Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pulling The Wool Over Our Eyes

My blog this week is about the wonders of wool. No doubt that wool can do more to save energy than my Congresswoman. Donning a wool sweater or wrapping oneself in a wool blanket allows one to turn down the thermostat several degrees. For an example of energy savings let us assume the outside temperature is 40 degrees F (5 degrees C) and we keep our house at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) if we wear a nice wool sweater. If you do not wear that sweater you will keep the house at 72 degrees F (22 degrees C). The heat loss through the windows, walls and roof of the house is proportional to the difference in temperature inside the house minus the temperature outside the house (called the delta T). In our example in case 1 with the sweater on the Delta T is 28 degrees F and in case 2 where we wear no sweater the Delta T is 32. The furnace inside the house has to make up for the heat loss and in our examples the furnace will have to operate at an increased rate of (32-28)/28 when no sweater is worn. This means the furnace will have to work 4/28 or about 14% harder to keep the higher temperature home heated with the implication that your heating bill will be 14% more expensive.

The thermodynamics of heating is a simple proportional and linear relationship between heat loss and Delta T. Driving a car at a faster speed does not increase gasoline use in a simple proportional or linear manner. The rolling resistance of a vehicle is proportional to the velocity but the aerodynamic drag (resistance to passing through the air) is proportional to the third power (cube) of the velocity. Hence the work the engine has to perform and correspondingly the fuel the engine consumes is far greater than 14% when the velocity you travel increases by 14%. This brings me to my main point of the blog that relates to the wonders of wool for our Congress and in particular my Congresswoman. They believe the material is best used for the purpose of pulling it over our eyes. The saying pulling the wool over your eyes goes back almost 200 years and came to us from the Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette in October 1839 "And we ask one question that they dare not firmly answer, whether they are not now making a tolerable attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the people."

The origin of the phrase may well have come from woolen wigs worn by people in olden days and pulling their wigs over their eyes prevented them from seeing what is going on. Well Congresswoman Woolsey my hair is natural and you can’t trick me. I know that you voted to give away my tax dollars for Betamax energy projects that will neither turn down the thermostat nor lower the velocity of travel of the vehicles. All they will do is line the pocket of a few “alternate energy proponents”. Perhaps the Congresswoman and her leadership will take note of this week’s Senatorial election in the Bay State where folks had their eyes wide open and realized the turning right on red may yet save the country some fuel. It is time for the Bay Area to follow the Bay State and realize that after riding a Donkey for sixty years has taken us nowhere. I am not sure an Elephant is any better to ride so let’s get energy independence by being independent. This July 4 will be the 234 anniversary of declaring independence from the King who wore a woolen wig. I expect it is also the beginning of a new era of the American people waking up and realizing that folks in wool suits in DC heat our House of Representatives with hot air that comes from their mouths. I am still waiting to meet with my Congresswoman and seek representation in my House of Representatives. I have been promised by her staff that this year she will be home more often than last. Guess what it is an election year of course she will. Her election catch line may be “Pull the Woolsey Over Your Eyes”. Perhaps I will run against her and mine will be “Be Green Vote Leveen”. I will get one vote for sure.


  1. Two votes. I'm still a Cali resident. I'll vote for you, Lindsay. We need more techies in the house that are fearless and can tell a cogent, clear concise story about the hard science in a manner that can be understood in a manner that doesn't make neurons misfire. You are pragmatic and gifted in this regard.

  2. Thanks Kim I may just do it as Nike said