Power distribution in data centers used to emulate the architecture of old telephone central offices. A “rectifier” would step down and rectify the ac from the power line and use it to charge banks of batteries that provided an unregulated 48 V dc, which was distributed around the facility to run the telephone equipment in the racks.
Since at least 2007, data-center engineers have been talking about distributing 400 V dc (sometimes 380 V). Data centers are bigger and use a lot more power than telco central offices. At a minimum, higher voltage distribution would mean lower I2R losses and/or thinner power-distribution cables.
On Saturday my family and placed four tons of grass sod in our backyard. As I fired up a sprinkler for the first time in several years (a decade, perhaps?) I thought about how much our next water bill was going to cost us. The City of Raleigh has tiered water rates, meaning everyone gets their base allotment for the same price but the price quickly jumps beyond that amount. The idea is that economics will compel water customers to conserve which is a worthy goal.
But what about the times conservation isn’t needed? Right now Falls Lake is full. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from Falls Lake at a rate of 6,000 cubic feet per second, which I’ve heard is about the most it will release at any time. This onslaught of water is causing issues downstream, flooding neighborhoods that haven’t yet recovered from last month’s initial round of heavy flooding.
It doesn’t appear that conservation is an issue at the moment, so what if our water bills could reflect this? What if Raleigh residents could give The Army Corps a hand by putting that water where it could good some good: on everyone’s lawns and gardens, not just those unfortunate few who live close to the raging river? What if the City reduced water rates on a temporarily basis while the river release was underway? I know there’s more to water use than simply supply (it has to be treated, for instance) but tying water rates to our supply might make sense.
How to fix poor sleep brought on by modern technology: go camping!
Are you sick of going to bed late and waking up tired? Then grab your hiking boots and a tent. A new study suggests that a couple days of camping in the great outdoors can reset your circadian clock and help you get more sleep.
The circadian clock is an internal system that tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Scientists track this clock by measuring the amount of melatonin circulating in a person’s blood at any given time.
In a healthy sleeper, melatonin levels rise a few hours before bedtime, stay high through the night and then settle back down to daytime levels when it’s time to wake up. The period when melatonin levels are elevated is known as biological night.
In our modern society, biological night does not usually coincide with night in the natural world. Most of us stay up many hours past sunset, and we would probably sleep in many hours after sunrise if we could.
The trouble is, if your biological night begins at midnight or later, your melatonin levels may still be high when your alarm clock goes off in the morning. This leads to grogginess, and it may have other consequences, researchers say. Diabetes, obesity and heart disease have all been associated with not getting enough sleep.
Research by integrative physiology professor Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado at Boulder found that people reset their circadian clocks by taking a six-day summer camping trip in the Rocky Mountains.
Kudos to citizen-scientist Nico Sun who assembled the temperature graphs from publically-available weather data.
The Arctic is so warm and has been this warm for so long that scientists are struggling to explain it and are in disbelief. The climate of the Arctic is known to oscillate wildly, but scientists say this warmth is so extreme that humans surely have their hands in it and may well be changing how it operates.
Temperatures are far warmer than ever observed in modern records, and sea ice extent keeps setting record lows.2016 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic, and 2017 has picked up right where it left off. “Arctic extreme (relative) warmth continues,” Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell Analytics, tweeted on Wednesday, referring to January’s temperatures.
Veteran Arctic climate scientists are stunned.
On my way back from dropping the kids off from school last week, I waited at a Hargett Street intersection while a man in a motorized wheelchair passed by me, riding in the street. I wondered why this man chose not to ride on the sidewalk, which seemed much safer. He had no lights nor reflectors and seemed an easy target for an inattentive driver.
I’ve also seen several disabled people in wheelchairs riding in Johnson Street between Glenwood and Boylan Avenues, probably residents of Glenwood Towers. Why do they choose to ride in the road when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk right there?
Madrid’s city council has implemented restrictions on cars in an effort to combat persistent smog. While battling smog is a good thing, the measure does not restrict mopeds and motorcycles, which cause more smog than cars do and seem to me to be far more prevalent in the city.
Madrid has ordered half of most private cars off the roads on Thursday to tackle worsening air pollution, a first in Spain.
The restrictions will operate between 6.30am and 9pm. The city council said in a statement: “vehicles with even-number registration plates will be allowed to drive around on even-number days and cars with odd-number registration plates on odd-number days.”
The measure is activated when levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere go above 200 microgrammes per cubic metre in at least two measuring stations for two days running, and if the air is unlikely to clear imminently.
Who’s ready to fire their electric company? A Duke Energy-backed lobbying group is pushing Amendment 1 in Florida, an anti-solar constitutional amendment disguised as a pro-solar one. This makes me wish I had some other choice for electric power than Duke Energy. Thanks to electric monopolies I don’t have that choice.
It’s time to end electric monopolies and open this market to competition. It’s time the Duke Energys in this country stop just pretending to support free markets and actually do it.
The policy director of a think tank hired by Florida’s largest electric utilities admitted at a conference this month what opponents have claimed for months: The industry attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment.
Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, detailed the strategy used by the state’s largest utilities to create and finance Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville on Oct. 2.
Nuzzo called the amendment, which has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing, “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road,” according to an audio recording of the event supplied to the Herald/Times.
I was showing off my electric car to an engineer friend when he asked me a very engineer-like question.
“So, how much money have you saved?” he grinned. “I know you’ve figured it out, right?”
“Well, yes and no,” was my response. I went on to briefly explain fluctuating electric and gasoline costs and how the solar panels must also factor in. It’s not so simple to say “I have saved x dollars.”
That said, I do have a record of my electricity usage, both before and after EV. I can figure out my cost of charging during off-peak hours and extrapolate that over the time we’ve owned the car. Perhaps I can find a resource that shows the average price of unleaded gasoline for the past year or so. Finally, I can say for certainty how many miles I’ve driven. Putting all of this into a spreadsheet ought to give me a ballpark figure on how much it has cost to drive. Then I can factor in the skipped oil changes and other unneeded mechanical work and get a decent guess as to what we’ve saved.
This might be a fun Saturday afternoon project.
Good tips for wintertime EV driving.
So how on earth do you use an electric car in places that consistently get many feet of snow every winter?
Short answer: snow tires.
Long answer: plan ahead.
Being based in Vancouver — what passes for the Canadian tropics*, where snow had to be helicoptered onto local ski hills during the 2010 Olympics — your correspondent had no idea how well electric cars actually stack up until he started making inquiries.
But with winter approaching, a recent discussion on the Canada Nissan Leaf Owners Facebook group seemed apropos, all about driving plug-in electric vehicles in the northern winter.The overarching advice we got was to purchase snow tires, because low-rolling-resistance tires and ice don’t mix. Well-stocked winter survival kits were next.
Third place went to pre-heating the cabin while the car was still plugged in so the battery could maintain its maximum propulsion range and grid electricity could be used for the heat.
“It feels painful because you’ve got hundreds of millions of devices out there that are using the old standard,” says Horace Dediu, a technology analyst with in-depth knowledge of Apple.
… and …
“Studying Moore’s Law and the history of technology, it’s clear we’re not going to stick around with something analogue for long,” he says. “It’s almost puzzling that it’s taken so long.”
Maybe because analog phone jack technology Just Works? Any guesses why an Apple stock analyst might like this move?