All things science in language anyone can follow

If you like this, you'll love my new book, Sublime Murder

Recycling

My materials blogs are about useful materials in the modern age. For the use of these to be sustainable we need to recycle as much as we can.  With China becoming more picky about what they will accept from us, … Read More

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Copper

Copper has been used by humans for about 9000 years in its naturally occurring metal persona and has been smelted from ores in kilns for about 5000 years. Soon after that it was alloyed with tin and kick started the … Read More

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Best thing since sliced bread – Plastic

(Not to be confused with short story of the same name published in the Feb 2019 edition of antisf magazine) Sliced bread dries out quicker and needs packaging to keep it fresh. The answer, that allowed sliced bread to take … Read More

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Just call me Al – Materials -001

Aluminium is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust after oxygen and silicon and is the most abundant metal. It has the chemical symbol Al.  Australia is the largest producer of aluminium ore, largely from its northern coast and … Read More

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SA Elections – Final week summary – Part 6

So Who is doing What? Nuclear Fission Conservatives support it but no one else in SA. It is not a short term solution and highly likely to be a lot more expensive than other generation or superseded by nuclear fusion. … Read More

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SA Elections – Part 5

Solar Thermal A new solar thermal plant with molten salt storage is currently being built in Port Augusta and is supported by all state parties and the Federal Government as far as I can determine. The system has a vast … Read More

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SA Elections Energy (Party Policies) part 4

Government Policies First of all, a couple of new questions. What about geothermal, wave energy, hydrogen etc and the regular one, is coal cheaper than wind? Geothermal has not proved effective in SA, despite many attempts and hundreds of millions … Read More

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SA Elections – Energy (other) Part 3

Additional Energy So we have renewables with storage backed up by gas, but can we do better? Connect to Interstate We currently have two electricity interconnectors to Victoria (Heywood and Murraylands) and these were a major part of the breakdown … Read More

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SA Elections – Energy (Renewables) Part 2

  So we only produce small amount of oil and have to import it, we have no good quality, easily accessible coal but we have plenty of gas. Why don’t we just use gas for everything?  We could generate electricity, … Read More

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SA Elections – Energy (Fossil Fuels) Part 1

With the elections coming up in South Australia, energy issues are a big ticket item with politics obfuscating informed knowledge. I will attempt a non-political review of the options for SA and their pros and cons.  Many of the basics … Read More

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Virtual Power Plant

  South Australia’s planned Virtual Power Plant appears to be largely misunderstood, as these things always are. It is basically a system that creates an energy supply from solar and batteries which is tied together by software.  This allows the … Read More

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Sublime Murder – Chapter 1

To purchase go to Kindle or Kobo site   Chapter 1 The Mount “I was told that you are a seismologist. So then, how did you get into forensics?” Ferg thought about it for a minute and answered in his … Read More

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Nuclear(Con)fusion – 024

Just over a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein came up with the notion that mass and energy are equivalent in his theory of Special Relativity. About twenty years later the idea that the sun was a nuclear reactor and provided … Read More

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Are logs natural? – Maths 009

If you start with 1 dollar and compound it with 100% continuous annual growth for 3 years, how much would you have? Complex Space and Euler’s Identity We ended up in a pretty strange place last time. It’s a bit … Read More

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Dimensions and Domains – 008

Which has the largest land area out of DR Congo, Greenland and Saudi Arabia? They are in order of size with Congo the largest, but all three are similar.  Why don’t our maps seem to show that – read on. Can we … Read More

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Odds are Not Even – Maths 007

Get even by knowing the odds – or the odds will be against you. If I toss a well weighted coin in random conditions (ie no cheating) the probability of it falling heads or tails are half each way or … Read More

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Water – Chemistry 101

Water – Chemistry 101 Dihydrogen oxide kills hundreds, if not thousands across the globe annually. It is also the most potent Green House Gas (GHG) we have. It is water of course and it sometimes gets a bad rap.  In … Read More

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Series – Maths 006

Fibonacci Series Series turn up everywhere in the natural world, with one of the most famous being the Fibonacci series 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34….. You probably already know that each number is the sum of the previous 2 numbers. This can be written … Read More

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Is there a limit? 005

Archimedes’ Pi Can we sit and meditate and think up all the maths there is? Potentially yes and some mathematicians have done a very good job. Mandalas are geometric patterns that are often used for meditation.  These are geometric patterns … Read More

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Elegance and Visual Stimulation = Equations and Graphs – Maths 004

Knit one, pearl one is the start of a knitters algorithm. My mother loved to knit.  She could invent complex patterns in her head and knit them out to any size or shape you required. They were truly works of … Read More

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