Posted in loreeebee.ca, rant, technology

Are Wind Turbines Efficient? They Sure are Ugly!

photo credit

Are the monstrously ugly wind turbines (windmills) dotting the otherwise beautiful countryside efficient? You can probably tell I don’t approve of them. I am reminded how much I don’t believe in their efficiency or practicality every time I drive to my favourite farm.

That’s because there is an enormous north-south swath of them crossing highway 43 near the intersection of county road 11, the last leg of our trip from Ottawa to the farm in Eastern Ontario.

My last venture in that direction that was no exception. My four year old grandson, my travelling partner that day, summed up my feelings pretty well with a loud “whoa, what the heck is that big thing?” When I explained that it was a windmill, there to gather energy from the wind, he was quick to point out “but it’s not even moving!”

Exactly! During my last visit none of the windmills were operational. I mentioned this to my uncle upon arriving at his farm; apparently they were just installed. This time, a month or so later, maybe fifty percent were in motion. Not exactly a great track record.

How do Windmills Generate Electricity?

This YouTube video posted on Good Energy in the UK explains how well the windmills are working, especially within the north-western corner of Europe where it almost always windy:

Are Windmills Efficient?

In reducing carbon footprints, these windmills are efficient, actually one of the smallest footprints in current practices of renewable generators. That’s because they do not release emissions of any sort into the atmosphere. However, their actual physical footprint is enormous, taking up huge amounts of land.

Optimal sites for wind farms are in remote locations due to the amount of space they require. The problem with this is that (expensive) transmission lines must be established to get the electricity from the remote locations to the big cities that use the most electricity. This however can be lucrative in the form of extra income for the owners of remote properties since the owners of wind power plants pay rent to the landowners, often farmers or ranchers, for the use of their land.

A windmill or wind turbine is typically only a maximum of 50% efficient when wind is at a peak level. Wind however, is typically inconsistent; very few global locations would have consistent winds to maximize the efficiency level.

Theoretically wind power is cost effective because the electricity generated can be sold at a fixed price over many years, unlike the price of gas and oil which fluctuates like our Canadian weather. Wind turbines are exorbitantly expensive to make, install, and maintain, then only last on average 25 years. The wind is the inexpensive part, as it is a (free) natural resource.

Esthetics and Dangers of Wind Turbines

Not only are wind turbines hideous to look at, they have proven to be annoyingly noisy (when they work) as well as harmful, often fatal to birds. Hundreds of thousands of birds and bats are killed annually, in collisions with the massive rotating (and sedentary) arms of the wind turbines.

Conclusions

I like to think I am open minded as well as a proponent for green energy. Why then, do these wind turbines bother me so much? Probably because I am also a proponent of sensibility, natural beauty, and efficiency, especially cost efficiency.

Posted in business, Canada, health and wellness, lorieb.com, technology

Drug Checking Technology Challenge

Health Canada is putting their money where their mouth is, asking for help with a drug checking technology challenge. Most of us are aware of the opioid crisis here in Canada and around the world. For more information, please check out the detailed article in the link above. It describes the challenge to discover or modify the technology involved in detecting lethal, potent drugs like Fentanyl as well as other toxic substances. The article also contains additional links for those wishing to increase their knowledge of the crisis we are facing as well as one for substance abusers too.

Drug checking technology is out there, it just needs to be improved for increased reliability, accuracy, adaptability, ease of use as well as affordability. Any innovative (for or not-for-profit) Canadian post secondary institution, company, research or industry association is eligible to apply, although only the selected semi-finalists will be able to compete for the pilot phase and grand prize.

This challenge was launched on October 2nd, 2018 and the deadline for application is February 1, 2019. That means there is no time to waste! Semi-finalists will be announced February, finalists in June and grand prize winner in January 2020. Oh, and the prize is a cool million dollars.

It must be my thirty years of laboratory work; this challenge certainly piqued my interest. Do you have an innovative, ambitious personality with the resources to create a design ? Where can you apply? At the bottom of the webpage linked to above. Or right here!


Posted in business, current events, lorieb.com, technology

Huawei worries: Are they warranted?

What/Who is Huawei and why are (most) countries worried about them?  To start, they are a HUGE manufacturer of technology components, (reportedly) capable of “invading” the industry globally.  The problem is, they are based in China whose government has relationships with the rest of the world on shaky ground these days.

