Cashel Goodlette Accompanies Author on Book Tour

Dr. Cashel Goodlette, PhD Oceanography, has agreed to accompany Phillip Douglas, the author of Spirit Made Smaller, on several book promotion tours over the next several months to Montana, Alaska, and around the Seattle, Washington/Puget Sound area. When not assessing the Bering Sea for the US National Geological Survey whenever aboard the NOAA maritime vessel, Miller Freeman R-223, Dr. Goodlette is an academic professor in Anchorage, Alaska. Several of his research endeavors that separate out the scientific truths from the pseudoscientific claims proffered on climate change have been carefully incorporated by Phillip Douglas into Spirit Made Smaller.

Upcoming book signing events are:
— Saturday, September 6, 2014, from noon to 3 PM, at the Barnes&Noble on 31325 Pacific
Highway S., Federal Way, WA 98003;
— Friday, September 26, 2014, from 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM, at the Pacific Northwest
Booksellers Association Tradeshow in the Hotel Murano on 1320 Broadway Plaza,
Tacoma, WA (This is a restricted event.);
— Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 10:30 AM to noon, at Fact & Fiction Books For All Ages,
on 227 N. Higgins, Missoula, MT 59802;
— Tuesday, October 14, 2014, time TBD, at the Barnes&Noble in Fairbanks, AK.
— Other locations and times for book signing/reading events are being negotiated at this
time. Once they become known, they will be posted on this website.

For more on how to determine true science from pseudoscience or for information regarding the unintentional consequences that can result from the medical-industrial-complex whenever it is mitigated by grand-scale profit motives, please visit Spirit Made Smaller.

Earth Is The Water Planet — Name Change, Anyone?

Water, not land, is the overwhelming feature of our world. 70.9% of the earth’s surface is covered by water; nearly all of it is salty and only 3% is fresh water. Of all this water, humans can directly use just 0.3%, and most goes into large scale operations such as irrigation and electric power generation.

At home, the average US citizen consumes almost 100 gallons of water each day — toilet flushing is the largest single use. In contrast, half of India’s population — 620 million individuals — has no access to a working toilet or latrine. They defecate outside in the streets or countryside.

Water exists in three forms: solid, liquid, and gas. Glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are reported to hold over half of the earth’s fresh water. The oceans are almost as old as the planet itself and have stayed the same in terms of volume and chemistry for the past 600 million years despite their containers, the ocean basins, being altered due to shifting tectonic plates — otherwise known as continental drift. And our atmosphere contains more water as gaseous vapor — humidity and clouds — than all the rivers on earth combined.

Carbon-based life requires liquid water to exist.

Although our planet and its oceans were formed 4.5 billion years ago, it was not until 3.5 to 2.0 billion years ago that oceanic life forms had developed chlorophyll. From the cyanobacteria and other early photosynthesizers did the processes commence that emitted oxygen into the atmosphere, and around 600 million years ago oxygen concentration finally reached 20%, sufficient to support land-based life. Prior to then, those parts of continents extending above sea level had remained de facto sterile. Thus, marine life had created the atmosphere we know today, and it had set the stage for life’s evolution onto land.

Water is special. Its properties are universal, yet one in particular needs emphasis in light of the current debate about climate change: water possesses the second highest heat retention capacity of any molecule. Only ammonia has a higher ability to hold on to heat. One molecule of water vapor retains 90 times as much heat compared to one molecule of carbon dioxide. Therefore, water vapor is the most potent greenhouse gas in our atmosphere; not methane, not ozone, not CO2 or other molecules.

The trinity of water forms — ice, liquid, and vapor — has fundamentally shaped all physical and organic existences on our globe as well as the evolution of carbon-based life. Our planet Earth orbits our sun between the planets Venus and Mars. Humans christened the planets…perhaps we now know enough about our origins so that we should rename our unique sphere…the Planet Water. Our existence utterly would not have happened without water.

For those who might be interested, within the novel, Spirit Made Smaller, there is much more about alternate theories on climate change and carbon-based evolution predicated upon DNA’s double helix, and how both combined to shape our very essence.

