It is just a few weeks until my upcoming trip to Michigan to attend the homecoming game and visit my old SAE fraternity. I have been looking forward to this visit all year, and I hope that I remain well enough to make the trip.
I have had some ups and downs over the past few months, but I am feeling pretty good right now. If I make it to Michigan, I will be sure to take some photos and post them here.
My wife Betty and I celebrated our anniversary on Sunday. It’s hard for me to believe that we have been married 58 years now.
It doesn’t seem all that long ago that we first met back in Los Alamos. These years together have been very good ones for both of us, and I am grateful that Betty said “Yes” when I popped the question.
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I have been watching the America’s Cup races on television and I have to tell you that the event so far has been an exciting one. Competing is the defender — Oracle Team USA — versus the challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand, sailing huge, 72-foot racing catamarans.
The wind in San Francisco Bay has been strong for the event, and when the boats get moving fast enough, they ride up out of the water on hydrofoils where they can attain speeds in excess of 40 knots. These 6-ton boats literally fly around the course.
If you haven’t watched the competition yet, I highly recommend that you do. It is definitely not boring.
There was an article in Sunday’s San Diego Union Tribune about a smaller, transportable nuclear reactor that is currently being designed by General Atomics in hopes of winning a portion of the $452 million set aside by the Department of Energy for development of new compact reactor technology. According to the article, GA will take about 12 years to design and deliver the first reactor if it receives the DOE funding, and reactors will be designed to be built on an assembly line and delivered by truck, rail, or barge. Each unit is anticipated to generate enough electricity to power a city of 330,000 people and wouldn’t require refueling for at least 30 years.
I am encouraged by this development, and I hope that GA attracts the funding it needs to initiate the program. Standard reactors cost many billions of dollars, making the construction of new units a rare event today. GA’s planned transportable reactor would be considerably more affordable than existing designs and I support this development.
I was sad to get the news that Duane Roth, CEO of CONNECT here in San Diego, died over the weekend as a result of injuries he sustained in a bicycle accident. Duane was a tremendous asset to San Diego, particularly in the area of assisting in the formation of new technology and life sciences companies in the area.
I believe that, together with the rest of his team at CONNECT, Duane had a sizable impact on the development of technology firms here in San Diego. It is my understanding that CONNECT assisted in the formation of more than 3,000 companies since the organization was founded in 1985, and these companies have raised more than $10 billion in capital.
Duane will be sorely missed.
I would first like to thank everyone for your notes and messages and phone calls on my birthday. I am delighted to have lived long enough to see the age of 89, and I do hope that I’ll see 90 too.
I have to be very careful now in getting around so that I don’t fall and break anything. I am grateful that I can still get out on my boat every Friday and go on field trips throughout Southern California each week.
I hope that I am able to witness the America’s Cup competition in San Francisco in September, but I don’t know if I’ll be well enough to make the trip. Hopefully it will be on television too.
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My daughter Mary Ann gave me a very nice surprise while we were at lunch at the Beach and Tennis Club on my birthday: a galley proof of my upcoming book with Mike Daniels, Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions. I am very pleased with the book and I look forward to its official publication in late August, after the final edits and adjustments are made.
I have included photos of Mary Ann giving me the galley proof. If you would like to see a preview of the book, including the foreword by Vint Cerf and the first chapter, please click this link.
I was surprised and saddened by the news that Detroit filed for bankruptcy last week, making it the largest American city to take this step. I was aware that the city has been in decline for many years, but I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten. According to one article I read, Detroit is some $20 billion in debt, 80,000 buildings in the city are either abandoned or seriously blighted, 40 percent of the city’s streetlights are broken, the police force has been cut by 40 percent over the past 10 years, and the average response time for police calls is 58 minutes (the national average is 11 minutes).
I wish I knew what to do to fix the situation. Unfortunately, many years of poor political leadership, the loss of basic city services with a resulting loss of population, and the collapse of the tax base — combined with years of borrowing to cover budget deficits — led to this situation, and it won’t be solved overnight. Some of the best ideas I have heard floated as partial solutions include turning Detroit into a tax-free zone to encourage businesses to locate there, moving federal agencies to the city, and selling off some of Detroit’s most valuable assets.
As many of you know, I lived in the Detroit area when I was a young man, and I witnessed the city in its heyday. It was a sight to behold, and something I’ll never forget. Unfortunately, that just makes it harder for me now to see Detroit in such a sorry state of decline.