Thursday, January 9, 2014

11 mind blowing facts you never knew about wind turbines and why they should stay

Wind turbine
12 mind blowing facts you never knew about wind turbines

Architectural beauty and a blot on the landscape, wind turbines split opinion but are here to stay. The scramble to find a sustainable and renewable energy source has seen many of these huge structures pop up alongside motorways and in fields.

Using the power of the wind, turbines rotate to generate energy that is then either plumbed directly into storage, into the grid or connect straight through to machinery.

Here are some awesome facts that we’ve put together about wind turbines, a great read whilst you’re having a morning coffee!

Let’s get this show on the road. In no particular order…

  1. By the time we celebrate 2030, U.S wind power will save nearly 30 TRILLION bottles of water. TRILLION. I’ll just let that soak in.

  1. Staying with the U.S theme; at times, wind energy produces as much as 25% of the electricity on the Texas power grid. And Texas is frickin’ huge!

  1. One single wind turbine can generate enough energy to power 500 homes. If you’re electricity bill is £100 per month that means there could be a collective saving of £50,000 PER MONTH. Just imagine what a small village could do with that.

  1. Modern wind turbines now produce over 15 times as much energy as those built in 1990. Because of advances in technology and research, we now have the ability to make lighter metals as seen a huge increase in efficiency.

  1. Unlike nearly all other forms of energy, wind power uses next to no water at all. We’ll add “Save water” to the list of pros for wind turbines!

  1. Due to the lowered cost of manufacturing, wind power is currently the fastest growing source of electricity production in the WORLD.

  1. Google, the worlds largest search engine and biggest companies, has invested $5billion in a new underwater transmission line to connect offshore wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean with 1.9 million households on the East Cost of America.

  1. Wind turbines and harnessing wind power aren’t new. Wind mills have been around since 2000 B.C and were first developed in China and Persia. Although the tech behind it has changed a little since then!

  1. Seguing back to America, wind power is a $10billion a year industry.

  1. 95% of wind turbines are built on private lands and farms. The huge amount of open space that is privately available means that many companies looking to set up wind turbines might find it much easier to go directly to land owners and offer incentives to have one built. As well as free energy, incentives can also include cash lump sums and monthly income. The returns for energy companies are massive, so a relatively small investment is nothing.

  1. Wind turbines don’t have to be gangly or stuff out in a field somewhere. 10kw wind turbines are suitable for schools and can be ideal to lower the utility cost of large buildings

 Regardless of what you think about them, wind turbines will be around to stay. Although they might blot the skyline or be sight-for-sore-eyes, we have to remember the bigger picture and having a renewable energy source literally on tap means we can lower emissions as well as lowering the cost of those ever-rising energy bills!
Spectrum Energy is one of the UKs leading wind turbine and alternative energy installation companies. They offer a large range of services, providing the full project life cycle.
Jason writes articles and produces content for all their marketing material. When he's not nose-deep in a brochure design or poster he's writing short pieces about the energy industry.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

History mystery: Roman Dodecahedron

Roman Dodecahedron-1
A dodecahedra found in Europe has been given the name, Roman Dodecahedron where a total of over hundred objects were found in various European parts of the Roman Empire. These date back to the second or third century CE and were made of stone or bronze resembling geometric shape having twelve flat faces with each face in a pentagon, a five sided shape. Moreover they were also embellished with a number of knobs at each corner point of the pentagon.

Roman Dodecahedron-2
The pentagon faces in most cases contained circular hole in them and were of different size. Some of the Roman dodecahedron was basic in design while others had patterns and markings on them and the dodecahedron which were found in Germany had circular grooves around the hole on the faces. They were between the size of 4 cm and 11 cm and a majority of these objects were found on the territories of France, Switzerland and parts of Germany where the Roman once ruled, though some were also found in Hungary and Great Britain. The use or function of the dodecahedra is unknown since there is no mention of them in any text of pictures of that time. Some are of the opinion that they may have been used as candlestick holders since remnants of wax was found inside one such dodecahedron while others speculate that they could be dice, devices for determining the optimal sowing date for winter grains, survey instruments, or used to calibrate water pipes, and army standard bases.

Roman Dodecahedron-3

Still others suggest that they may have been used for religious purpose artifact of some kind. The famous Greek historian, Plutarch identified the dodecahedron as a vital instruments for zodiac signs, taking into account the twelve sides which represent the twelve animals in the zodiac circle with others debating on the knobs as a means of decoration. Many have been baffled over the purpose and use of the different size hole, the reason of its discoveries all over Europe and not in a concentrated area. One such object found in a woman’s burial ground has given rise to more speculation leading some to believe that they were used as religious artifact probably used in rites derived from Celtic sources and this speculation is based on the fact that most of these objects were found in Gallo Roman sites.