EBOLA Not Spread By Airborne Droplets — Yet Can Spread By Airplanes

Over a week ago, a traveler infected with Ebola virus boarded an airplane to Lagos, Nigeria, and became ill in flight. He died five days after landing. Could he have infected others on the aircraft and later in Nigeria? That depends …

First some background on Ebola virus:
— It is believed that Ebola exists naturally among certain species of fruit bats. The virus has also been found in wild antelope, porcupines, and primates. In 1989, an outbreak of Ebola occurred among monkeys imported to the United States from the Philippines.
— Five subtypes of Ebola virus are known to exist; four cause disease to humans.
— The incubation period varies between 2-21 days. Most infected patients show symptoms at 8-9 days after direct exposure to contaminated blood, vomit, body wastes, or secretions.
— The initial symptoms are sudden fever, intense weakness, sore throat, and headache. Profuse vomiting and diarrhea follow 1-2 days later.
— Bleeding from the nose and mouth, skin blisters containing blood, and signs of kidney and/or liver failure are dire developments that suggest severe internal bleeding. Patients with such fulminating courses die within 7-10 days.
— Ebola is NOT 100 PERCENT FATAL! Those who survive beyond two weeks have a better prognosis for survival.

The virus is transmitted whenever one has sufficient, unprotected, direct contact with the blood or secretions — saliva, vomit, diarrhea, sweat, tears, semen, any skin opening or healing wound — of an infected person. There are higher concentrations of virus in vomit, blood, and diarrhea compared to saliva, sweat, and tears. Risk of spreading the infection to others during the incubation period is low, yet it increases once symptoms commence and will become highest during the late stages of illness when the victim is vomiting, having diarrhea, or bleeding. Patients who acquire the infection through contaminated syringes and needles almost always die. And transmission even through semen has been reported to have occurred seven weeks after recovery.

In past Ebola epidemics, as well as the current one in Africa, those who have contracted the disease were primarily family members and health care workers caring for infected patients. Also, family members who handle corpses at the time of burial, and those who eat fruit bats or antelope could acquire the infection.

Public health measures such as screening all suspected patients, isolating those afflicted and tracing their contacts, and employing universal barrier precautions and strict equipment decontamination protocols will disrupt the spread of the virus. Authorities must not underestimate the worldwide mobility potential of people incubating the illness in African areas where Ebola outbreaks begin. Disinfection of public areas such as restrooms is imperative. Even sexual intercourse by recovered individuals should be restricted for three months or until semen can be shown to be free of virus.

Unfortunately, at this time a properly vetted vaccine — one proven in clinical trials to make a difference and result in more protective good than harm — is still under development. ZMAPP, a mixture of three antibodies harvested from tobacco plants, has been administered to two American health care workers in the hope it will aid their recovery. No one knows if the amounts of ZMAPP given were the correct dosages — even worse, could it make the recipients feel worse or die faster?

Utmost, the treatment of Ebola patients requires close supervision and intensive care. The challenge is to provide this support while minimizing the risk of infection to other patients and medical personnel. Patients require rapid hospitalization to access the around-the-clock attention that is geared toward preventing trauma to their fragile circulatory systems.

A treatment guideline not often mentioned in Ebola patient management is the enforcement of a restriction on air transportation of patients because of the effects of drastic changes in ambient air pressure on lung water balance when ascending from ground level into the diminished aircraft pressures of approximately 8,000 feet. This complication may have occurred to the passenger who had become symptomatic while on the flight to Lagos, Nigeria, and contributed to his death five days later.

A second management pearl to always keep in mind for Ebola caregivers is that secondary infections, especially malaria, are common and should be sought and aggressively treated.

So … did the ill passenger on the flight to Nigeria spread the infection to others on board or possibly at his destination later? Is Ebola virus in any community just a plane ticket and a toilet seat away?

Whenever humans are involved in potentially lethal situations, mistakes will happen.

For more examples on public health management strategies regarding epidemics such as HIV, SARS, polio, and Hepatitus C, please visit Spirit Made Smaller and look up how the character, Jennelle Daniels, managed those pathogens.

Connect Veterans Health Affairs with the Affordable Care Act

Congress finally got something done! The three-year, $17 Billion fix to the tragic holes in VA medical system should be considered only an initial step on the long journey to evolve the VA’s medical support for the great men and women who have fought America’s battles to defend our country. The most expensive part of this temporary fix is the care provision for certain patients — those who either live more than 40 miles from a veteran’s facility or who face a wait time of more than 30 days for an appointment. This pigeon-holed, private care band-aid will still be coordinated by the Veteran’s Department, most likely as a limited voucher benefit.

