Electricity Show

I’m guessing many of you readers saw the ‘Sunday’ programme last Sunday. (Would be silly if were on another day of the week). Carlos Van Camp, the guy with the lightning show, was pretty impressive. What was refreshing was how the whole piece was presented without mangling the science, which is something that media are […]

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Momentum conservation

It’s mid-semester break here at Waikato so I have time to breathe and get back to things other than teaching, such as seeing what the PhD students are up to. Yay. But, here’s a comment about what I was talking about last week with the first year students: conservation of momentum. If you look in […]

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Hot air rises

Well, we have now moved into our new house. We moved last Friday, mostly dodging the heavy showers that have been marauding around the country for the last week. We are slowly unpacking – the place is looking a lot tidier now than it did at the weekend, but it will take a while to […]

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Electricity and heat

There’s an advert that’s well-featured on the television at the moment for a plug-in wall-mounted heater.  As part of the advert, the product is described as ‘efficient’.  Now, I’m not at all saying that these heaters aren’t a good purchase, but a bit of physics tells me that this statement about efficiency doesn’t really mean very […]

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Troublesome Turbines

I’ve been reading in theUK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper in the last couple of days about the troublesome position the UK’s wind turbines are in. As well as being noisy and (according to some) ugly, there are big problems with managing their power output. Apparently, the average wind turbine is shut down for about 25 days each year […]

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Carbon dioxide or methane?

Here’s something I learned last night at Cafe Scientifique from one of our chemists, Chris Hendy. Lake Rotorua produces a significant amount of methane. It just bubbles up to the surface from below. We could harvest it, and fuel a small power station; enough to provide energy to a small town.  "But Oh No" – […]

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Kinetic and Potential Energy

I read last week an electronics magazine article about developments in electric aircraft. Yes – for real – the aviation industry is not confined to using truck loads of fossil fuel to get from A to B. The article got off to a bad start by using the word ‘electric’ with the phrase ‘reduced greenhouse […]

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