Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for September 21st, 2022

New wind turbine concept

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Jesus Diaz writes in Fast Company:

The type of wind turbine you’re used to seeing in stock photos of wind farms is called a horizontal axis wind turbine (or, HAWT). But there is another form of wind power, called a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT), in which the blades rotate on an axis perpendicular to Earth’s surface. This type of turbine can work better in unstable wind conditions because they don’t need to be pointed into the wind, but still produce much less electricity and durability problems because of the force the wind exerts on them. That’s why you would only see VAWTs in small applications, like homes, and HAWTs in wind power farms.

But a new company claims to have improved on the VAWT design. The invention could create a turbine with a maximum output of 40 megawatts, far surpassing the 15 megawatts of the world’s current largest turbine. That company is called World Wide Wind, a Norwegian startup. The Norwegians—rich, thanks to their oil and gas reserveswant to dramatically increase their wind energy production to 30.000 megawatts by 2040. Their industry’s interest in offshore wind energy is so big that there is a waiting list to test new technologies off its coast, which is on the incredibly windy shores of the North Sea.

In June 2021, company founder Stian Valentin Knutsen wondered if it would be possible to have two sets of rotor blades on a single turbine mast, making them rotate in opposite directions. “The idea was to increase the energy output of the vertical turbines while simultaneously eliminating the increased torsional forces and the inherent problems associated with upscaling traditional HAWTs for increased energy outputs,” company spokesperson Elsbeth Tronstad told me via email. Knutsen looked for scientists to test the possibilities and finally met Hans Bernhoff, a professor at the department of electrical engineering at Uppsala University, in Sweden. 

According to the company, Bernhoff had been doing research on vertical wind turbines for more than 20 years, building his own 200 kilowatt (kW), 131-foot-high vertical turbine that was functional for a decade. He was intrigued by Knutsen’s theoretical model and joined the company, developing the idea of the large tilted offshore floating turbine that World Wide Wind is now working on.

HOW IT WORKS

The concept of vertical axis turbines is not new, but the architecture of this machine—which the company says is patent pending—is radically different. The design employs two coaxial, or counter-rotating, rotors mounted on a vertical shaft.

Each rotor has three blades that . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

21 September 2022 at 3:59 pm

Dunning-Kruger writ large: Science opponents believe their knowledge ranks among the highest, but it is actually among the lowest

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Eric Dolan writes in PsyPost:

People with the greatest opposition to the scientific consensus tend to have the lowest levels of objective science knowledge but the highest levels of self-rated knowledge, according to new research published in Science Advances. The findings are in line with the Dunning-Kruger effect, a well-documented phenomenon in which people who are lacking in skills or knowledge tend to overestimate their abilities.

“I am interested in the public’s understanding of science because it is hugely important for societal and environmental wellbeing,” said study author Nick Light, an assistant professor of marketing at Portland State University. “When people act in ways that go against good science, people get sick, lose their homes, lose money, are displaced, or even die (as is the case with COVID, natural disasters, etc.). The better we can understand why people hold attitudes that run counter to scientific consensus, the better scientists or policymakers can design interventions to help people.”

In two initial studies, which included 3,249 U.S. adults recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk and Prolific Academic, participants were randomly assigned to indicate their level of support or opposition to one of seven scientific issues: climate change, genetically-modified foods, nuclear power, vaccination, evolution, the Big Bang, or homeopathic medicine. The participants were asked to rate their understanding of the topic on a 7-point scale, ranging from “Vague understanding” to “Thorough understanding.”

To assess their scientific knowledge, the participants then responded to 34 randomly ordered true-false questions. The questions included a broad range of scientific topics, including “True or false? The center of the earth is very hot,” “True or false? All insects have eight legs,” and “True or false? Venus is the closest planet to the sun.”

Light and his research team found that people who were more opposed to the scientific consensus on their given topic were more likely to claim to have a “thorough understanding” of it. But those who were more opposed to the scientific consensus tended to score worse on the test of objective science knowledge.

“Scientists are constantly debating the best ways to explain the world around us,” Light told PsyPost. “Sometimes, however, the evidence is so strong or consistent that most of them agree on something. That’s what we call scientific consensus. In this paper we find that the people who have attitudes that are more extremely against the scientific consensus think they know the most about the scientific issues, but actually know the least.”

The researchers also found some evidence that . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

21 September 2022 at 3:43 pm

These prototype homes didn’t lose power when Hurricane Fiona slammed Puerto Rico. Here’s why

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I wonder whether decentralized power generation will become a norm. (Not if power companies have a say, I imagine.) Adele Peters writes in Fast Company:

“They’re fully off the grid with electricity and potable water,” says Jonathan Marvel, founder of Marvel Architects, a firm based in both New York and Puerto Rico that designed the new houses.

The city donated the land, and a nonprofit called Acacia paid to build the homes as an example for communities, with plans to build hundreds more across the island and help residents build their own.

With thick, reinforced walls, they’re designed to survive earthquakes and hurricane-force winds. Passive design strategies, including insulation, shade, and natural cross-ventilation, help keep them cool. Solar panels provide electricity. A cistern stores and filters rain to provide drinking water. (Right now, because of the hurricane, thousands of people in Puerto Rico lack potable water.)

Five years ago, after two devastating hurricanes hit Puerto Rico—first Irma, and then Maria just weeks later—Marvel, who was born on the island, started working to help bring power to the most vulnerable communities through another project, which became a nonprofit called Resilient Power Puerto Rico.

The nonprofit has helped build 38 “solar hubs” at community centers, with solar panels and battery systems that can provide electricity for community members during emergencies and during the island’s frequent blackouts.

