Posts by Aidan

  • Hard News: How about that cricket, eh?, in reply to BenWilson,

    It may be somewhat traitorous of me to the region and my wife, but I'm going for India today.

    Isn't it cheating to start a day early? Shame on you India.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How about that cricket, eh?,

    My glass half empty spouse was worried about the Morkel over with the dot balls, and I said "no problem, as long as Anderson doesn't let it get to him and get out ... ".

    When he went I thought the chance of victory had gone too.

    When Dan came out I said to spouse "he scores in an arc of about 20 degrees behind square ..." and what a demented shot that was! Dan you are one cool cucumber!

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Privacy and the Public Interest, in reply to nzlemming,

    So clearly it is randomised. Can't really understand the gaps though. Odd.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Privacy and the Public Interest, in reply to nzlemming,

    The electorate is Palmerston North, the candidates are NZF/Internet/Lab/Nat/Cons.

    It was as much about the gap as anything. Really makes it a "NZF .. or some other party".

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Privacy and the Public Interest,

    Attachment

    This is only peripherally related, but I downloaded my overseas voting papers (I usually don't vote as I don't want to tell you people how to live your lives, but sometimes an exception has to be made ....) and they seemed odd to me. NZF was all alone up the top, with a gap between it and the rest.

    Now I don't wish to call my fellow voters idiots, but there are studies to show that simple ordering and what not can make a big difference to voting. I'm guessing they use some sort of rotation/randomisation for the ordering? If not, expect a big NZF donkey vote

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics, in reply to HORansome,

    I’ve bene thinking that myself: I think people often forget that the initial reports by Woodward and Bernstein were pooh-poohed by the major newspapers and TV news networks at the time. It took time before the claim of conspiracy was vindicated and become commonly acknowledged as being the best explanation of the event.

    This is Robert Redford’s take on Watergate.

    https://soundcloud.com/aidanh-1/robert-redford-on-watergate

    Same old same old – cynical “in” journos who are are just too smart for their own goddamn good.

    Woodward and Bernstein were the outliers, the ones prepared to really take it to the powerful. Rest too scared, too "savvy", as Jay Rosen might say.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Going solar?,

    Another thing to carefully consider is the size of the water tank you attach to your panels. Often people are advised to get a larger tank as it can store hot water for longer, potentially covering for a cloudy day or two. The danger of too large a tank is twofold: not being able to heat the large mass to a high enough temperature, and having to boost a large volume of water on cold winter days.

    A properly designed tank can have the booster heating element placed higher up, so when it does boost it is only heating a smaller volume of water. Again, it relies on stratification.

    I believe that newly installed electric boost systems here in Canberra are no longer allowed to turn off their booster, as they are paranoid about legionella. This is unfortunate, as it will be a great deal less efficient, harvesting much less solar energy if the tank is always maintained at 60 degC. Not sure what the regs are in NZ.

    It might also be worth it to lag all your hot water piping while you’re redoing things. Especially if the new system is located further away with longer runs of piping. Make sure they use the plastic coated pipe lagging for exterior work exposed to UV. The other stuff breaks down very quickly in sunlight.

    We also had to have a tempering valve in our setup, which we had never had before. Again, new regulations. This drops the outlet temperature to 50 degC to prevent burns, but it also meant we had lukewarm water in the kitchen in winter, until we lagged the pipes.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Going solar?,

    Bit late, but we've got a 30 tube/250L electrically boosted system. Here in Canberra (more like Christchurch weather, hotter in summer though) we don't need to boost Sept->Apr. We've got a timer switch in the fusebox for the electric boost, and it comes on from 5.00-6.20pm, and it will top it up if we've had a poor solar day.

    We have hard frosts, so the tubes make much more sense here. People on various enviro forums reckon you get a much bigger surface area for panel systems for the same cost, so if frost isn't an issue this is a better way to go. Also the integrated thermosiphon jobs are very well understood, very low tech (I've been quoted $1000 to replace the controller on our system, which is outrageous. I wouldn't pay that, but it gives you an idea of what some are paying). Don't write off flat panel systems, but I don't know enough to recommend any.

    Your water use patterns matter a lot. If you all tend to shower at the same time of day it helps. We scrub the kids in the evening, but the adults are morning showerers. This means the tank is half full of cold water overnight. It is supposed to stratify and not mix too much, but it still has an effect.

    We tilted our tubes up to 50deg, as we have an over-production in summer, but our shoulder and winter production was disappointing. There was a substantial improvement after tilting, with the added bonus of less over-heating and venting in summer. A wetback + solar system would be a great combination, as a solar system sized for summer will struggle in winter. Sized for winter it is likely to be expensive and still struggle on very cold dull days.

    We average about 5kWh/day electricity usage in Summer, 8 kWh/day in winter.

    We also have a 1.5kW PV system. This produces about 2/3 of our power, but as we got in when there was a generous FiT, we don't pay power bills, they pay us.

    CAUTION: PV does not like shade! If there is ANY shade on the panels your output will be substantially reduced. The cells turn into resistors when shaded, so well designed panels have by-pass diodes that, as you may have guessed from the name, bypass that section of the panel. All it needs is a small part of a panel to be shaded to bypass a much larger area of panel: there is a limit to the number of bypass diodes. Upshot of this is you can have a quarter of your panels shaded, but get a 75% reduction in output. It depends very strongly on the geometry of the panels and how the shade interacts with that geometry.

    If you have significant shading from 10am-3pm I think PV would be a mistake.

    I understand thin-film PV suffers less from shading (and possible also better in overcast conditions), but I haven't done any significant research into that.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Who was George Hildebrand…, in reply to Annie Magee,

    1898/3379 Eliza Ann Winter Frederick Kennard

    Sorry to be a pain, but another weird coincidence, I married a Kennard (not in NZ), Names eh? Maybe not as rare as I'd imagined ...

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Who was George Hildebrand…,

    Off topic, but my Grandmother was also named Winifred Beatrice (b. 1910). No connection to this story, but just an odd coincidence.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

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