Dyson Creates A Disinfecting Humidifier

Dyson, a company known for their fans and vacuum cleaners has created a humidifier which disinfects the water using ultraviolet (UV) lamp technology.

They said that traditional humidifiers are ‘germ cannons’ because they don’t purify water before releasing it in the air.

Is this a major issue? While I haven’t examined water on a molecular level, I don’t think this is a major issue at all, because it is just as clean as the water you drink (which isn’t that dirty).

However, if you want pristine water vapour, Dyson can offer that (no one wants to be blasted with life-threatening bacteria). However, their humidifier appears to use the Dyson bladeless fan technology which is prohibitively expensive (They start at $300 USD for the 10″ model).

Since traditional fans cost a tiny fraction of that of a Dyson fan ($40 for a 16″ one vs $300 for a 10″ Dyson), and UV lamps are also well under $100 USD, manufacturers may respond with low-cost disinfecting humidifiers that work just as well as the Dyson.

A humidifier is one of the simplest and cheapest electrical appliances to ever exist. All they do is wet a material and pass air through it. So if you aren’t a fan of Dyson’s high-end products, I would recommend waiting for the cheaper alternatives to be commercialized.

According to Mashable:

Dyson says there were 643 prototypes, and it cost more that $60 million to develop the device. No word on retail price, but if Dyson’s Air Multiplier fans are any indication, you are not going to find this humidifier in any bargain-discount sections.

If you are in the U.S., don’t expect to get your hands on a Dyson humidifier in time for winter. The device does not hit stateside until fall 2015.

I know that some of us like to DIY (including myself). If you are suffering from dry skin, nosebleeds, or other complications due to low humidity in the winter, a simple way to help heat the room and humidify the air is to boil water in it.

Source: Mashable.

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Is The Pacific Hurricane Season Starting Already?

The Pacific Hurricane Season is supposed to start on May 15. However, a tropical disturbance has already been detected 240 miles southwest of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Could this signal a hurricane rebound? Last year, there were no major hurricanes. This could be the earliest formation in the eastern Pacific basin since 1949.

A photo of Hurricane Irene taken from space.

Hurricane Irene. Space photograph taken by and obtained with thanks from NASA astronaut Ron Garan on Aug 22, 2011. Click the image to see the 1600 x 1065 px version.

This tropical disturbance may not be a major threat because its chances of developing into a tropical storm are diminishing.

As noted by Weather.com:

‘While NHC meteorologists have analyzed a surface low pressure center, increasing wind shear – in this case, stronger winds aloft than near the surface – is now taking a toll, displacing thunderstorms to the northeast of the surface low. Lacking colocation of thunderstorms with surface low pressure, a tropical disturbance cannot deepen.’

Bear in mind that tropical disturbances such as these can cause major problems in flood-prone areas. Wind isn’t the only threat they pose. This storm system is likely to travel towards Mexico’s west coast by Friday. If it becomes a tropical depression, it will be named Tropical Depression One-E, and if it becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Tropical Storm Amanda.

If this happens you will need to stock up on foods that require no refrigeration such as uncooked lentils, red peas (or canned beans if you anticipate a stove gas shortage), canned vegetables, rice, pasta, and bread.

Other tips:

  • If you have an electric stove, I would recommend that you purchase a compact gas cooktop with a small cylinder of LPG, and stow them away for emergencies.
  • Purchase a water tank/accumulate a few large barrels of water.
  • If you want a minimal system to keep your phone charged, you can purchase a small solar charger kit for $60 or less.

Don’t forget to eat off your dairy products! Otherwise they’ll go to waste if there is a power outage.

Source: Weather.com.

January’s Cold Snap Increased Energy Bills

For Greater Cincinnati, Ohio and Kentucky households: The harsh polar vortex-caused storm that took place in January resulted in an energy bill increase of at least 11% compared to last year. The average household incurred a gas and electric bill of $288 in Ohio, and $276 in Kentucky.

I suspected there would be at least a considerable energy bill increase, as weather that cold would prompt people to turn up their heating systems, according to a Duke Energy Analysis.

January’s cold snap wasn’t the worst, though. In January of 2010, and 2011, Ohio and Kentucky’s energy bills were even higher.

Source: Cincinnati.com.

Bjørn Nyland’s Thorough Model S Winter Test

The world is not yet accustomed to electric cars, therefore, they are still skittish about purchasing them. In response to this, some have been test driving the few electric cars on the market. Many of the tests are intended to show how long their range is in reality, but, they were not very realistic. Some of them turned off the air conditioner and heater, while others drove with the cars empty to maximize range.

Image obtained with thanks from Bjørn Nyland's Youtube (snapshot).

Image obtained with thanks from Bjørn Nyland on Youtube (snapshot).

I have seen a few Tesla Model S test drives before, ranging from a short drive on a track, to cross-country trips which were over 2,000 miles. Do you really think that everyone is going to drive the car with no A/C, no heating, and without any cargo on a regular basis? I don’t, and Bjørn Nyland has conducted his own test during winter, and with cargo on board. He even had the heater on.

