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gcol last won the day on May 19 2007

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  1. Thank you all for your responses. All noted, understood and well received, Those suggesting poor phrasing were food for thought. Swansont..... I should have titled this post as "which would be the most suitable forum for this question?" If you think there may be some interest, can you suggest one? Otherwise I shall quietly fade away. But, being not just an idiot but a stubborn one, as Galileo is rumoured to have muttered under his breath after having been forced to recant "And yet it does move!
  2. My question would be an old chestnut: can 2+2 ever =5. I came up with a scenario where the answer, with little thought experiment, suggested "YES! I put my idea to a university maths professor of my acquaintance. He said no, absolutely not, and politely implied I was a complete idiot and wasting his time. Here is the scenario, which illustrates my dilemma whether maths or philosophy: I place a bag upon a table, ask "how many"? answer 1. Another bag. Answer 2. I open one bag, inside are two peanuts. How many? 2. Open second bag, contents 1 peanut. How many? Some say 1, some say 3 in total. Now vary the number of bags, their contents, add bags within bags, and the possibilities are infinite. My dilemma: Standard text book maths says no, human perception says yes. Apologies. I clicked send when distracted before finishing the post. I wanted to add the following possible responses: 1. Maths is maths, human perception is entirely different, ne'er the twain shall meet (but I suggest that human perception and imagination was the inventor of maths) 2. gcol is indeed a complete idiot. 3.There is a branch of maths which deals with this problem, and it is..... 4.There isn't but perhaps there ought to be.... 5. The scenario is merely a cheap after dinner coffee-table trick. 6 This old chestnut has been done to death and we are tired of it.
  3. What Darwin Got Wrong

    You know a "true scientist" when, presented with a comprehensive toolbox, they always select only one......mathematics. Blinkered, or what? To make matters worse, they then claim to be the sole judges and arbiters of logic. Funny lot, really. Still, we should not mock the afflicted. They do their best, within their limitations. Just continue to gently persude them to examine themselves as rigourously as they would examine others. (hockey sticks and glaciers, anyone?)
  4. pH Balancing for Hydroponics

    The "standard" ph adjuster used by hydroponics afficianados is phosphoric acid. I thought this was well-known, but as it has not been yet mentioned..... It is food friendly (coca cola is dosed with the stuff). It is available from any good hydroponics equipment supplier online (Including everything you need for growing various medicinal "weeds"). They also have what you need for measuring ph and instructions as to practical methods for adjusting it as required. If you have any left over, use it to rustproof your iron and steel tools, clean copper. etc.
  5. I only mention this as the original OP seems to have voluntarily brought the original thread to a conclusion, so: Well, he bravely "fessed up", but from my own experiences, there is stilll something weird going on here. Not just batteries. I accidentally connected a standard electrolytic the wrong way, and a supercap. Then used them with their new polarity, then reversed them again just for fun. The capacitances were large, and the charging currents small. I dont fancy trying it again though, the capacitors were not cheap. The homebrew windpower boys have connected electrolytics back-to back during their experiments to find the "sweet spot" of their alt/prop combinations with beneficial effects and are furiously discussing the whys and wherefores
  6. Side Reactions in Displacement Reactions?

    I very hesitantly suggest that the "mystery gases" probably first dissolve in the solute and only become apparent when saturation occurs? If so, and the proportions of chemicals are hit-and-miss or more likely in tiny ammounts, the reaction might complete before saturation. perhaps altering the temperature of the spent solution will produce visible/collectable bubbles?
  7. I hope you get some sensible answers, Because I have noticed this odd effect a couple of times, just assumed I measured wrongly or had a glass or two too much of the old "oh be joyful". The phenomenon seems to be random and not reproduceable to order thus not lab procedure convenient. I have noticed occasional similar weirdies from my home-made alkalines. Just assumed I had made an error, introduced impurities, or had random electrode passivation (which I suspect varies with discharge rate). Some weird partial reactions seem to take place in enclosed environments given enough time. The patience of a saint and a hermit-like work environment are required to set up "I wonder what happens if....." type experiments that might take half a lifetime to do anything.
  8. Extracting power from wind...

