Posts tagged ‘energy’

Sugar Does Not Make Children Hyper

By Chad Upton | Editor

I’ve only been a dad for a few weeks, so I can’t provide any anecdotal evidence on this one. Thankfully, a much more scientific source is available. The British Medical Journal has published a study that concludes: sugar does not make children hyperactive.

Of course, we’ve all heard this myth. There are even some parents who give their kids pixie stix, hoping it will give them more energy: (more…)

May 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm 10 comments

Niagara Falls Water Volume is Lower at Night

By Chad Upton | Editor

The magnificent waterfalls known as Niagara falls are split on the US/Canada border. People come to see massive amounts of water flowing over the falls and that’s exactly what they get, during the day.

While the falls are a popular tourist attraction, many people don’t know the water is an important source of power. There is one power company on each side of the border that draws water from above the falls to turn their generators.

Unfortunately, drawing water from the river above the falls can impact what the falls look like.

During the tourist season (April to October), the power companies must maintain the water flow over the falls at 100,000 cubic feet per second. That’s not very difficult since the river has a natural flow of about 212,000 cubic feet per second on a typical summer day. That means they normally draw about 100,000 cubic feet per second for power generation and allow that same amount over the falls.

But at night, they can draw even more water and lower the flow at the falls to about 50,000 cubic feet per second. This extra flow allows them to turn their turbines and fill up their reservoirs so they have more water after the tourism flow is restored in the morning. Since the falls erode about two feet per year, drawing extra water at night also slows erosion so the falls will be around for many generations to come.

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Image: Alberto Mari (cc)

Source: NiagaraFrontier.com

August 26, 2011 at 3:00 am 5 comments

Chewing Sunflower Seeds Can Help You Stay Awake

By Kaye Nemec

We’ve all been there: we’re driving late at night, determined to make it to our final destination, growing more tired with each passing mile. We roll our windows down, turn up the radio’s volume, gulp down caffeine — anything to keep our eyelids from dropping.

Drowsy driving is a dangerous situation. In fact, studies show that it can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Of course the best solution would be to pull over and get some rest. But if you have no choice and really need to keep on driving, try chewing sunflower seeds to stay awake.

Eating sunflower seeds (with shells) is not an easy task. The act of using your teeth to crack the seed, figuring out how to remove the seed from the shell and successfully discarding the shell, not to mention eating the seed, will keep your brain focused. Be sure to have an empty cup or bottle handy to spit the shells into or your car will be a mess when you finally get to your destination.  Grabbing a healthy drink to go with the seeds is a good idea too, they are certainly a salty snack and will leave you feeling pretty thirsty.

Mastering the art of eating sunflower seeds “hands free” can take a little time, so if you’re not quite there yet I recommend a few practice sessions at home before taking this trick out on the road. The point is to keep your mind active and alert, but not to be so distracted that you’re unable to focus on safe driving.

Want to kill two birds with one stone? At your next pit stop, get a package of SumSeeds.  They’re a brand of sunflower seeds infused with caffeine, taurine, lysine and ginseng. They come in four flavors; original, salt & pepper, honey BBQ and dill pickle. If your local store doesn’t carry them, you can get them from Amazon.

In addition to the mental concentration and energy it takes to eat sunflower seeds, their nutritional value will also help improve your overall health and wellness. Unlike the sugars and refined carbohydrates often found in common “pick me up” snacks, sunflower seeds are packed with healthy fats, protein and fiber.

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Sources: Wikihow.com,  AAAFoundation.org, SUMSEEDS.com, Sunflowernsa.com

Photo: photofarmer (cc)

September 22, 2010 at 5:00 am 4 comments

Lights Use More Energy While Turning On

By Chad Upton | Editor

There is a belief that it takes more energy to turn a light bulb on than it does to leave it running. That is true.

But, in some cases it’s still more energy efficient to turn the lights off when you leave the room.

That’s because the spike of additional electricity that is used to turn on a light bulb, is very short lived. That extra energy varies depending on the type of light bulb.

For most bulb types, the extra energy is equivalent to less than one second of energy that is consumed while the light is on. That means, you’d have to leave the room and return within one second to save energy by leaving the light turned on.

The one exception is fluorescent tubes (not compact fluorescents), they require a lot more energy to turn on than they consume while running normally.

Depending on the source of the information, fluorescents use energy equivalent to 5 to 24 seconds of regular use, just to power up. Therefore, if you use fluorescent tubes, there would be times when it would be more efficient to leave them on than turn them off.

If you have a large room that is lit with fluorescent tubes and you were going to leave the room for a few minutes or less, it would be more efficient to leave them on instead of turning them off and then back on when you return. But, if you’re leaving for more than that, you should shut them off.

That said, turning lights on and off does cause wear and tear on the bulbs. LED “bulbs”, which are now available at most hardware stores, are most resilient to this type of wear and tear.

Incandescent bulbs are extremely cheap, so the cost of replacing these bulbs isn’t an important consideration, although the environmental impact may be. But, it is important to consider this wear and tear for more expensive bulbs such as compact fluorescents. It is for this reason that the EPA recommends that compact fluorescent lights are used in areas where they will usually be turned on for at least 15 minutes at a time. This will contribute to bulb lifespan.

Although I used a couple other sources for this post, Mythbusters did some great experiments on this subject and I’ve embedded the video if you’d like to watch it.

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Sources: Mythbusters, EPA, EnergyStar (PDF)

July 30, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

The Mall of America Does Not Have a Central Heating System

By Chad Upton | Editor

In case you’re not familiar with the Mall of America, it’s a 2.5 million sq. ft. shopping center in Bloomington Minnesota, a suburb of the “Twin Cities” (Minneapolis and Saint Paul). The mall opened in 1992 and contains more than 520 stores, two seven story parking garages with a total of 20,000 parking spaces, a giant aquarium and of course an indoor amusement park.

Photo by Dave Wallick

I was there in 1993 on a big family road trip and it was amazing. A building of this size seems like it should have a massive heating system to stay comfortable during winter months. But, the engineers had a much more creative solution in mind. (more…)

March 2, 2010 at 12:35 am 31 comments

Instantly Brighten Your Basement With CF Lights

This secret is great for garages, basements, crawlspaces and outdoor spaces — where you can always use more light.

This is a cheap and easy way to give you a light boost without installing extra light sockets.

Now, it’s no secret that the beautifully spiraled compact fluorescent (CF) lights use less energy than their incandescent counterparts, which saves you money and ultimately reduces our energy demand. But, even if you don’t care about saving electricity, CF lights may still benefit you.

When you replace an old bulb with a CF, take a close look at the socket. There is usually a silver sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light that can be used in that socket. Typical light sockets will be limited to 40, 60 or 100 watts.

You can replace a 100 watt incandescent bulb with a 26 watt fluorescent bulb, which gives you the same amount of light while using 25% of the energy the old bulb used. But, if you use a 42 watt compact fluorescent, you’ll still be well below the 100 watt max and the light will output the equivalent to a 150 watt bulb. Because the compact fluorescent produces more light per watt, you’ve got a much brighter room.

I use two of these lights in my garage light sockets and it makes a huge difference when I’m working out there. I also have one in my basement, which makes a big difference compared to the 100 watt incandescent it replaced — especially since there are no windows in the area.

I’ll remind you that it is extremely important to check the socket or fixture maximum and be sure the compact fluorescent bulb’s consumption is equal or lower (although the “equivalent” wattage will likely be higher, giving you more light).

BrokenSecrets.com

December 28, 2009 at 12:01 am 2 comments


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