Morning Brew, my newest addiction, has listed five (potential) reasons (from the MIT Technology Review) in today’s edition:

Kill switches: Huawei builds networks carrying data for power grids, financial markets, etc. And some fear the Chinese government could sneak “back doors” into Huawei’s gear with the ability to weaken or disable networks in foreign countries if a crisis occurred.

Data snooping: Chinese spies could theoretically gain access to Huawei’s networks undetected to extract sensitive info from people and businesses. Another possible avenue for espionage? Smartphones—Huawei’s one of the top manufacturers in the world.

The 5G rollout: The next generation of wireless networks is arriving fast…and the last thing the U.S. wants is for Huawei to connect the world with 5G. As the authors note, “This will dramatically expand the number of connected devices—and the chaos that can be caused if the networks supporting them are hacked.”

Defying U.S. trade rules: Huawei’s CFO is accused of tricking American banks into doing business with Iran, which would be a violation of U.S. sanctions. More of that activity could happen.

Chinese government influence: The U.S. and allies suspect Huawei’s execs are cozy with the Chinese government, which is the reason they’ve taken such a hard stance. 

Making headlines around the world last week, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who just happens to be the daughter of founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada for reason #4 above.  After all, Canada is one of USA’s allies, and is (should be) equally concerned for the same list of reasons.

Huawei

Posted in lorieb.com, Ottawa, technology

Is an irrigation system right for your yard?

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to installing an irrigation system in your yard.  The biggest advantage is quite obvious.  Your garden and/or lawns are automatically watered on a regular schedule that you select.   The largest disadvantage is the cost involved to install such a system.  This summer the pros appear to outweigh the cons.  If your lawn is as burnt as mine is you will know just what I mean.

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I have a soaker system in my back gardens to keep them looking good, but my front lawn has to rely on rainfall which we have none of for weeks.

I have come across many irrigation systems in the gardens (and yards) I look after.  Some have sprinkler heads, others have a copper piping drip system, others have a combination of both.  Which is better?  That depends on what you want to keep hydrated and how much you want to spend.  The experts you contact to install the system will advise you better than I can.

All I can say is that I can certainly tell the lawns and gardens that do have the luxury of an irrigation systems of some sort.

Posted in family, lorieb.com, technology

Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones will break your bones,  but names will never hurt you.  That’s what I was always taught as a youngster, but times have changed.  It is now obvious that those names do and have done more damage than we gave them credit for.  It is now referred to as bullying.  Names do hurt, the damage is just buried deep and not as visible.

I don’t think of myself as over sensitive, but I do admit I can remember every mean thing ever said to me.  For example, I remember a boy taunting me at the age of 12 because I was wearing a training bra.  I was an obvious late bloomer and very self-conscious about it. Did the insensitive comment ruin my life?  No, but it did hurt enough for me to remember it 45 years later.  I have never been at the (intentional) receiving end of the proverbial sticks and stones, so cannot compare the two hurts.

Bullying is rampant in today’s society.  Suicide rates are skyrocketing with bullying the leading cause.  With the availability and popularity of so many forms of social media, bullies can strike anywhere, anytime, without ever having to meet their victim in person, face to face.

When social media first came to be my eldest son was ten years old.  That was in 1999, the year AOL, Yahoo and MSN all released their own messenger services.  All of a sudden it became very easy to (bully) say hurtful things to classmates, (former) friends, acquaintances, even strangers.  His teacher was so concerned about the hurtful comments that were going around she organized a parent meeting to warn parents and curb the bullying behaviour.   I remember telling my son then “you should never message someone things that you do not have the nerve to say to their face”

That was before every child over the age of six had their own cell phone, in fact many parents did not yet have one.  Most of the messages sent, both good and bad, were done on a home computer.  Parents had some control over what and when their children were communicating and who they were communicating with.

Today our teens and preteens (and many adults) are glued to their cell phones, with access to everyone and everything, anywhere.  The advances in technology make it easier to do just about anything on a cell phone.

Everything except communicate face to face.

An inspirational message shared by a childhood friend on Facebook inspired this post:

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

 

Posted in family, lorieb.com, technology

Surprise birthday party

 

 

A few posts back I wrote about my brother’s fast approaching sixtieth birthday. Well, his birthday is this coming Thursday (30th), but the surprise party was last night.  It took lots of scheming and coercing, (did I tell you my brother is stubborn?) but we did manage to surprise him at his own home.

picture from Pixabay

Thank heavens for Facebook and its event planner feature.  The whole party was arranged, staged and organized by creating the event on Facebook.  With his daughter in Barrie, me in Ottawa, the birthday boy and other friends and family members in Ingleside, social media (FB) came to the rescue, keeping us all connected.  I created the event adding key individuals as cohosts so we could each send out invitations from our own contact lists.  Keeping the party a private event ( an option when creating the event) ensured my brother would not find out as only invited guests could access the details.

