This column will be short and sweet for reasons that will soon
become apparent. About 40 years ago, my wife and I took our
first trip to Hawaii, my favorite place in the world that I’ve
experienced. While there, one song that we heard on all the
islands fit in perfectly with the mellow mood we found in the
Hawaii of the 1960s. The song was “Tiny Bubbles” and the
singer was a fellow we had never heard of by the name of Don
Ho. On a subsequent visit, we saw Don Ho perform in person.
To this day any time I hear “Tiny Bubbles” it reminds me of why
I love Hawaii. Don Ho passed away this past week.
Tiny bubbles also bring to mind Rusi Taleyarkhan. I first wrote
about Taleyarkhan in my column of 3/21/2002. He was then at
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and claimed to have achieved
nuclear fusion in tiny collapsing bubbles. If true, there was the
hope that this could mean the possibility of helping to solve the
world’s energy crisis. However, coming after the widely
publicized debacle known as “cold fusion”, there was naturally
skepticism about Taleyarkhan’s claim of “bubble fusion”. I’ve
written about some of the controversy in several columns since
then (3/24/04, 3/16/05 and 3/29/06). In 2004 he moved full time
to Purdue University, where things got rather rough. Some of his
colleagues complained that he obstructed their experiments and
tried to squelch publication of results that conflicted with his
There was even a charge that Taleyarkhan was involved in
scientific fraud, obviously a very serious charge. However,
according to an article by Robert Service in the February 16 issue
of Science, Purdue officials announced that after completing an
investigation they had cleared Taleyarkhan of any scientific
misconduct. The officials refused to release details of their
investigation. Today, the issue of whether or not nuclear fusion
was attained in tiny bubbles remains up in the air. Some workers
claim to have confirmed that there is fusion; others have done
experiments contradicting such claims. I personally have my
doubts about bubble fusion but would be overjoyed if it’s real
and might help to solve the energy problem.
Personally, this week I’ve had a much more immediate problem
with the Nor’easter that hammered New Jersey and is still
causing major flooding as I post this column. This was one storm
that lived up to its advance publicity. While our town didn’t
suffer major flooding, we did get a ton of rain. Sunday night I
spotted trickles of water starting to come through our basement
walls and put down some towels to staunch the flow. This did
the trick with I believe it was hurricane Floyd some years ago.
After laying the towels, I went upstairs. When I came down a
mere 15 minutes later, our basement and rec room were flooded
in about 2 inches of water!
Sunday night through about 6 AM Monday morning, I may have
met all the members of our local fire department as they pumped
out the rising waters on three separate occasions using both
electric and gas-powered pumps. The water reached a maximum
depth of 6 inches in spite of their prompt responses to my calls.
It was an educational experience. I learned that the pumps the
firemen use don’t pump out water below a certain depth and
when they departed we were left with about an inch to deal with.
I then learned about water damage restoration services from the
They sucked up most of the water with an industrial size vacuum
device and, as I post this column, our basement is host to four
large movers of air and an industrial size dehumidifier, all of
which have been running full blast for two days. Our hot water
heater is back on but it appears that our washer, dryer and a small
freezer are casualties of the flooding. Oh well, I realize that our
problems pale beside those of residents living in Bound Brook,
Manville and other towns that truly are suffering.
Oh, I almost forgot. While pumping out the water, one of the
firemen pointed out a hairline crack where there were tiny
bubbles coming up from beneath the floor. This he said was
evidence of water coming up from below the floor. I much
prefer the tiny bubbles of Don Ho. Aloha.
Allen F. Bortrum