growing corn (one of the most major crops in the United States and the world) want to keep weed out of their corn fields – as weeds suck up moisture that should have gone to grow the corn.  Corn – good; weeks – ba!!!

Okay – so it kills weeds.

BUT “Roundup has been the target of thousands of lawsuits mostly brought by people claiming the herbicide caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”.  The linked article offers a skeptical view about those claims, but while ‘causation’ has not been verified there are question.

If glyphosate (in Roundup and more) is related to cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) then the lawsuits will continue to ‘dog’ Bayer – so thus, the big investment in researching new weedkillers.

Reason #2

And, “glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, has been so widely used in the U.S. that some weeds are developing resistance to it.”

So, potential big bucks lawsuits and some weeds are developing resistance to it.  Sounds like reasons to develop an alternative grass and weed killer.

And to add ‘insult to injury” – the Monsanto corn products that are resistant to Roundup – are really GMO – genetically modified organisms.  Monsanto scientists have modified the genetic makeup of the corn seeds – and some claim that is bad for our health. Corn should be corn!!!

(There are also lawsuits on the GMO corn as well – but that is a different and difficult topic).

So, maybe we need to look at this differently.

Matthew 13:24-30 says:

“Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’

“‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.

“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

“‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do.Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

So, should farmers leave the weeds in the field?  It will lessen the value of the corn crop. Economics drives the agriculture field (as it does with most things).  

This could be a major topic in the agriculture herbicide field for years to come!!!

What do you think? Kill those weeds!!!

Karen

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Blog #708 Harriett Tubman

So, what happened to Harriett Tubman?

The new $20 bill was to have Harriett Tubman on it – but it is being delayed.

Here is a news story from the New York Times on that:

“WASHINGTON — Extensive work was well underway on a new $20 bill bearing the image of Harriet Tubman when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced last month that the design of the note would be delayed for technical reasons by six years and might not include the former slave and abolitionist.

“Many Americans were deeply disappointed with the delay of the bill, which was to be the first to bear the face of an African-American. The change would push completion of the imagery past President Trump’s time in office, even if he wins a second term, stirring speculation that Mr. Trump had intervened to keep his favorite president, Andrew Jackson, a fellow populist, on the front of the note.

“But Mr. Mnuchin, testifying before Congress, said new security features under development made the 2020 design deadline set by the Obama administration impossible to meet, so he punted Tubman’s fate to a future Treasury secretary.

“In fact, work on the new $20 note began before Mr. Trump took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman’s likeness on next year’s centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. An image of a new $20 bill, produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and obtained by The New York Times from a former Treasury Department official, depicts Tubman in a dark coat with a wide collar and a white scarf.

“That preliminary design was completed in late 2016.

“The development of the note did not stop there. A current employee of the bureau, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, personally viewed a metal engraving plate and a digital image of a Tubman $20 bill while it was being reviewed by engravers and Secret Service officials as recently as May 2018. This person said that the design appeared to be far along in the process.

“As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump called the decision to replace Jackson, who was a slave owner, with Tubman “pure political correctness.” An overhaul of the Treasury Department’s website after Mr. Trump took office removed any trace of the Obama administration’s plans to change the currency, signaling that the plan might be halted.


“Within Mr. Trump’s Treasury Department, some officials complained that had politicized the currency with the plan and that the process of selecting Tubman, which included an online poll among other forms of feedback, was not rigorous or reflective of the country’s desires.

“The uncertainty has renewed interest in the matter. This week, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, where Tubman was born, wrote a letter to Mr. Mnuchin urging him to find a way to speed up the process.

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So, the new $20 bill has been delayed.  It does smack a little of politics – but that is a topic beyond my control.  

As a lowly consumer, I’m not sure it makes much difference to me.  My primary payment method is with a credit card (that gets paid off every month).  I do have currency in my billfold – but it might remain there for a period of time before I run out.  

I also note that our world is changing.  The American birth-rate is under the magical replenishment level.  While I grew up in a world that was mostly White, my world these days includes many racial and ethnic groups.  White men have been the mainstay of currency – with Washington ($1); Jefferson ($2); Lincoln ($5); Hamilton ($10) and Jackson ($20).  The most recent of those was Lincoln who died in 1865. For coins we have Lincoln (1 cent); Jefferson (nickel); Roosevelt (dime); Washington (quarter) – and rarely Kennedy (50 cents) and Sacagawea on the $1 coin.  Some of those are more current (Kennedy died in 1963 and Roosevelt in 1945). We have had Susan B. Antony dollar coins as a woman (but with limited success). Would Harriett Tubman inspire me on the $20 bill as compared to Andrew Jackson?  I don’t know. Money is a tool – not an art gallery.

What do you think?

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