      To create a private or public event on Facebook:
  1. Click Events in the left menu of your News Feed.
  2. Click Create Event in the top right.
  3. Click to choose between a private or public event. …
  4. Fill in the event name, details, location and time. …
  5. Click Create.

From the moment the event was created up to the moment of surprise, we were able to communicate as a group.  Except for the birthday boy of course, he was excluded from the group. Jobs such as purchasing the party essentials, organizing the potluck food contributions,  decorating the venue and even distracting the birthday boy (definitely the toughest job) were all delegated on Facebook.

It was the easiest party to organize, ever.  Judging by the turnout of all the guests and the delicious food, it was a great success!

air-balloon-balloons-birthday-42067

 

 

Posted in family, lorieb.com, technology

Breast or bottle feeding

Is it better or easier to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby?  Over the years I don’t think it has ever been disputed that breastfeeding is far healthier, but bottles are certainly very convenient, especially for fathers wanting (or needing) to feed their babies.

The health advantages of breast milk include:

  • contains antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria
  • contains all the essential minerals and vitamins needed in the first 6 months
  • lowers the risk of asthma and allergies in children
  • lowers the chance of diarrhea and ear infections
  • breastfeeding helps moms get back to pre-pregnancy weight faster

When my mother was feeding me and my siblings, (in the late 50’s and early 60’s) breastfeeding was not as popular as it is today.  Why that was I am not sure.  Moms were still predominantly “stay at home” and breastfeeding was (and still is) certainly the more economical way to go.  Maybe because of the larger families and the time commitment involved in breastfeeding.  It would be hard to concentrate on breastfeeding with a few other munchkins running around.  I have heard too that breastfeeding was considered to be an uncultured or low-class practice, an opinion that started in the early 20th century and extended almost to the 21st century.

When I was feeding my own babies (in the 90’s) breastfeeding was the thing to do.  I found it very convenient and relaxing, with no complications.  No sterilizing bottles and no filling bottles in the middle of the night.  I do know several women that had difficulties though, with low milk production or trouble with babies latching on properly.  I always said that was the advantage I had in having large babies; (my first was 10 pounds!) they had no trouble latching on and draining me every feeding.

Today, there appears to be mixed feelings about breastfeeding.  It has been making a comeback due to the increased interest in pursuing healthy, more natural lifestyles.   However, although no one can really dispute the health advantages, some modern women still feel tied down and men feel left out when choosing to breastfeed their babies.

The smart choice (in my opinion) is to do both.  Reap the health benefits for mom and baby, but make it more convenient.  Modern technology has produced very efficient (although the electric ones are costly) breast pumps and bottles with colic reducing nipples shaped like breast nipples so baby does not get confused with different sucking procedures going back and forth.

20170425_092550a

I have seen my daughter-in-law pump two 5 ounce bottles in ten minutes, something that would have taken me hours to do by hand years ago.  Below are a few of the newest products out there for breastfeeding moms on the go; they are all greatly admired by this grandma…

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Posted in education, loreeebee.ca, technology

Another Scam

Right after I posted about SCAMS I received this email.  I just saw it today because it was filtered into my JUNK file where it belongs…

This is to inform you that after the evaluation and conclusion of our meeting with the board of directors and special representatives from BANK PLC BURKINA FASO on how to disburse and remit your funds to you.
 
BANK PLC and WESTERN UNION have collaborated in other to remit your total fund of $2.5M us dollar, via western union by transferring $8,500 usd to you everyday via western union until we conclude the remittance of your funds.
 
So please confirm your interest by providing the below details to enable us begin the payment of your funds and start to transfer your funds via western union.
 
1 . Your full names
2. Your contact address
3. Your country
4. Your occupation
5. Your contact lines
6. A copy of your id documentary or international passport
7. Personal email address
 
Upon receiving this details, we shall start the transfer of your funds via western union as stated transferring your funds to you in badges of $8,500 usd per day.

Please kindly contact our representative MR GABBERT PARKER with the details for your transfer of your fund.

Sincerely,
Yours Faithfully.
Manager(Operations) MR GABBERT PARKER
Chief Operating Officer, Financing & Portfolio
Money Transfer | International Money Transfer | Western Union
www.westernunion.com

 

Lucky me!