June 19, 2008

What I Learned This Week – Part Three

It’s been raining all week.  Not exactly what one expects from the middle of June, but I actually enjoy the cool weather.  And of course, I learned something from it.

It always rains in England.  And I learned this week that I will not be going to England next month, as I had originally expected, due to some unfortunate bureaucracy.  I was looking forward to the trip, as a way to take a break from what has been a fairly tiresome routine for the last few months.  I suppose I had become too accustomed to the jetsetting lifestyle that took up most of my 2006-2007, and being grounded for so long has been somewhat frustrating.  All things considered, most people don’t get the enjoyment of travel nearly as much as I do, so I should consider myself thankful for the opportunities I’ve had, and not dwell on the opportunities I lost.

Back to the Future wasn’t exactly accurate.  My boss was worried about playing softball the other day due to the impending lightning storm, afraid that holding a metal bat would make him a prime target for being struck by a bolt of lightning.  That triggered a moment of inspiration for me; I remembered reading once that the CN Tower is struck by lightning nearly 50 times per year.  With a severe energy crisis, I thought to myself, can’t we harness that energy somehow? After all, it was certainly enough to generate 1.21 gigawatts to set off the Delorean back to 1985.  A very large capacitor could potentially (har har!) be charged by a lightning rod, and then trickle the current out to the local power grid.  Converting the CN Tower to a massive power station seemed brilliant, and somewhat practical.

Of course, I wasn’t the first person to think up the potential benefits of harnessing lightning.  A quick Google search lead to tonnes of material about why it isn’t really as practical as one might think.  The best article I read on the topic was this one, which concludes that even in the most ideal conditions, lightning will typically only generate enough electricity to power two households per month.  Still, it’s an interesting area of research, if one could simulate the conditions that cause lightning in the first place.  This article talks about a researcher trying to do exactly that.  I’ll keep my eyes open for any further research on the topic.

I still don’t like sand.  A colleague was suggesting I travel to Hawaii or Barbados using the remainder of my frequent flyer miles for a vacation I am planning for later this year.  But after passing by a beach volleyball court the other day, I quickly remembered how much I dislike the feeling of sand, especially wet sand.  If ever I wrote a personals ad, I would start it off with, “I hate long walks on the beach.”

6 comments:

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  2. The English are never happy with the weather. However, I do actually like this whole "one day sun, one day rain" routine we've been subjected to this week.

    I am not one for hot weather, but I do like sun and blue skies. I also don't like hose pipe bans. Thus, a balance of sun, rain, blue skies, and whatever else, seems like good news to me.

    I love England! Alhamdulillah. :)

    A part of me cringes when I hear the names "Hawaii" and "Barbados" as holiday destinations. It just seems so cliché after all these years. But then I see a film of a true Hawaiian sunset, and I fall in love. :)

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  3. We're still getting mostly rain and humidity, but it's also starting to get really hot .. very uncomfortable weather.

    I don't think I would want to go to Hawaii or Barbados or anywhere else like that. Sitting around doing nothing on a beach drinking some tropical beverage isn't at all appealing to me. I still need a holiday, but I think I can hold off for another few weeks/months.

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  4. B.C. has had odd weather this June - the first half of the month, it looked and felt as miserable as November; the second half of the month things got a bit better w/ the weekends being beautiful and occasionally a weekday would follow suit.
    Yesterday was the first day of what we could actually call summer weather! But now, of course, everyone is dying of heat (28 degrees!!!!).

    Bleargh, I wouldn't want to go to one of those beach-y places either - in fact, I'm really just happy to experience B.C. spring weather: it's green and lush and not too hot and not too cold... just perfect.

    I agree: sand = evil.

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  5. Sigh .. don't remind me about the weather in BC, I really miss Vancouver. Insha-Allah, I hope to go back there soon if things work out according to plan.

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