* Posts by Emily Parry

7 posts • joined 5 May 2009

Halo friends frag harder, longer

Emily Parry

Well they got it right... but not quite the way they think... heheh...

Thursday nights are Halo Night for me and a group of about 5-7 other people I regularly play online with. Now we don't always get to play together as a bigger team, but there's nearly always 5 or 6 of us playing on that evening together.

Indeed, we do tend to get better kills (or in the case of objective games, better chance of achieving the objectives) than players of around the same skill who are not playing together as a group. However... we also get more betrayals... FROM OUR OWN TEAM MEMBERS! For is this is a kind of joke. We're not playing this thing as if it's life or death, we're playing it for fun and will quite often kill each other if a humorous opportunity arises e.g. getting a friend into a warthog then driving said warthog off a cliff (failing or succeeding to jump out ourselves to safety in the nick of time).

Also the opposing team need not fear us being split up and winding up with one of us on their side. In fact, they will find themselves better off, as our team mate on the opposing time will go out of their way to find *us* and kill us, ignoring other players, and vice versa!

The only thing we've come to conclude is that this is a cultural thing. People from other nations e.g. America tend to stay loyal to their team and go about unsportsmanlike conduct to better the majority of friends. Also small children, and younger generations also tend to have a similar attitude of aggressively ganging up on their opposition using weight of numbers and betrayals and any other underhand technique they can think of. We simply don't. The only time we'll gang up on anyone, is amongst ourselves, when we know no offence will be taken and only hilarity will ensue.


Windfarm Britain means (very) expensive electricity

Emily Parry

I'll get my *lab* coat

Here's my plan:

First get people to acknowledge that while at present fossil fuels underpin mostly growing energy needs, that even after alternative energy is developed we will still be left with growing non-energy dependencies. Want me to explain? Email me.

Second get them to integrate the environment and human factors. Greenies need to understand not everybody can make sacrifices, but some can. Greedies need to scale up their selfishness to wider parameters, expanding the identity of self to include the whole world - forgive me for going Zen on you, but: protect your body and you protect yourself, protect the world, and you protect yourself.

Third is my actual UK-based PhD study: looking at whether or not electric vehicles could balance a greater level of penetration of renewable energy systems through smart charging and V2G power. Of all other energy types, only electricity can be put usefully to the same diversity of purposes that fossil fuels are, and all our alternatives (wind, wave, hydro, solar, biofuel) while insignificant on their own can all be used to make electricity or subsidise it's use (e.g. solar thermal, Combined Heat and Power, transport biofuels), meanwhile we need fossil fuels for other, far more important things.

Fourth I want to try to inspire people to start looking at rationing fossil fuels in such away that use might become sustainable, and suggest through ecological, geographical and chemical science that we find ways to predict where fossil fuels will develop, and start planning and thinking on a global, million-lifetime scale.

Anybody who wants to help me sort the world out instead of stamping their feet and screaming "we're all doomed!" please get in touch! The more people that get involved, the more knowledge and experience I have access to, and the better our progress. I'm not no expert, I'm a generalist, but I do know how to use the expertise of others.

Emily Parry (elp25@bath.ac.uk) - working towards PhD

Dept. Electronic & Electrical Engineering, University of Bath

Background: BSc Environmental Science, A level Biology/Chemistry/Physics

Emily Parry

Mass naivety

1) Government report states problems of cost for tackling climate change with renewables (paragraph 5.2, The UK Renewable Energy Strategy, July 2009):

"The new ... measures ... in the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan [includes not just the Renewable Energy Strategy but also a number of other policies] will add on average an additional 6% to today’s household energy bills by 2020. Including all previously announced climate policies will increase this figure to 8%. The Government estimates that, taken in isolation, the measures included in this Renewable Energy Strategy would increase household electricity bills by 15% and gas bills by 23% by 2020 compared to what they would have been without these measures. The overall bill impacts of the UK Low Transition Plan are considerably lower primarily because they include policies for greater energy efficiency, and hence reduce energy bills."

2) Any massive structure affects the environment - note just because it is in the sea does not make the impact any less.

3) Climate changes future weather, but this is expected to increase strength/area of wind power in UK.

4) Any 'unused land' has a biodiversity/habitat conservation value, nutrient/carbon storage value, potential use value (especially revelant in UK as housing, road, industrial developers and those of us who like to 'see' unused land e.g. conservationists fight over our 'spare' land).

5) Countries will never work together to share energy resources until there is one sole goverment, and one international military force.

6) High Voltage Direct Transmission lines/cables (I think what might have been meant earlier by 'interconnectors') are cool, but only get cost-effective over quite large distances, bigger if I remember correctly than the distance from Glasgow to London.

7) Batteries in every home? Nice for those who can afford not to live in rented flats/tiny shitholes.

8) Vehicle-to-Grid power may allow for greater wind penetration (Kempton and Tomic, 2005 and Lund, 2007). I'm working on that but you'll have to wait a few years before I can tell you anything about the UK specifically. Quick explanation: smart grid, plug-in vehicle types, time charging with low peak demand/high electricity available. Best support comes from companies with vehicles run on shift patterns - can fulfill role of otherwise expensive spinning reserve generators that switch on/off with wind intermittency. Role of Combined Heat and Power emphasised by Lund for Denmark.

9) But elec cars still pose same problem as home batteries, and distributed home generation e.g. solar thermal/voltaics or small scale wind: feed in tarrifs mean money for those able to afford these new tech, or rich enough to own a home big enough (or with it's own roof - e.g. only top floor of a block of flats could do photothermal/voltaic) to situate these new tech e.g. driveways, garages for cars.