In fairness, all injuries and illnesses sustained while serving our country should be fully treated and compensated, just like the illnesses and injuries suffered on the job by any civilian employee through his or her worker’s compensation program.

With the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we should now look on the VA in a new light and catch it up to speed with the private medical health care system: VA should broaden its intrinsic brick-and-mortar facility approach to veteran’s health care and, in essense, allow each military veteran the option to enroll with an ACA-certified insurance program — and the VA would pay each veteran’s annual premium equivalent to the level of at least a Silver ACA plan. Thus, the VA “vouchers” the entire ACA system at the Silver threshold; the individual veteran has the option to readily seek medical care near home or may still choose to travel to a VA facility for appointments. To encourage each Vet to show his or her “Veteran’s Silver Choice” card at the nearest VA medical facility and not at a private clinic or hospital, the deductable and co-pays for the Silver plan would be waived at the VA facility.

So each VA health facility would become part of every state’s ACA network for those in-state residents who have honorably served our country. If not already done, each VA medical facility would strive for ACA certification and guarantee prompt, accountable care for its covered patients within each state’s approved ACA network. This in-state competition with the other private sector Silver ACA insurance network plans would thoroughly safeguard top quality, timely care. Our Vets would no longer be lost in a bureaucratic dark place.

Improving the access, accountibility, and quality of VA health care will increase the overall medical cost for this deserving population of beneficiaries, because whenever access and/or quality in health care increases, costs go up as well. For a unique perspective on why this dynamic always takes place, please visit the relevant chapters in the newly released novel, Spirit Made Smaller, by Phillip Douglas.


What follows is a short game of Bush Pilot Trivia — the same Spirit Made Smaller game Graywood and his son, Bobby, played whenever they were flying in their airplane, Seneca.  Imagine this Q & A taking place between father and son as they approached the Seven Sisters to land Seneca on its tarn.

How and why Graywood created the game is described in Spirit Made Smaller.


(One Point)      What does “Denali” mean in the Athabascan language?

A. The High One     B. The Cloud Catcher     C. The Great One     D. Both A. & C.

(Two Points)    What daring feat was performed by the Black Wolf Squadron in 1920?

(Three Points)  Who holds the record for flying an airplane on the coldest day recorded in the most northern “city” in North America?


Answers: 1 pt. (D.); 2 pt. (The Army Air Corps flew four d’Havilland DH-4bs from New York to Nome to demonstrate how aviation could link the eastern seaboard to Siberia via Alaska.); 3 pt. (Noel Wien, Feb 1932, -65 F, McGrath, AK).



(One Point)     Who performed in a flying circus as a barnstormer in the lower 48 before becoming an Alaskan bush pilot and ultimately President of Cordova Airlines?

A. Merle “Mudhole” Smith     B. Stephen E. Mills     C. Charlie Rutton     D. Carl Ben Eielson

(Two Points)    Who was the first to fly across the Arctic Ocean from Point Barrow, Alaska to Spitsbergen, Norway?

A. Matthew Vail     B. Carl Ben Eielson     C. Noel Wien     D. Dixon Warren Ervin

(Three Points)  What year did the first Alaska-Norway flight occur?

A. 1926     B. 1928     C. 1931     D. 1933


Answers: 1 pt. (A.); 2 pt. (B.); 3 pt. (B.).



(One Point)     Large balloon-like landing tires are called what?

A. Cushion Tires     B. Bollo Tires     C. Compression Tires     D. Tundra Tires

(Two Points)    Who was the first pilot to fly across the Bering Strait?

A. Shelton Simmons     B. Jack Waterworth     C. Noel Wien     D. Dixon Warren Ervin

(Three Points)  At all costs, why must any single-engine plane avoid a tip up into a sand bar or snow bank?


Answers: 1 pt. (D.); 2 pt. (C.); 3 pt. (It could render the propeller useless).



(One Point)     The most important action about flying is what?

A. Do not directly fly into the sun     B. The take off     C. The landing     D. The GPS connection

(Two Points)    Name the bush pilot who flew Doctor Sutherland and vaccine from village to village to quell a 1928 smallpox outbreak in Alaska?

