NIKOLA TESLA WAS A CREATIVE SPIRIT and inventor to whom we owe much.  While dining in Eureka we saw his Tesla Coil, that demonstrates high-voltage AC current that powers the world's electrical grid. Tesla correctly showed that an alternating-current distribution system was a cheap practical way to provide power to the masses.

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Unfortunately, Tesla's geeky "mad scientist" personality made him unpopular and vulnerable to criticism, while Thomas Edison promoted and received more credit for electrical contributions (during the 1880’s) which Edison didn't deserve. However, I'm happy to note we have our own Tesla memorial, a seven-foot bronze statue, in downtown Palo Alto that hosts a free wifi hot spot and serves to inspire us to "focus on humanitity's greatest challenges."

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Tesla dabbled in many disciplines -- way ahead of his time -- and held over 700 patents in many different disciplines.  Consider the following:

Who invented the AC electrical system?  TESLA

Who developed radio communications?  TESLA

Who developed the concept of radar ?  TESLA

Who first worked on x-ray technology? TESLA

Who built the first hydroelectric plant at Niagra Falls? TESLA

Who held patents 100 years before development of transistors? TESLA

What about radio waves from space, the remote control, neon lighting, the modern electric motor, and wireless communications?  All concepts of TESLA.

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He was amazing and could visualize revolutionary concepts, and we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.  It's no wonder CEO Elon Musk named his futuristic electric cars after this inspiring inventor!

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe

THE AVENUE OF GIANTS is an amazing stretch of highway in Mendocino county where you can drive through old-growth redwoods, see them up close, and possibly even reconsider your   perception of time, scale, and human significance.

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We recently visited the grove and couldn't help but feel dwarfed by the magnificent trees towering above, still vital after thousands of years on this planet. Scientific measurements indicate these trees have been around for most of our human history and show no signs of extinction -- if left untouched.  Can we be responsible "good stewards" of the environment?

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Driving deeper and deeper into the massive groves, it's easy get a refreshed perspective about time.  It's a big universe out there and we are but a footnote in the grand scheme of things.

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May we be good neighbors, take care of our surroundings, celebrate the beauty and opportunitIes we discover along the way. 

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe

IT'S NOT UNCOMMON to come across a Google Bike parked in our neighborhoods. Corporate bikes are common at Silican Valley tech sites to help employees get around, but there's nothing like these brightly colored two-wheelers!  Google keeps over 1,000 of these "clown bikes" running, and they come in all shapes and sizes.  It always puts a smile on my face when I find one parked alongside the road.

Posted
Authorrjmonroe968@gmail.com

We've just returned from a delightful (but brief) visit to Humboldt Bay on the northern California coast.  Fishing and lumber are the mainstays of this region, and we saw plenty of evidence that business is booming.  Fortunately, the weather was fantastic with foggy mornings followed by sunny mild days -- a welcome change from those colder overcast days of summer!

Lost Fisherman memorial

Lost Fisherman memorial

The Eureka harbor was calm and colorful, as it sheltered local commercial boats resting between fishing runs into the rough coastal waters. Local fish include sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. The quiet estuaries and sandbars also support oyster beds that produce over half the oysters farmed in California.  During migration season, I'm certain this food-rich area is a popular with egrets, herons, ducks, and other fowl on the move.

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We spotted several commercial boats stacked with crab pots, getting ready to deploy them on the ocean floor. Sometimes these boats are out to sea for days, as the lucrative crabbing areas change during the season and sometimes can be hundreds of miles off shore.

Crab pots onboard

Crab pots onboard

Humboldt Bay is a natural shipping depot for forest and lumber products.  With the lush redwoods and coastal forests nearby, the port was a focal point of shipping and milling activity.

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Although forest harvesting has decreased over time due to dwindling resources and conservation, there's still evidence of limited milling activity and timber production. Resource management, efficient use of the precious timber, and modern distribution of  products is now the norm.  Stack, wrap and deliver those trees, please!

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Posted
AuthorRich Monroe
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William Carson came to Northern California in the 1850's to discover gold, but instead he found a fortune in Redwood!  He supplied hearty redwood lumber from Humboldt Bay to construct buildings in San Francisco where only spruce and fir had been used. And over the years he made a fortune in lumbering, milling, and other ventures.

Carson was a good businessman, creative and inventive, and his lumber mills produced finished wood products like molding, trim, shingles and doors.  He eventually became involved in other successful businesses -- banks, shoe mills, and woolen mills. Carson was very charitable and treated his employees very well with good working hours, wages and meals. And when he died, he had over a hundred benefactors included many employees and their families. 

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During hard times Carson employed his best men to build his family a "dream home" rather than to lay them off, and thus the unique Queen Anne mansion came about.  He considered many designs, but is quoted as saying "If I build it poorly, people would say I was a damned miser; if I build it expensively, they will say I'm a show off; so guess I'll just build it to suit myself.” The mansion is a fairy tale structure, with gables, turrets, cupolas, complex windows, porches and pillars. The second story has an iron framework with his insignia and initials, W.C.

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Next to the mansion sits another grand Queen Anne, built as a wedding present to their son and his bride. The bright pink and white colors of the home has gained a reputation with the locals as the “Pink Lady.” 

 

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Posted
AuthorRich Monroe