Roman Dodecahedron-4

The Roman dodecahedrons are surely one of the ancient artifacts with their unique beauty, appearance, accompanied with the mystery behind it, thus enhancing its appeal giving rise to speculation among many historian, experts’ and artifact fanatics. Many have made attempts to unravel this baffling mystery each coming up with their own conclusion on its exact usage and function of this amazing ancient object. The fact that the Roman dodecahedron has still not been solved makes it one of the most interesting and appealing ancient artifact ever found and it is quite unlikely that we may ever know the purpose of the creation of this amazing artifact known as Roman Dodecahedron.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Science Mystery: Insight on the Butterfly Effect

Butterfly Effect-1

The term Butterfly effect is a concept invented by the American meteorologist, Edward Lorenz to highlight the possibility of small changes causing momentous effects; in simple term it was used in chaos theory to describe how small changes to unrelated thing or conditions could affect large complex systems. This term is derived from a suggestion in South America, that the flapping of the wings of a butterfly could affect the weather in Texas showing that the tiniest influence on a single part of a system could have an impact on another part. The butterfly effect occur when small event have an exceeding far reaching and a large impact. This term is used because its wings though fragile do not stir much air as they flap but its minute movement does initiate a series of changes which grow eventually causing a large storm thousands of miles away. It implies that large events may be connected to small or even to the minuscule occurrences. The Butterfly effect in other words is a way of describing the concept that unless all factors are accounted for, major systems like the weather tends to become impossible to predict with accuracy due to various unknown variables.

Butterfly Effect-2
This concept of the butterfly was attributed to Edward N. Lorenz, a meteorologist as well as a mathematician who was the first proponents of chaos theory. He studied the concept mathematically and also drew the attention of other meteorologists. He saw meaningful pattern in what seemed to be random events in weather patterns and these ideas contributed to the new science of chaos. One day as he was running global climate model on his computer with the hope to save him some time, ran one model from the middle rather than from the beginning. The process of the two weather predictions, one based on the whole process inclusive of the initial conditions and the other based on a portion of the data with the process which was already half way, diverged drastically. Lorenz was of the belief that the computer models would be identical regardless of where it had started but realized that the two models differed in tiny and unpredictable variations. It was initially used to explain why weather forecast were often inaccurate and initial conditions at times would go unnoticed or were overlooked and these minute conditions were the cause of hurricanes or similar changes in the weather.

This insight regarding the large impact of minor occurrences led to the butterfly effect in many other fields including psychology and explained why predictions at times remained inaccurate. Hence recognizing the importance of initial conditions can bring about improvement in accuracy of scientific predictions. Several biologist, epidemiologist, physicists, ecologist as well as psychologists presently consider the butterfly effect, nonlinear reasoning and chaos while making certain predictions which have proved to be useful in various social and behavioral sciences as well as physical and biological sciences. The butterfly effect is used to explain various unpredictable behaviors and thinking patterns which though may appear to be meaningless can be understood as a result of nonlinear reasoning. This could lead to an understanding of the creative original insights by taking initial perceptive into account and permitting nonlinear cognitive processes leading to valuable insight or solutions to a given problem.

Friday, January 3, 2014

History mystery: The Hidden Truth of Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman Aerial View
Sacsayhuaman is a Quechua word from Saqsay, meaning, `to be full’, while Waman - Hawk and according to researchers meaning `Satiated Hawk’. Sacsayhuaman, one of the greatest stone monuments and the most remarkable architectonic complexes inherited in Inca, Cusco, is considered as the best monument that mankind has ever built. It was the Royal House of the Sun besides many other houses of the sun which existed, namely Coricancha and Poquencancha. These were privileged complexes similar to small cities within the city of Cusco and the most important god worshipped, was the sun besides other deities which were also worshipped. Sacsayhuaman or Sacsahuaman as it is also called is a walled complex near the old city of Cusco located at an altitude of around 12,000 feet. The site is a part of the city of Cusco and in 1983, has been added in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

It contains 200 plus archaeological sites and the archaeological park is at the north of the city of Cusco covering an area of around 3,094 hectares. There are two paved roads leading to Saqsaywaman which begins in the old traditional neighborhood of San Cristobal which is 1.5 km long while the other road which is 4 km long, starts at Avenida Collasuyo. These sites were marked by water forming their own territorial domains which had arrived through underground canals along with many houses. Some researchers are of the opinion that they belonged to one or many clans. Sacsayhuaman was built with the formation of stones smartly placed together in order to protect the city of Cusco. It was presumed to be completed around 1508 and took a crew of around 20,000 to 30,000 men who worked for 60 years.

