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Terry Mackenzie-hoy

Terry Mackenzie-hoy

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

The idle thoughts of an idle fellow

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     13th December 2019 There is a lot of gloom and doom about in this country. In the professional community of which I am a part (that is, architects, builders, engineers, developers, and so on) I ask: "How's business?" The answers are not positive. In 2010 World Cup days, we were all massively busy. I wrote then that... 

Fake science

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     6th December 2019 In the film A River Runs Through It, we see a young Brad Pitt, acting as Paul Maclean, being home-schooled by his father, Reverend Maclean. Brad is told to write an essay. He does and brings it back to his father to read. He reads it, hands it back and says: "Good. Half as long." So Brad goes off... 

Staring you in the face

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     29th November 2019 Wind power and solar power are not available all the time. Many assume that the interconnected power system it is some sort of system which has a huge storage dam full of electricity that is tapped to supply a load. Thus, when a windmill or solar panel contributes to the dam, this is a great and... 

The World Cup

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     22nd November 2019 Years ago, Engineering News publishing editor Martin Creamer told me I could write about anything in this column, as long as it was not offensive. So, the World Cup rugby. Not the recent event, the one in 1995. I have lived my life following a plan. I have stuck to the plan and have hit most of... 

Hannover Fair

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     15th November 2019 "Come on Terence," said Harry, "don't you know about the Hannover Fair ?" "In Hannover, Germany?" I asked. 

2003 Cricket World Cup

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     8th November 2019 I was going to write about the latest offering from national government, the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP). This is the document that sets the way forward for the energy generation policy for South Africa until 2050. However, the document is  complete rubbish. Moonshine. Hopelessly unrealistic.... 

The dinosaur falls – Part 2

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     1st November 2019 In my last column, I wrote that State-owned electricity utility Eskom has been most comprehensively messed up. A combination of black economic empowerment, government incompetence, employee incompetence, overemployment, theft and corruption and renewable energy have all combined to bring the... 

The dinosaur falls

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     25th October 2019 State-owned electricity utility Eskom has been most comprehensively messed up. Stronger words apply . . . but anyway. Black economic empowerment (BEE), government incompetence, employee incompetence, overemployment, theft, corruption and renewable energy have all combined to bring the dinosaur... 

Death of the small consulting practice

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     18th October 2019 I am not sure how much we are owed in total. This is 'we' as in my consulting practice. A figure of R1 030 000 springs to mind. Certain debtors do stand out. There is the dear old North West provincial health service which, with our acoustics and noise control design built into the new Bophelong... 

Large storage batteries

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     11th October 2019 Before cellphones, the only rechargeable batteries were NiCad batteries, and they were not terribly good. There was a drive to come up with something better, and so the lithium-ion battery was invented. It is a good technology and the charge and discharge cycles are quite efficient. A similar... 

Outsourcing and insourcing

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     4th October 2019 The wonder of politicians is their extreme stupidity. Somebody once explained to me that rocket scientists know lots about rockets but not much about anything else. Knowing lots about one thing. They do not know about warheads, for example. So, a less intelligent person coordinates the warhead... 

Power system stability

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     27th September 2019 Power system stability is the degree to which a power grid continues to supply power after an unexpected event. An example: he Zambia power system has a demand of about 1 900 MW. Thus, at any one time, generators with a combined capacity of 1 900 MW will be generating into the system, with the... 

Robot wars

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     20th September 2019 Daniel Faggella is the founder and CEO OF Emerj. He is an expert on the competitive strategy implications of artificial intelligence (AI). He writes: "Over the last two years, there has been a general 'uptick' in media attention around the risks of artificial general intelligence, and it seems... 

Under the sun

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     13th September 2019 I was on a Brazilian navy ship. I had been employed to design some noise-reduction measures but, as soon as I was on board, I was hustled down to the main electrical control room by the ship's engineer. He could speak no English and I no Portuguese. The ship had three diesel generators running... 

Dumbsday prepper

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     6th September 2019 You know what a 'doomsday prepper' is? No? A doomsday prepper is a modern person who believes that an event will occur that will effectively end civilisation. Communities will be bereft of food, clean water, commodities . . . they will have to fight and steal for these things. Hard and viciously.... 

Background noise

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     30th August 2019 My brother Geoff is not an engineer – he works in information technology but qualified as a zoologist. He believes fervently  in climate change. Recently, he sent me a link to the South African Journal of Science. This led to an article which discussed the occurrence of the annual sardine run of... 

Oh, my Zimbabwe

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     23rd August 2019 There is plenty to cry about with regard to Zimbabwe. One of the engineers in our office is from Zimbabwe and so I regularly get updates on how things are in that country. By all accounts, there are car queues of some kilometres to buy fuel, electricity is on from 11:00 to 05:00, some firms are... 

Transmitting renewable energy

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     16th August 2019 Last week I advised that, at the Data Center Dynamics conference, in San Francisco, in the US, the following was reported: "At this year’s Data Center Dynamics conference, in San Francisco, speaker after speaker took to the stage to lament how utility companies refuse to provide even the largest... 

