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Terry Mackenzie-hoy

Terry Mackenzie-hoy

Mackenzie-Hoy is a consulting acoustics and electrical engineer – machoy@iafrica.com

Electronic loneliness: the nature of communication

20th April 2018 I claim that communication is only possible between two systems which have different information content. The information content of a system is the probability that it will receive a message it has never received before. Put more simply, if my information content is 100%, then I know everything... 

Goodbye to copper

13th April 2018 Copper, the metal, has been around for a very long time. The Copper Age predates the Bronze and Iron ages and ran from about 4500 BC to 3500 BC. Copper has stuck with us – wooden ships were sheathed in copper and the domes of buildings were made from copper – it does not corrode. The Statue of... 

Driverless cars and robots

30th March 2018 Let us imagine that two robots, Og and Box, are playing chess against each other. To make sure the game progresses, Og is allowed to make a move every seven seconds. Box is allowed to move every eight seconds. At the fifty-sixth move, there is an impasse, since both are allowed to move. Who moves... 

Engineering design that’s deplorable

16th March 2018 My experience with my Mercedes-Benz C180 has been an engineering delight. The driving and ride and interior are a matter for discussion in a motoring magazine – I am talking about engineering, bru. Look at the following: you are driving along and a dog runs in front of the car. In many  cars, you... 

New Cabinet appointments

9th March 2018 When I worked for State-owned power utility Eskom, the top position went to either to engineer or an accountant, often turn by turn. When the engineer was in charge, the system was solid and reliable and we had all the smart and cool stuff we needed. When the accountants were in charge, the... 

Why the Koeberg nuclear power station was built

2nd March 2018 A lot of people are very much against South Africa building another nuclear power station. Many hope that the first project that President Cyril Ramaphosa throws under the bus will be a new nuclear power station. It is a sensitive topic. 

Millions, gigabytes and gigawatts

23rd February 2018 All the really frightening climate change graphs have the vertical scale in tenths of a degree. The scale is from –0.6 oC to 0.8 oC (about 1.4 oC). On the horizontal axis, the time is given as from 1880 to 2018, a period of 138 years. We know that, routinely, temperatures can change from, say, 12... 

Unlikely electrical devices

16th February 2018 Often, a layperson comes up with an idea that is totally not going to work and that sounds as if it will work. Then we electrical engineers have a problem since, no matter what you (we qualified engineers with 34 years experience) say to the layperson, the layperson (LP) produces increasingly... 

Western Cape water crisis

9th February 2018 I think that living by the sea and near Table Mountain has an effect on the local population of Cape Town. Do note that I was brought up in the then Transvaal and, thus, I was told how intelligent the Capetonians were; how civilised and how caring, compared with us carpet baggers who lived on the... 

Getting more efficient

2nd February 2018 About four years ago, I launched a project called the 400 W house. The house I proposed would use no more than an average of 400 W of electricity an hour over a 24 hour period. I specified a fridge that would use 180 W, a TV at 90 W, an induction cooker/hob at 900 W and an induction water heater... 

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