The rampart or the wall was the most attractive section which was built of huge carved limestone boulders having a broken line facing the main plaza named Chuquipampa, a slope of about 25 angles along with 60 walls. The first wall of the biggest carved boulder weighed 70 tons and was brought from the Sisicancha quarry which is around three km away. Each of these walls is made up of 10 fronts while the most important ones are Achuanpunku, Tiupunku, Rumipunco and Viracocha punku. This monument has an amazing structure where the stones fit perfectly without the presence of any mortar and no steel or blade of grass can slide between the stones. Scientist are of the opinion that the masonry could have worked after carving the desired shape out of the first boulder and then fitting it in its desired place and the masons could have suspended the second boulder on scaffolding next to the previous boulder. They could have also traced out a pattern on the proceeding boulder to plan an appropriate jigsaw shape which would fit the shape in perfect place. Plenty of hard work in shaping and fitting the boulder in place could have been done by using a straight stick with a hanging plum bob, to trace the edges and then marking off the correct point and carving to fit it on the next boulder. On tracing the desired pattern, they could have sculpt the stone into a proper shape with hand sized stones pounding it to get the general shape before using finger sized stones for accuracy.

The walls found are around the areas of Cusco and the Urubamba River Valley in Peruvian Andes though a few are scattered in other areas of Andes. These structures are unique and beyond our understanding, baffling modern man who are neither capable to duplicate or explain on this amazing monument. The remains of the three walls indicate that the walls were made with lime stones which were used to build the foundation or the base while the main walls were made of blackish igneous stones or andesites, the quarries of which are in Waqoto on the northern mountain area of San Jeronimo or 35 km in Rumiqolqa from the city.

The Sacsayhuaman destruction lasted around 400 years since 1536 when a war broke out against the Spaniards and Manko Inka sheltered himself in this structure. At a later stage, the first conquerors began using these stones to build their houses in the city and subsequently in 1559, the city’s Church Council ordered to take them for construction of the Cathedral. Till 1930, the neighbors of Qosqo could take the stones they needed to build their houses in the city by paying a small fee and with four centuries of destruction; this complex was used as a quarry by the colonial city’s stone masons in their building structures. Archaeologists relate that the walls of Sacsayhuaman rose to around ten feet higher than their remnants and additional ten feet of stones supplied the building material for the cathedrals. It is presumed that the upper part of the walls which were small regularly shaped stones were the only part of Sacsayhuaman built by the Incas and completed in 1508 which could explain the reason why no one at the time of the conquest seemed to know about the structure of the mighty walls.

The History of the SA80

The SA80 which stands for Small Arms for the 1980’s, is a British Army small arms weapon that has a great deal of controversy surrounding it. Because of the controversy of the SA80, it is a weapon that many like to acquire. The SA80 came with a host of problems, even though it was designed to solve the problems that the British Army was having with its weapons.

Shortly after the development and adoption of the SA80, problems began showing up. When the original SA80 weapons were brought out, there were balance problems, cocking handle problems, issues with the shoulder-butt strap, hard trigger issues and then to put the icing on the cake, the weapon was demonstrated having tape wrapped around the bipod so the legs would not accidentally spring open and injuring the holder. So many manufacturing defects showed up when the weapon was put in service, and it was not until one production line closed and another one began making the weapon, using computer controlled systems that the problems began to improve. Quality jumped and the weapons begin to gain a better reputation and the issues were fixed.

By the 90’s the SA80 would see serious combat for the first time. Unexpected problems came into play at that time because of weather. Unpredictable climate conditions exacerbated already known issues with the weapon. Even after careful scrutiny, it seemed the weapon was not going to make it through the dirt and grime of the Gulf and problem after problem with the magazine kept popping up. Overall the SA80 was a very accurate weapon but just needed some tender care to maintain its technology. Even with the many defects, the performance was good enough to keep it in service.

The end of the 90’s brought many fixes that were ones that were “quick-fixes” and some of the developers tried and tried to get the rifle to malfunction but were unable to do so. Round after round showed a reliable weapon and boosted confidence in the quality. Fix after fix came and eventually most all the problems were eradicated. The biggest, positive move was to get a new production line that could keep up with the technology.

The history of the SA80 was very involved and convoluted. Under normal conditions the SA80 would have surly been thrown out with the first set of problems. Each time the SA80 came out of productions more and more fixes had been worked on. The British Army and the Royal Marines Regiment were able to be equipped with the assault rifle.

Reliability in the rifle began to grow, even in the most adverse weather and environment conditions. More than twenty years after the first rifle was introduced and issued, the SA80 has grown and developed and is now a SA80A2 which satisfies the needs of the Army. The rifle lived through unbelievable scrutiny and political pressures. The SA80 was thought to be so fragile that it could not withstand combat but has adapted to the needs and modified accordingly.

Today the SA80 has been sought after by gun enthusiasts and it is coming up in the world of BB guns. The SA80 is now created to have the same look as the rifle that is issued to the British Armed Forces and can almost pass as the real weapon. Even the cocking of the gun makes the genuine chunking sound that its real counterpart makes. Every time the BB SA80 Gun is fired you will have to cock it again by hand. The SA80 BB gun is truly a fun gun to play with and very realistic.