Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kirtland, K&V and Kooks

Thanks for giving me a week off from blogging duties.  Last weekend allowed me to escape the area for the first time since last November.  Getting away with the Queen was good for both of us, and I certainly felt more like a person than a patient, which, as Martha would say, is a good thing.

We drove West at a leisurely pace to Kirtland, Ohio, near Cleveland on Lake Erie.  It is a place that the Queen has long wanted to visit, since a significant chunk of history from her faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, occurred there.  The Mormons left Palmyra , New York in the early 1830's and were directed to Ohio by divine inspiration.  In Kirtland they built a thriving community and their first temple, which was dedicated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1836.

Smith had no engineering training yet produced plans and blueprints for the temple which was built of wood, stones and stucco, yet stands today.  As an engineer, I found it to be a pretty remarkable piece of work.

At the temple dedication, many witnesses saw the appearance of heavenly personages and felt their temple had been approved by God.

And, as many of you can probably tell, I'm way over my head in Mormon theology, so I'll just continue with the history.  By 1838, over 2000 Church members called Kirtland home, but lawsuits and the failure of the Kirtland Bank caused serious community discord and the Mormons were threatened until they agreed to leave.

Within a year, only 100 remained.

The rest of the LDS community began their movement westward, first to Northern Missouri, a state where the governor declared it legal to kill them on sight, and then to Nauvoo, Illinois where they established a city larger than Chicago.  Eventually, Joseph Smith and his brother were assassinated in the Carthage, Illinois jail and the Mormons were again driven out, this time led by Brigham Young.  After much hardship, they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, where they made the desert bloom like a rose and the Olympics succeed in 2002.

So, after taking care of me for seven months, the Queen deserved a chance to see some of her heritage and I enjoyed it as well.  We even met some LDS missionaries who are from the same congregation in Saint George, Utah as the Queen's brother and sister-in-law.

And, we got the chance to see other neat stuff in northern Ohio, including flea markets and the really quaint town of Gambier which is home to Kenyon College, a small liberal arts school whose campus looks like a movie set from the 1930's.  Great fun!

On a lighter note, on the way back to D.C. I was very concerned as we saw our first set of large scale wind turbines.  In one case, there were eight of them on Pennsylvania hilltops, in another set there were 13.  So why the concern?

Wake up, folks!  The earth turns clockwise, right?  That's why the sun comes up in the East and the weather patterns generally come from the West.  So, if all these new giant wind turbines are facing West (and they are), the turbine blades must be doing more than just spinning electricity - they must also be producing a propeller-like force which is, depending on how the blades are configured, either pushing the Earth to turn faster in a clockwise direction or, alternatively, causing the earth's rotation to slow.

With enough wind turbines facing West, will will eventually spin the globe so fast that days and nights will be only a few hours long OR we will bring the globe to a halt.  In the latter case, you don't want to be either on the dark or the light side, one of which will freeze and the other turn to desert.

Another example of the Law of Unanticipated Consequences!  And, the turbines will eventually take up all the high ground,meaning there's no where for us to go while trying to escape the polar bears!

Get to the high ground quickly, before it is all filled with wind turbines.  I'll see you there.


Anonymous said...

Glad you all had a nice break and got to see and study some history. I totally laughed till I almost fell out of the chair on the turbines. I told you to head to Texas no turbines there just Dorothy inside those huge tornadoes, trying to find Kansas. Glad you had a safe trip you and the Queen look great Jean

Crazy Granny said...

And to think that I just thought those big blades were just really cool big turning things. Now I know better. Sounds like the weekend was great.

The Dragonfly said...

We just passed hills in SoCal that held thousands of those wind turbines. I have to say, it was an awesome sight to behold!

Miss you . . . coming home in two days.

Tobi said...

Sounds like a great trip. Thanks for sharing a little Mormon history. I enjoyed it.

julie said...

It took me so long to figure out how to leave a comment, I forgot my comment. But I am a reader and I even liked the polar bears

julie said...

my other half says:
In the southern hemisphere the wind turbines turn in the other direction, so how does that play? Do you think that balances it out?

Kernal Ken said...

Tell your other half that the Earth is connected at the Equator so that the two halves do not rotate in different directions.
Therefore the prevailing winds in the Southern Hemisphere also come from the West.
You can check all this out on Wikipedia or any other site.
Would be really cool though if , like a Rubik's Cube, Southern hemisphere turned in different direction than Northern.
Heck, the trip to Australia would be really short once a day.