10) You might like to point out as another flaw in reporting from the BBC/gov. on this: They intend that home generation through photothermal/voltaic etc. are given feed in tarrifs, and that income from these is free of income tax (box 3.2, The UK Renewable Energy Strategy, July 2009). Bare in mind my last paragraph, and ponder this: the medium-rich to rich get richer, the poor stay as they are and the gap widens.

11) No single solution is an answer. We need solutions are varied and adaptable, and suited to individual areas/peoples/weather/whatever, as the tropical rainforest is suggested to have life. Bio, or should I say, techno-diversity is the key, as is an attitude that sees all people, regardless their status or profession, as deserving of equal environmental health (note post by Anonymous Coward about £21k not deemed enough for a family to live on).

12) BBC never wants to comment on the fact that the number of people in this country needs to be no more than it is, less babies, more emmigration, less immigration, whatever. Then spread us out a bit more nicely, can I have a garden for when I have kiddies, please? That would be nice. The BBC reports on a mythical UK where everybody seems to have a house and a garden, and a car, and can afford holidays abroad. If that's not propaganda, I don't know what is.


London's e-van drivers club together

Emily Parry

Great idea - but can't you wait a bit longer?!

OK, yeah, creating wider urban clear zones without necessarily stiffling transport trade in a big city like London is going to be a very good thing. In fact, I'm sure electrification of transport is the way forwards, BUT NOT YET! Has any body yet checked exactly how much emissions will change should road transport go electric or how much fossil fuel will be consumed, keeping in mind how non-renewable our electricity supply system is, not to mention how inefficient the power production side is?!

I'm trying to work on that, but please can't the world hold their horses on the electrict frontier while I and other sciency people work out how it should be done? If we end up through power stations emitting more Green House Gases and burning more fuel to support electric vehicles than those vehicles do as they stand, then nobody's going to be that happy about it. Somebody tell them they need to put renewable distributed energy generation across London for this change to have all the benefits we keep assuming are already there.


Research: Airliners can be more eco-friendly than trains

Emily Parry

Planes, trains, and flying automobiles

I can only hope should any of you read the conference paper I'm trying to write at the moment that you can treat my work a little more sypathetically! If the reseachers are venting this paper as a reason for why we should build more planes than trains, than shame on them. More than likely they were just interested in the topic and they are right to point out things nobody else has yet considered.

We need planes, trains, automobiles (but probably not flying ones - one or two per km, fine, 100s, it's be worse than things are now) and boats. All have niches and specific purposes. Integrating them properly is the key to making them more useful (along with pricing, frequency etc.).

How could we help prevent the spread of disease, have a universally decent quality of life, avoid long-lasting environmental problems and climate change all at once? LESS PEOPLE. Those fewer individuals would also have to be on the whole smarter, a lot less selfish, and a lot more prideful in their work (whatever it might be) and in the work of others.

A humanity hivemind perhaps...?


UK's national grid 'ready' for e-car expansion

Emily Parry

Definition of toe

Apart from the smallest digit on your foot, toe is an abreviation for 'tonnes of oil equivalent' and is a unit for energy. It really threw me when I first started reading that thing! I know there will be physicists screaming about non-SI units (I also found it frustrating) but for some reason the government uses this one.

The DUKES report has an excellent section where they have kindly converted all energy use in the UK to this unit, so one can compare say road transport use directly to the amount of energy used for domestic purposes, not only this, but it also shows what the constituents were in this same unit e.g. coal, natural gas and secondary electricity. Obviously people quibble over the conversions, and what is and what isn't included in this report and the details. But I'm finding it very useful in my studies.

Not quite sure what Will is getting at with regards to coal fired powerstations... Does he mean that there would be no need for fossil fuel derived coal powerstations if we used renewables for electricity generation, backed up by storage and regulation (keeping the grid stable) from V2G power provided by our new electric cars? One can hope so. There is no surplus generation of electricity at the moment (that I know of) although it's true wind farms have to be disconnected at the moment when they are producing too much power.

Does anyone know if the report mentioned in this article includes V2G power? I'd be very interested to know. Also, does anyone know how environmentally friendly the batteries are for these new electric cars?

Emily Parry

More importantly where's the green? But there is hope...

None of you have yet pointed out the slight problem of (I quote the Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2008 report):

"In 2007, every 1 toe of secondary electricity consumed by final users required, on average, 1.0

toe of coal, 0.9 toe of natural gas, 0.4 toe of primary electricity (nuclear, natural flow hydro and

imports) and 0.2 toe of oil and renewables combined."

I am currently looking into this whole area for my PhD. My point is a lot more energy goes into providing electricity than electricity actually gets delivered. I don't yet know the maths involving just how much more energy efficient electric vehicles are, but I have understood that unless they are substantially more efficient, in theory we could end up burning MORE fossil fuels were road transport to go electric, not less.

However, there is yet hope - I've spotted a few papers on Vehicle-to-grid power (V2G) you might find worth looking into. There are a few researchers who believe that electric cars could balance an increase in renewable energy supplies by offsetting their intermittency (and tendency to over-produce electricity) by providing distributed managed storage (amongst other things). This could also offset the costs of infrastructure, or possible upgrades to local network capacities (allowing the faster charging you are interested in).

But still one resounding problem remains: implementation. Should we find ways to make charging universal - not mattering where you park your car, then all should be fair. Otherwise, people rich enough to afford houses with garages or at least driveways, could benefit from the virtue of selling power back to the grid, while those of us who for instance live in converted-to-flats town houses in unsavoury areas will be prevented from doing so. Truly, the more money you have, the more money you get. I have heard a few physicists musing the idea of inducive charging (hands free, plugs free).



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