A. Bob Ellis     B. Noel Wien     C. Hubert Wilkins     D. Robert C. Reeve

(Three Points)  Before starting the airplane’s engine on a very cold Alaskan morning, what do you do first?


Answers: 1 pt. (C.); 2 pt. (B.); 3 pt. (Warm up the engine before take off by draping a canvas tarp over the aircraft’s nose and engine to retain the heat in the engine oil that’s been pre-heated in a plumbers pot or an equivalent container.).




3—9   points:   NEED TO STUDY HARDER.

10–14  points:   GOOD EFFORT.


20–23 points:   FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR.

24    points:   BUSH PILOT!



I have been in northern Europe for the past three weeks.  For over half that time I cruised Norway’s fjords and inlets — I could not help but compare them to those which grace Alaska’s southeastern panhandle.  A very simple description would be this: numerous waterfalls descend into Norwegian fjords while tidewater glaciers calve into the Alaskan ones.  As a rule of thumb, a Norwegian fjord is as deep as the surrounding mountains are high.  Not so for many Alaskan inlets where their glacial slabs of ice crash into the sea … with awesome sounds!

Along several Norwegian fjords at water level are many salmon and rainbow trout fish farms.  Often, small pastoral farms terrace up the mountain sides with apple and pear orchards displayed in neat rows wherever more level patches of ground exist.

Alaskan fjords with their tidewater glaciers lack any significant, permanent human presence because of the massive flowing ice hazards.  In fact, only certain sized ships are allowed into many inlets: for example, only two cruise lines have permission to sail Glacier Bay.

Glaciers play a pivoted role in Spirit Made Smaller.  For more background on tidewater glaciers and how to land a small airplane on them, please take a pass through the relevant chapters in Spirit Made Smaller.

I also spent five days in Amsterdam to research the settings for the middle third of my next novel.  I located the ideal house on Prinsengracht (‘gracht’ means canal in Dutch) in which I hope to tell how a Rembrandt etching was hidden and then rediscovered.  I recommend anyone who visits Amsterdam to view the exhibits at the Rembrandt House Museum on Jodenbreestraat.  I was fortunate to observe how an etching was made and how a picture was printed from it employing seventeenth century methods.

The Pacific Northwest Writers Association is holding its annual conference at the SEATAC Hilton Conference Center on July 17-20, 2014.  I am one of the selected authors who will autograph copies of their books at the Friday evening, July 18th, sponsored book signing event.  Hope to see you there!


In the novel, Spirit Made Smaller, most of the settings occur in Anchorage, Alaska.  I’ve selected a handful of facts for readers who may wish to know more regarding this city and its environment.

Anchorage sits along the coast of Cook Inlet at the base of the Chugach Mountains.  It is as far north as Helsinki, Finland and as far west as Honolulu, Hawaii.  In 1778, while searching for the elusive Northwest Passage, Captain James Cook explored the waterway that downtown Anchorage now borders — the Cook Inlet.  When his ships had reached another dead end at the southern arm of this channel, he named it “Turnagain” because the vessels had to “turn” around “again.”

Mudflaps encompass the tidelands beneath Turnagain Arm.  At low tide, the inlet is nearly void of water, and the mudscape appears serene and solid … BUT IT’S NOT!  THESE MUDFLATS BEHAVE LIKE QUICKSAND!  Intrepid mudflat walkers have perished when trapped, unable to free their legs — tragically drowned by the incoming tide.  (Note to crime writers: consider a mudflap drowning as a novel means behind a murder.)

Nearly 300,000 people live within the city limits, and close to a hundred languages are spoken in the Anchorage School District.  There are 19 hours, 21 minutes of daylight in summer; yet only five hours, 28 minutes in winter.  The average July temperature is 58.4F; in January, 14.9F.  Average snowfall is 69 inches.

Anchorage has more than 120 miles of paved bike and multi-use trails and 85 miles of summer non-paved hiking paths.  In winter, residents enjoy more than 130 miles of plowed walkways and over 100 miles of groomed trails — 24 miles that are lighted.  Anchorage’s Kincaid Park is certified for international Nordic ski competitions.