    For the amount of energy extractable from the wind, investigate the "Betz Limit". (My imperfect memory is telling me that only up to about 50% of the wind power is extractable). A multi-blade prop will generate its power (torque) at lower rpm, and at the other extreme, a single blader (dynamically balanced, of course) will generate its power at much higher revs. The 3-blader is favoured by the windpowe boys as a practical compromise, but for water pumping at low revs a multi-blader is preferred. The multi-blader presents a virtual solid disk to the wind at lower revs Chose the revs you want, then build a blade system to suit. By the way, a two-blader has unwanted gyroscopic effects as it swings about to face the wind.
  9. Thank you, but I think that much is already clear. Perhaps I am looking for a reaction that produces excess unattached oxygen, where this may be the result of unbalanced amounts of NaOH and Al? I have come across several attempts to balance this reaction, with conflicting results depending on initial proportions, but none seem to indicate the creation of excess oxygen, but experimental observations seem clear.
  10. While experimenting with primary cells using aluminium, copper, and caustic soda both electrodes begin to gas under certain load conditions. It is common knowledge that the gas from the aluminium electrode must be hydrogen, but bubbles from the copper are larger, non-fizzy, and rise slowly through the elecrolyte. I assume it is oxygen, but researching the reaction between al and naoh gives some confusing answers, but nowhere is the production of oxygen mentioned. The copper does not appear to be consumed, and the electrolyte does not turn bluish. It is as if the "mystery gas" becomes dissolved in the electrolyte then adheres to the copper rather like dissolved air in fresh tapwater adheres to the side of the glass. I think I have also observed slow-rising gas bubbles evolving from areas of electrolyte away from electrodes and reaction vessel sides. Possible clue: The double-gassing effect only occurs when cell output has been loaded down to about 0.4v and less. When the load is reduced and the voltage rises towards 1v, the bubbles do not appear to re-dissolve. Could there be a secondary, voltage-dependent reaction going on here? I have found no literature relating to this.....electron shell energy threshold effect? Merged post follows: Consecutive posts mergedWell, scratch the voltage threshold observation, further messing about has cast serious doubt on it. I replaced the resistive load with a diode, holding cell voltage to about .63, and gassing at the cathode still occurs. Removing the anode (aluminium) and shaking the cell causes a surprising amount what I presume is oxygen(?) to come out of solution, like shaking a bottle of pop. Could it be that when plenty of hydrogen is produced, this is combining with oxygen to form water, but insufficient hydrogen causes th oxygen to simply dissolve? The thought of possibly producing hydrogen and oxygen simultaneously in an enclosed (but ventilated) reaction vessel is making me a bit nervous! No replies yet...I suppose it must be just boring!!
  11. Windpower affordable?

    Captain Panic: More than somewhat misleading, surely? What about maintenance and replacement? I doubt whether the scheduled life of a turbine is more than 20 years. So your 57bn. would become an extra , say 100bn. in 20 years, allowing for very modest inflation. I have a suspicion that I would rather be an employee of the windpower industry than a consumer of the final product. ;)Might provide more jobs for the masses and revenue for the state though. Perhaps that is the hidden Green Illuminati agenda?
  12. Windpower affordable?

    If you are considering real economics, there are more factors to be considered. for example: 1. The cost of the power collection system/network, and the distribution of the aggregated power. 2. The necessity of backup power generation, still reliant on traditional methods. This surely means that windpower, however much, would only ever be an additional power source, not a replacement. 3. Political economics: international conections and tarriffs. I consider that windpower is only a partial solution. A system that fully integrates all available alternative energy sources must be considered. I wait to see figures indicating the total energy available from geothermal, wavepower, tidal power, photovoltaic and solar heating. A detailed cost analysis is useful, but only in as much as all Factors are considered. This means listening to the awkward squad as well as the wishful thinkers. Turbine blades made from glassfibre, not steel.
  13. I obtained quite a few samples of biodegradable plastics (water-soluble) derived from starch (including poato starch) in powder and pellet form in connection with a home-brew project. They all had controlled levels of solubility, ranging from a couple of hours to days when immersed in water. If the finished article was very thick, even the fast dissolving grades could take days. These plastics do however present difficulties to commercial extruders and moulders through limited plastic temperature range, and generally an undesirably high moisture content, unfriendly for existing extruding equipment. The plastics industry is geared up largely for more machine friendly petrochemical plastics. Environmentally friendly, yes. Commercially convenient and profitable, less so. Requires retooling and re-education.
  14. winding coils

    In my opinion, there is no "best way". I wind quite a few for home-brew axial flux alternators. I use different coil winding methods according to the shape and size (long thin, short fat, square, wedge-shape, etc) of the coil, and thickness of wire. The coil shape matches the magnet shape. As I make them in sets of up to 20 or more, I need to reproduce the same number of turns, which is not easy to do with a power drill without the complication of a rev counter. So I mount wooden dowel between two pieces of wood with suitably sized bearing holes, and a handle on one end. A certain amount of friction is good, as it stops the coil unwinding prematurely. I use air-core coils, so don't use steel rod. If you are making tesla coils, tuning coils, electromagnet coils etc, with or without cheek pieces which might be needed for mounting purposes, you need to consider that for your winding mechanism. There are some nice youtube videos on the subject, with an impressive variety of home-brew set-ups, including ways to make pancake and bifilar coils. Also have a look at several forums dedicated to home brew wind power. Very inventive. Good luck, but be first be clear as to the type of coil, the materials and tools you have to hand, and your DIY skills.
  15. Are physics laws eternal or do they evolve?

    I like the journey analogy. I have used it before. But unfortunately(?) many travellers say this, but sooner or later find a comfortable resting place that they make into a cosy home and invite everybody in. Then they become upset when the house guests become restless and move on, and new travellers give only a passing glance and pass by. Many scientists are like this. They are after all only human. They reach their comfort level and seem to resent others travelling past and ignoring them. They should not feel obligated to move on, just feel satisfied that they have done their bit and leave the continuing journey to fresh legs. I particularly liked Smolin's reference to past, present and future universes, as I find myself becoming more and more attached to the various cyclic universe theories in which each cycle can have different physical constants, and time is therefore not invariant. I also agree that the search for the T.O.E. may be fools gold, or if you prefer, the philosophers stone.