An Eccentric Anomaly

Ed Davies's Blog

2015: The First Sixth

So far this year has not gone too well. In my previous post I ended last year with the steel brackets for the house stashed away in my shipping container and reasonable hope that, weather permitting, construction would start early this year.

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House Progress Report

Hmmm, better have an update on how things are going with the house before the date clicks over the next higher digit.

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Comments on GBA Solar Thermal is Dead Article

Martin Holladay has just posted an article on the Green Building Advisor site: Solar Thermal Is Really, Really Dead.

I mostly agree but think there's a lot more to be said. It's a complicated subject and it's easy to get bogged down in detail so he's done well to simplify things for clarity but maybe he's gone a bit far and there are few other things people can usefully think about.

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How big are newtons and joules?

Previously I've said that a newton is about the weight of a smallish apple and a joule is the potential energy of an apple on a table. A tweet by @UnitFact reminded me to check.

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Do radiators radiate?

Specifically, do the sort of metal devices that Europeans tend to screw to their walls and run hot water through in order to heat their houses radiate much heat, as opposed to transferring it to the room by convection and conduction? Similarly, what proportion of the heat emitted by underfloor heating is in the form of thermal radiation?

Of course they radiate some heat. However, it's commonly said that they work mostly by convection and conduction. I think that's right and it's quite reasonable to call them convectors for this reason. Unfortunately, some people get a bit carried away with this and say that radiation is completely negligible. I don't think that's quite so right.

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Infrared Myths

I see a lot of confusion about infrared when it comes to interactions with buildings, astronomy and so on. Here's a bit of a brain dump to refer to in such cases which I hope will throw some light, of various wavelengths, on the matter.

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House Energy Budget

I'm quite confident of having plenty of energy for most of the year in my house. The two months or so of the worst bit of the winter are a bit tricker.

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Access!

I can now drive on to my land. Starting Wednesday last week the contractors (JW Sinclair) put in the entrance, track, and parking and turning space and cleared the topsoil down to clay for the house site.

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Gorse and Willows

I'm busy waiting for the structural engineer to come back with design details and the roads department to issue a road opening permit so I can get the contractors in to make the entrance, access track and parking area to the north of the house.

In the mean time I've been mucking with vegetation a bit. Not the greatest use of my time but it at least gives the feeling of getting stuff done which is better than getting frustrated at the rate the year's slipping by.

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A Rant About Kilograms On Mars

The CACM have published a reasonably interesting article by Gerard J. Holzmann about verification of the software on the Curiosity Rover: Mars Code.

Near the beginning, though, it says:

On Earth, Curiosity weighed 900 kg. It weighs no more than 337.5 kg on Mars because Mars is smaller than Earth.

Nope!

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