Besides Anchorage being the starting point for the annual Iditarod dogsled race every March, another main winter attraction is viewing the Aurora Borealis from September to mid-April.  The best conditions are clear, moonless nights away from city lights when high magnetic activity is forecast.  Auroras result when charged particles from the sun stream into the earth’s upper atmosphere.  The earth’s magnetic field channels this “solar wind” toward the poles where they strike molecules of atmospheric gas and make them glow, producing the aurora.  The color of auroras depends on which gas molecules are being excited and varies by altitude: ionized nitrogen at 250 miles above the earth = violet; juiced up oxygen atoms at 185 miles = red; charged nitrogen and oxygen at 65 miles = red and green.

Berry picking has always been a summertime attraction around Anchorage.  In “Spirit Made Smaller,” the main character, Gharrett Graywood, and his son, Bobby, often went to Hatcher Pass, a large blueberry picking spot north of the city.  They’d drive 43 miles north on the Glenn Highway and turn west onto Palmer-Fishhook Road.  They entered prime blueberry picking country once this road to Hatcher Pass elevated above the tree line.

Closer to home, Graywood and Bobby also gathered wild berries at Prospect Heights, Chugach State Park.  The park’s entrance can be reached by taking Upper O’Malley Road to Prospect Drive.  In the wooded areas along the trails they’d first discover lowbush and highbush cranberries, trailing raspberries, and currants.  As they proceeded toward Wolverine Peak, they’d find ample blueberries hugging the alpine slopes.

The find more locations and events around Anchorage, please visit those described in “Spirit Made Smaller.”


A solid interpretation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics explains that two adjacent systems in contact with each other tend to equalize their temperatures, pressures, and densities.  For example, when a hot piece of metal is lowered into a tank of cool water, the metal cools and the water warms until each is at the same temperature.  Heat does not transfer spontaneously from a cool body to a hotter body.

Closer to the center of our planet, the temperature of the earth’s iron-nickel core is equivalent to that on the surface of our sun.  This heat is generated by radioactive and gravitational forces, and it thermodynamically diffuses via convection currents toward and through the earth’s crust: the hotter, liquid rock of the upper mantle flows below rigid tectonic plates, releasing heat as it rises and falling as it cools; magma plumes rising from the mantle also feed volcanoes as well.

The earth is a water planet; 71% of its surface is covered by ocean.  For nearly all the 4.5-billion-year history of the planet, the ocean itself has also been around.  Plate tectonics–the motion and evolution of earth’s outer layers–would not exist if it were not for the convection currents within the mantle and the ocean and on the surface of the planet.  Plate tectonics are driven by the convective heat loads released from the core of the earth.  This core heat is ultimately the cause behind earthquakes and continental drift.

Outer space is the greatest heat sink, not the ocean.  Yet the ocean processes the huge quantities of heat generated from the planet’s core and the energy also received from the sun which, when combined, are then radiated into the universe while the earth turns.  Ultimately, the ocean controls the climate via the distribution of heat energy on the earth’s surface.  As the overall heat content of the ocean changes, warmer or cooler, the surface climate consequently shall so vary as well.

There are only two major sources of heat that the ocean dissipates: solar energy partially absorbed through the atmosphere and the energy liberated from the planet’s interior which flows through the mantle into the earth’s crust and beyond.  Significant incoming solar radiation is estimated to be reflected back into space by the planet’s upper atmosphere, yet core heat exiting from the earth’s center into outer space is rarely considered being of merit by mankind unless you employ a geothermal source to warm your home as is often done in Iceland.  Why?  Are our brains so biased upward toward the sun and away from the center of our planet … away from its smaller version of the sun right below us cooking our collective feet?

Mid-ocean ridges and smaller rises between the tectonic plates connect all the oceans–60,000 km of geologic DNA smokestakes and seams churning and belching heat, carbon dioxide, methane, and other chemical compounds.  The earth’s seafloor is in flux, constantly being remade: all the ocean floor being created must have an equal amount of ocean floor destruction–recycled back into the earth’s mantle.  In fact, ocean basins have completely recycled over 20 times throughout earth’s existence with resultant topographic and bathymetric variations–e.g., 125,000 years ago the sea water elevation was 4-6 meters higher than today.

