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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

It seems I was complaining too early about the gloomy weather in Belgium, when I wrote about the solar electricity production of the panels on our roof at the beginning of October. Because October was even darker than ever before in the last decade – in fact, there wasn’t a single day of blue sky in the whole month. And that makes for a disappointing state of things: the darkest October in 10 years, producing only 79% of the average KWh’s of the previous years.

That number of 79% is confirmed by the national meteorological institute KMI (in Dutch): it has registered only 88 hours of sunshine in October, compared to a ‘normal’ (I suppose that means ‘average’) 112 hours. 88 / 112 * 100 = 79%. It may have been warmer and wetter than normally in October, but that’s just a small consolation.

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Our solar panels reflect what we and many people in Belgium see: Autumn has set in early, with mostly grey skies and sometimes lots of rain in a short period. The clouds in the picture accompanying my previous post are fairly typical of the Belgian sky during the last two weeks.

No wonder then that the solar energy production of September is just 96% of the average September production, and less than 89% of last year’s September!

At least at this very moment there are a few solar rays penetrating the clouds.

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I have updated the numbers of the electricity production of our solar panels. There’s nothing special to report, except that August hasn’t been so sunny since 2013. With a little luck, that will help make 2019 into another 2MWh year ;-)

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By now, everyone knows that the past month has broken a few temperature records here in Belgium (and elsewhere in Europe). Rising temperatures make solar voltaic panels less efficient, and that shows in our solar energy production numbers for July 2019. Even on those very hot and sunny days our panels never produced the top numbers we might have expected. So all in all, July was just an almost-average month: 96% isn’t too bad. The same goes for the meteorological Spring of 2019: average…

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I was just 11 at the time, and I did see some of the TV images of the moon landing during the summer of 1969. Anything to do with rockets and space, as well as the required “futuristic” technology to make things happen in that domain, still makes me sit up and pay attention. It’s no wonder, looking back at this, that I still read mainly SF books; like Star Trek; try to remain in touch with the latest developments in physics and tech; and continue to tinker with computers (at a very, very modest scale).

Thus I agree with Ars Technica, writing:

Today, the Moon landings still take our breath away. On July 20, 1969, NASA pulled off arguably the greatest technical achievement of the 20th century.

(Click the image to go to the Lego™ shop)

To celebrate that achievement, Lego™ is selling a 1,087 piece set of the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. I know, that is essentially “good marketing” on their part. But this is one of the few sets I would consider buying these days – because of the significance of the Apollo 11 missions, not because it would fit in the collection of thousands of bricks I still have from my youth ;-) Thanks for pointing this set out to me, Ars!

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Belgian (and European) politicians keep saying that all of us must be ready to get on-board the unstoppable train of “digitalisation” (although the explanation of what that exactly means is not so clear). But everyone knows: digital is the future, if it’s not already today.

Modern society is noisy, especially so if you live in or near an urban / industrial area, or close to busy roads and highways. Noise is a known stress factor. Luckily, electrical vehicles are very silent, compared to their internal-combustion engine cousins. Electrical vehicles are taking over from their ICE cousins – just ask Norway. Hurrah! I’ll finally be able to sleep with the bedroom window wide-open.

Unfortunately, all new electric cars in Europe must by law emit an audible noise. So we’ll use a very analog solution to solve a problem caused by humanity’s technological progress. I can’t help thinking there must be other, quieter solutions to this problem.

But hey, I suppose it beats having to hire someone to walk in front of your vehicle, waving a red flag, no?

I found this image on Whaleoil, credited (I think) to ‘The giffgaff community‘…

 

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The last week has been very sunny and very warm in Belgium. Meteorologists tell us we had a real heat wave – not as severe as in France and Spain, to be sure, but enough to our photovoltaic panels produce the expected (but average) solar electricity of just below 300 KWh in June.

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