“It’s a monthly occasion: You have a power outage,” Marvel says. Puerto Rico’s beleaguered, bankrupt state utility, PREPA, repeatedly failed to keep the grid running smoothly, and after it was privatized last year and taken over by Luma, a Canadian company, it continues to struggle.

The solar hubs, meanwhile, have shown that they work. Because the hurricane had disrupted communication, when we spoke on Monday morning Marvel hadn’t yet learned whether the hubs were running, but he said it’s very likely they’ve made it through the storm.

Resilient Power Puerto Rico also helps communities build their own projects by providing technical assistance and a tool that helps them quickly gather data about their local vulnerability in disasters so that they can access grants more easily. The group has also given away solar panels for private homes and community buildings.

Nevertheless, Marvel saw the need to help design more resilient new houses. As climate change makes hurricanes stronger, Puerto Rico’s risk of devastation increases. . .

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If there’s a paywall, try this link.

Written by Leisureguy

21 September 2022 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

How white supremacy was woven into the fabric of the US

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Harvard Gazette has an interesting article with this subhead:

Historian Donald Yacovone’s new book chronicles racist values and historical falsehoods woven through generations of school textbooks

The article begins:

Excerpt from “Teaching White Supremacy: America’s Democratic Ordeal and the Forging of Our National Identity” by Donald Yacovone, Associate, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research

Several years ago I began a study of the antislavery movement’s legacy. I focused on the century after 1865 to understand how the “collective” or “popular” memory of the original freedom struggle helped create the modern civil rights movement. As part of this project, I wanted to measure how abolitionism had been presented in our nation’s K–12 school textbooks. I naïvely imagined a quick look at a few volumes and then a speedy return to my primary research. Instead, I found myself overwhelmed by the collection of nearly 3,000 U.S. history textbooks, dating from about 1800 to the 1980s, at the Monroe C. Gutman Library at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

I plunged in and resurfaced with a solid sense of what schoolbooks were like before 1865 — so I could fully grasp the later history of the history I wished to understand. But in a clear inversion of Robert Frost’s “The Gift Outright,” I was the collection’s before the collection was mine. Within a short time, I found myself immersed in a study of how slavery, race, abolitionism, and the Civil War and Reconstruction have been taught in our nation’s K–12 schoolbooks from about 1832 to the present.

One morning as I examined a library cart bursting with about 50 elementary, grammar, and high school history textbooks, a bright red spine reached out to me through time and space. Why is this familiar? I wondered. As I opened the book, it all came rushing back. Somehow I had never forgotten the book’s image of Eli Whitney, included not for his notorious cotton gin but instead for “inventing” the concept of interchangeable parts — thus laying the groundwork for industrialization. “Exploring the New World, by O. Stuart Hamer, Dwight W. Follett, Benjamin F. Ahlschwede, and Herbert H. Gross — published and reprinted between 1953 and 1965 — had been assigned in my fifth-grade social studies class in Saratoga, Calif.

Just like a legion of the early textbooks I had been reading, “Exploring the New World” never mentioned the antislavery movement. Slaves, on the other hand, proved necessary to pick cotton — “Who else would do the work?” the authors asked. This textbook, and nearly all the texts I reviewed, was not published by a Southern segregationist press, and certainly not by the Klan or other far-right publishers — although such presses emerged with a vengeance in the 1920s and still operate, especially online. No, the thousands of textbooks that have stained the minds of generations of students, from the elementary grades to college, were produced almost entirely by Northern publishing houses, situated mostly in New York, Boston, and Chicago, and by Northern-trained scholars and education specialists.

At the same time, however, my fifth-grade textbook also stated that the people of the North did not believe that men and women “should be bought and sold.” “Exploring the New World,” published during the Cold War, followed the same pattern set at the close of the 19th century, seeking sectional reconciliation regarding issues related to slavery and the Civil War. Its authors also wished to avoid cultural strife (and the reality of slavery and racism) and promoted national unity in the early 1960s by asserting that during the Civil War everyone (white) was brave, everyone (white) fought for principle, and Gen. Robert E. Lee represented all that was noble, gallant, and heroic in American society. “His name is now loved and respected in both North and South,” they explained. “We know that he was not only a gallant Southern hero but a great American.” What we have been teaching our children for nearly all American history suddenly became real, and personal.

The depth, breadth, and durability of American white supremacy and racial prejudice is certainly no revelation to modern historians and social analysts, Black and white. To understand why it has proved so dominant, so irresistibly appealing, even essential, we must  . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

21 September 2022 at 1:42 pm

The English system of measurement is so much easier than metric /s

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The metric system is so difficult it is only used in the countries countries shown in blue. The English system, so much easier, is used in the countries shown in red.

Written by Leisureguy

21 September 2022 at 10:32 am

Test of Vikings Blade Chieftain with different brand of blade

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My Edwin Jagger synthetic is a very nice brush, and it easily worked up a good lather from this Phoenix Artisan Doppelgänger, a CK-6 formula soap.

Yesterday I noticed that I was getting a surprising amount of blade feel from my Vikings Blade Chieftain, when I was using a King C. Gillette blade. This morning I replaced that blade with a Rockwell blade to see whether that made a difference. I did seem to get a bit less blade feel, though it was still quite noticeable. Withal, I got a very nice shave and I continue to like this razor. Totally smooth finish.

I ended the shave by adding a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel to the aftershave splash in my palm and applied that with pleasure. Great start to the day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Lavender Cream: “black tea, lavender flowers, jasmine flowers, natural and artificial flavouring.

Written by Leisureguy

21 September 2022 at 9:37 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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