So what does our sea bottom look like?  No one really knows in detail.  The moon is better mapped than our ocean’s deep sea floor.  Light and radar cannot penetrate the water, yet the underwater speed of sound is a constant at 1,500 meters/second.  Echo-sounding using multi-beam bathymetry is the best method, but it’s very labor intensive … and only 10% of the ocean floor has been mapped so far by this gold standard technology.  So … how many active seabed volcanoes remain undetected? Nearly all the planet’s volcanoes are on the seafloor, and how many are actively spewing heat, carbon dioxide, and sulfur?  Furthermore, how much ocean acidification comes from the mid-ocean ridges and seabed volcanic eruptions … a little, some, or nearly all?

We do know these ocean volcanoes (also called black smokers) and the heat released by the mid-ocean ridges are the basaltic backbones for unique ecosystems that are based on chemical reactions resulting from the energy, CO2, and methane coming out of the earth.  These hydrothermal vent systems have temperatures as high as 300-450 degrees , and they support the chemosynthesis which uses chemical energy to make the carbohydrates necessary to create life without photosynthesis.  Chemosynthetic organisms feast upon hydrocarbons seeping out of the ocean floor … e.g., rift tubeworms can become three meters in length!

Cashel Goodlette, a character in the newly released novel, Spirit Made Smaller, would argue: “Next to the speed of light being constant throughout the universe, the Second Law of Thermodynamics holds the supreme position among the laws of Nature.  If your theory is found to be against the Second Law of Thermodynamics, I can give you no hope and nothing else but to collapse with it into pseudoscience and its humiliation.”  For more background and details on Goodlette’s revolutionary theories regarding climate change, check out Chapters Four and Five in Spirit Made Smaller.

No one knows how much climate change is due to the heat released from the earth’s core into the ocean and then into outer space.  Could a 1.0% increase in the energy from the planet’s center create a 1.0 degree C increase in our global surface temperatures?  Until planetary core heat releases are accurately determined and accounted for, any computer model on climate change based predominently, or worse, exclusively on solar and atmospheric measurements is useless and collapses into humiliation.

Veteran’s Administration Medical Care — ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL

Military veterans have placed their lives in peril for our country, yet their access to VA medical facilities is, in essence, rationed by wait times, geographic location, and gender.

Military veterans can relocate freely from state to state.  Many do so and often migrate to areas with warmer climates such as Arizona and Florida.  Consequently, the demographics of the veteran population that a VA facility supports shall vary over time and location.  It is imperative that each VA hospital know the updated eligible numbers, age distributions, disability levels, and gender proportions of the veterans within its support area that it can expect to serve and, therefore, modify and build the outpatient and inpatient treatments needed in support of our veterans’ health.  Often that support mission extends across an entire state because many veterans reside hundreds of miles from a VA facility, especially those living in rural areas.

Two changes in VA medical benefit availability, one starting several decades ago and the other recent, have compounded the access debacle within the VA: the increase in the number of female veterans and the advent of Obamacare.  Women requiring acute and long term care are relatively new to the VA system.  It takes years to mold all the effective medical managements for the unique disease conditions they experience over time — not all VA facilities are equal to the task in doing so.

The recent requirement for every American to have health care insurance has also strained VA access.  Many veterans have shifted away from the federal and state run health exchanges, and instead, they have listed the VA as their sole medical provider in order to meet the Obamacare mandate to have health insurance.

The bottom line is this: A top down, one size fits all approach to VA medical care across the country will not work.  The varying demands for care and the available resources are too often mismatched and constantly changing state by state, area by area.  Thus, some VA medical support must be farmed out to the local civilian medical organizations where the veteran lives because the geographic maldistribution of VA resources will continue to occur … eg., there are no VA hospitals to speak of in rural areas where significant numbers of veterans reside.

One potential solution could employ Obamacare as an answer to the dismal access problem that our veterans suffer — each veteran is given the choice to enroll into a Gold or Platinum ACA exchange plan with the VA paying the entire annual premium.

For another view toward comprehending health care systems and how medical care is rationed by cost, quality and access, please see the appropriate chapters in the newly released novel, Spirit Made Smaller, by Phillip Douglas.

About the Author

Phillip F. Douglas is a retired military physician who has served throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. A Montana native, he presently divides his time as a public health consultant and studies private forest environmental management and Hawaiian culture.