Tagged With electricity

Shared from Theconversation

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A series of dramatic events over the past year, most notably the September statewide blackout in South Australia, have revealed an electricity system under strain, and left many Australians worried about the reliability of their power supply.

In response, state and federal politicians have announced a series of uncoordinated and potentially expensive interventions, most notably the Turnbull government’s Snowy Hydro 2.0 proposal and the South Australian government’s go-it-alone power plan.

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The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform – cheaper and more reliable electricity, competitive markets and rational investment decisions – are further away than ever.

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The bacterial world is rife with unusual talents, among them a knack for producing electricity. In the wild, "electrogenic" bacteria generate current as part of their metabolism, and now researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), have found a way to give that ability to non-electrogenic bacteria.

This researchers say this discovery could be used in sustainable electricity generation and wastewater treatment.

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Our planet is due to be hit with a powerful solar storm, an event that happens about once every hundred years. New research shows that losses from the ensuing blackouts could total $US41.5 billion ($54 billion) per day in the US alone, including nearly $US7 billion ($9 billion) lost in trade.

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The Australian Energy Market Commission says the average Australian's electricity bill will rise by $78 from mid next year, with a new report blaming the renewable energy target and the closure of coal-fired power stations for the price hike.

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Video: There's nothing I want to do more in life than to shoot a Tesla coil gun. Seeing those bolts of electricity fly out of that death ray-looking weapon is basically all I've ever dreamed about since I've watched Ghostbusters, and this Tesla coil gun is the closest thing to a real-life Proton Pack that I've ever seen.

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Video: I don't know what compels a person to run an electric current through a steel chain and then prance around with the glowing fire links of metal like it's some sort of jump rope. But I'm glad such a person exists, because it's pretty damn cool to see the steel chain transform into this fiery red hot whip that can pop off lightning sparks.

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Video: This is definitely what you don't want to see at a kid's birthday party: A jumping castle flying away straight into the power lines after being swept up in the air by a big gust of wind. You can actually see it first fly away from the power lines but then suddenly make a quick U-turn straight into the transmission tower. After it makes contact, sparks fly and a mini-explosion could even be heard. Scary.

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Video: Everyone knows you can do some crazy stuff with magnets, but things get really insane when you start playing with electromagnets. When you run an electric current through a coil of wire to create a magnetic field, you can chop soft drink cans in half in epic explosions and send discs flying up in the air that will smash into the ceiling.

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Strong winds and rain on Australia's east coast over the weekend knocked out power to thousands of houses, including mine. I'm very much an early adopter, so I stream almost all of my entertainment — whether it's through Netflix, through Apple Music, or through Kindle. When you don't have a TV or internet or a charger for your phone, living a high-tech life gets a lot more difficult.

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Besides shooting an actual human or a pig carcass, the best way to determine the efficacy of a projectile — like a bullet — is with ballistic gel, which has almost identical density and viscosity to human muscle tissue. But how does it fare against extraordinary voltages? According to this experiment caught on video, the short answer is: not well.

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Anyone who attended this year's Maker Faire Austin had the joy of catching electrifying live performances by Arc Attack, a team that makes music with two gigantic transformer coils (AKA "Tesla coils"). They're a popular staple of the festival circuit. Now Caleb Kraft, senior editor for Make, has captured one of those live performances in full 360 degree video, letting you watch in any direction — up, down, at the crowd or smack between those massive coils. It's like being plopped down right in the middle of all the action.