Part One

Part Two

Using winter tyres, Bjørn Nyland used his P85 Tesla Model S (this is the 85 kWh Performance model) to deliver various items, attempting to travel 225 miles per charge in cold, snowy weather at a maximum elevation of 1,026 metres (3,366 feet). Some of the items were a pair of automobile rims (these are heavy).

He had some minor issues with the charging plug and had to fidget with it to get it to start charging (possibly due to the cold weather), but, he completed the trip successfully by doing mostly 20-minute charges to bring it up to an 80% SOC (state of charge) using Superchargers, and was never stranded. He drove the Tesla Model S at an average speed of 46 mph. This isn’t fast, driving at low speeds stretches range by improving efficiency.

However, people drive slowly during winter anyway. He was almost stranded once because he didn’t allow it enough time to recharge. The Tesla Supercharger charging stations were conveniently located near stores he could shop around and eat while charging the Model S. If I had the money to purchase a Tesla Model S, this is the test that would convince me to buy it.

It offers a level of realism that the rest of the tests failed to. This car really does work well in all weather. I do believe that Tesla Motors may be able to further insulate or even periodically heat the charging socket to ensure that it works all the time.

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Source: Inside EVs.

Storm Emily May Affect Christmas Travel In U.K.

Storm Emily is threatening north Ireland and northwest Scotland on the days leading up to Christmas. Donegal, northern Ulster, Hebrides, the western and northern mainland of the Highland region in Scotland are also at risk.

Storm Emily is expected to approach with very strong winds to the first two regions mentioned, through tonight and early on Thursday morning. As for the rest of the U.K. They will likely experience wet and windy weather with inland wind gusts up to 50 MPH. The wind and rain are expected to travel to the North Sea.

On Thursday, Scotland will likely experience cold, windy weather, with snow in the highlands. Saturday will remain windy (there may even be gale-force winds, and gale means it is very strong). The weather will probably still be unsettled during Christmas.

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Source: Weather.com

Snow And Sleet Headed For U.K.

In large parts of Britain, a yellow warning for wind has been issued (this was on Thursday), as a cold front approaches. Cold winds could attain speeds of 70 MPH and disrupt travel, especially in Northern England, according to the Met Office. Temperatures below the average for this month are expected across the country throughout the week, especially for some southern regions, which may experience temperatures significantly colder than average, while some northern regions may be bitten by temperatures which are mostly below freezing, according to Nicola Maxey, a spokesperson for the Met Office.

“We’re going to have a cold front moving slowly down through the country through the week, starting today,” she said. “It will weaken as it moves down, but behind it will bring some wintry showers. “With the Arctic wind blowing across from cold maritime air, people will really feel the cold,” Ms Maxey added.

Tomorrow morning, Wales, the Midlands and northern parts of England will experience rain which should travel in a south-easterly direction until it clears the South Coast early in the afternoon.

One of the main reasons I created Kompulsa was to provide you with energy efficiency tips, as maintaining comfort during extreme weather can be an energy-intensive task, which not everyone can afford.

Instead of telling you to buy a new space heater, I’ll recommend the following from my Heating and Cooling page:

  • Drink hot fluids. I understand that you may not want to gain weight by having too much sugar, so, if you have tea, use a small amount of sugar, and sometimes alternate by having lightly salted soup. These tips enable you to cope with a lower heater setting. The energy required to heat a cup of tea is nowhere near the energy required to heat an entire room.
  • If you use a central heating system, go to every room you won’t be in for a while, and close the vents to reduce energy requirements, this will enable you to turn your thermostat temperature up without increasing energy usage if you are too cold.
  • If you have issues with mold, and are trying to ventilate the house to keep it at bay (to keep humidity down), instead, cap all bottles and pots containing fluids, and throw out standing water in basins, the kitchen sink, etc. These all evaporate and raise the humidity of your environment, helping mold to grow.
  • When stepping outside, it really does matter that you close the door behind you as quickly as possible, especially when it is windy.

Source: The Independent

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Tornado Rips Through NSW, Australia

In the northern region of New South Wales, Australia, a tornado wreaked havoc, and destroyed at least one house. A local resident saw it uproot trees and destroy his 70-year-old neighbour’s house. Fortunately, she was uninjured.

The resident, Alexander Martin said that he suddenly heard a loud roaring, and that the tornado ‘ran out of puff’ almost as quickly as it formed. The State Emergency Service (SES) received almost 180 calls for help.



Source: The Australian.

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Winter Blast Blamed For Dozens Of Crashes In Ontario

In Southern Ontario, Old Man Winter decided to wake up early, and on the wrong side of the bed. On Saturday, it caused heavy precipitation in the form of snow, which was severe enough to make vehicles ‘disappear’ into snow within seconds of driving into the storm. From what I saw in the CTV video, there was almost no visibility, possibly resulting in collisions that involved at least 40 vehicles.

This storm also prompted provincial police to close the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 between London and Woodstock, as well as the Northbound lanes at Highway 89 on Saturday morning. On Highway 89, 15 vehicles were involved in one pileup.

Source: The Canadian Press/CTV News

Learn about how snow, rain, and other forms of precipitation work.