Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2017 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Power, cash, drugs and gold

14 March 2017

Every now and then I write a column in which I discuss a range of topics rather than focus on a single issue. This is one of those columns.

First-up today, are the "Smart Meters" which are increasingly used to measure our domestic power consumption actually accurate?

Recent reports show that some of these meters (overseas) are inordinately inaccurate and have resulted in people being massively overcharged for their electricity use. Why is this and do the meters installed by our power companies pass independent certification?

To be honest, I have no idea -- perhaps a reader can enlighten us.

With the proliferation of appliances using switched-mode power supplies (SMPS), the power factor of these devices can often be far removed from a perfect score of 1.0 and if simplistic power-measurement circuitry is used this alone can account for significant errors in reporting.

For those who don't know about power-factor, it's the difference between the number of watts you get when multiplying the current times the voltage and the actual number of watts a device consumes.

How can current multiplied by voltage not be an accurate measure of power?

Well if the device connected causes a phase difference between the voltage and current measurements in an AC supply then this can occur. Highly capacitive or inductive loads can cause this disparity and unless the power meter actually calculates the power factor and uses it when calculating the true power consumption, your bill could be miles out.

In other news, I see that Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer is about to get a huge golden handshake.

Despite the fact that Yahoo has lurched from crisis to crisis under her seemingly inept management, she'll score a very healthy US$23m payout when ownership of Yahoo changes, probably later this year.

Wow... that's great work if you can get it!

I know more than a few people who are far better at their jobs than she was and they'll be lucky to get a "see ya later" when they leave their current position.

Closer to home, it seems that illegal drug use in Auckland is much higher than many had thought.

Tests on waste-water show some alarming levels of meth-amphetamine (P) and other recreational drugs. No numbers were available for cannabis use, apparently because the tests are more complex and expensive but P and a range of other recreational drugs seem to be regularly found in the waste-water. Interestingly enough, very few metabolites of cocaine were found but definite indicators were present to suggest that the raw drug had been "flushed" at some stage (did mum find Johnny's stash perhaps?)

Across the Tasman it seems as if a lot of Aussies in Sydney are about to get incredibly rich -- if they survive.

What am I talking about?

Well the NZ Herald reports this morning that the area is about to be smashed by "giant gold ball sized hailstones".

Sigh!

And that's another day from the newswires.

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

The Missile Man The Missile Man book

Recent Columns

South Waikato District Council strikes again
I'm pretty sure that most regular readers will know of the Tokoroa Airfield tower and its significance to the town...

Fake news, is there a solution?
Fake News has become one of the buzzwords of the year...

The fallout risk to NZ in a nuclear war
Many people say that New Zealand will be the safest place on earth to be if/when nuclear war breaks out in the Northern Hemisphere...

Google browser to block ads?
I read something interesting today which claims that Google is working on providing an ad-blocking capability to its Chrome web-browser...

Spark says not to worry
If you're an Xtra customer or user of the Spark mobile phone service I'm sure you've already learned that this is a company which can really screw things up from time to time...

CAA.. enough already!
Regular readers will know that I'm bewildered and befuddled by the way CAA seems to pay lip-service to the issue of safety...

Please, stop fixing stuff!!
We live in an age when everything we own or use must apparently be updated with monotonous regularity...

Crowdfunding the media
Old-school ad-funded media is dying...

Maori reoffending, it's all my fault
The news wires have been running hot with a report that Maori reoffending rates are much higher than those of non-Maori and, apparently, it's the fault of the Department of Corrections...

Gambling on Tesla
According to media reports, Tesla has become the most valuable car company in the USA, trouncing the previous leader General Motors...

NZ, a nice place to visit but...
Wow, this country is sure taking a hammering...