Renewable-energy transmission

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     9th August 2019 At the Data Center Dynamics conference in San Francisco, in the US, the following is reported: "At this year’s Data Center Dynamics conference . . . speaker after speaker took to the stage to lament how utility companies refuse to provide even the largest corporations with the renewable energy... 

A few snippets

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     2nd August 2019 Often, when I drink too much (oh . . . maybe once ot twice a year) I lapse into the telling of old tales and stories. Let me hasten to add that this happens if I drink too much whiskey or too much coffee. The result is the same. I relax and feel the need to educate the world. My dog, Thompson,... 

Electronic ants

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     26th July 2019 The term to 'white ant' implies that somebody or an organisation is to eat the person or the organisation away by internal rot. Like a white ant, something inside an organisation is causing the organisation to fail by weakening it from within. The organisation does not know it is happening but it... 

Not just wool – the whole darn blanket

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     19th July 2019 There is no doubt that there is money in the renewable-energy business. Few businesses have the general public so much in their favour, few have so much positive propaganda over their competition. The business model is so beautiful, at least in South Africa – they can generate and sell energy... 

Electric vehicles

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     12th July 2019 Everybody wants to do his or her bit to save the environment. Some want to be a bit more public about it and so graduate from recycling their rubbish to owning an electric vehicle (EV). It is the ultimate 'green statement'. As you pull away noiselessly, the vehicle hums: "Yes! I care! Vooommm!"... 

CEO of Eskom

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     5th July 2019 Dear Mr President, Members of Parliament and readers of Engineering News. May I present the new candidate for CEO of State-owned electricity utility Eskom? It is myself, Terence Eric Mackenzie Hoy. I am the ideal candidate, for the following reasons. 

Big Brother is still watching

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     28th June 2019 Nineteen eighty-four is now 35 years ago. It is also the title of a book by George Orwell, 1984, published 70 years ago. The book begins: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." And here we have an immediate clue – somebody has altered the means of keeping time... 

Business lessons from life

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     21st June 2019 Once upon a time, there was a ship called the Essex. She was a sailing ship, rigged out as a whaler. Whalers were use to kill whales and recover the whale oil for use in oil lanterns and for other applications. Over the years, whaling ships were sunk by whales – at least six of them. The Essex... 

What we need is a good war

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     14th June 2019 I am tired of hearing about all the soft ways in which we can 'stimulate the economy' and 'create jobs' and reduce inflation. The fact of the matter is that government has comprehensively messed up every single industry that it can and is now looking at the broken pieces of the economy like a... 

Egyptian geese and aircraft beam navigation

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     7th June 2019 I have a very tall pine tree on my property in Pinelands, Cape Town. On many past mornings, it has been the roosting place for a pair of Egyptian geese. Now understand – it is not their nesting place – they arrive at daylight and start honking soon after. The honks go on for about 30 minutes,... 

Both barrels: govt and small business

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     31st May 2019 When Engineering News publishing editor Martin Creamer gave me the go-ahead to write this column, he set down certain topics to be avoided. Politics was one. However, I am allowed to criticise government, so now I am going to give them both barrels. Fortunately, the election is over, so whatever... 

Dear Mr President

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     24th May 2019 Happily, if I google 'Ramaphosa', I get 12.7-billion hits. If I google 'Mackenzie-Hoy, it is 8.1-million, and if I google 'Alan Mulally, I get 462 000 hits. So, I am more famous than Mulally and about 8% as famous as our President. I doubt if the President or anybody in his party has the vaguest... 

Plague of invisible rats

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     17th May 2019 This column is for David and Linda Odd. A potential disaster exists in the form of the coming plague of invisible rats, which are responsible for sudden crop failure, power outages, outbreaks of diseases and unexplained deaths of domestic pets. Government is paying experts to find a solution.... 

Oh Alex

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     10th May 2019 After townships grew all over the areas around Johannesburg from 1950 (and earlier), they remained unelectrified. The authorities who could electrify them (Municipalities and State-owned power utility Eskom) were reluctant to electrify them because, they said, the residents would not pay for the... 

Tilting at windmills

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     3rd May 2019 In Don Quixote, the book by Cervantes (you know, Don Key Oatie – the one where he is a knight who has a horse called Rocinante, pronounced Ros-sin-antey, and a servant, Sancho, and there a donkey called Dapple and Donnie is a bit off his head, you know) there is a quotation which is: "The truth... 

The rain is on the roof, Ahummm

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     26th April 2019 Since we are acoustics engineers and have a website, we often get calls from flakes. A 'flake' is someone who has developed some previously unknown affliction to some noise. They phone me up and then, full of apologies, explain that they hear a buzzing or drone in their ears and they are not sure... 

Fully automated computer mistakes

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     19th April 2019 Deep in the mainframe of the government computers is data that reflects my real name: Terence Eric Mackenzie, surname – Hoy. Well, at least that is what the government has. Over the years, we have had variations: surname – How, Hey, Mckenzie-Hoy, Mckenzie-Hey . . . and so on. The huge benefit in... 

I’m not going to be mayor

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     12th April 2019 Cape Town has always had an attitude. Some years back, advertising icon Reg Lascaris ran an advertisement that had the tag line 'What is Cape Town Without the C?' (work it out). There was a bit of an outcry. This is the Town Where We Are Different. I live in Cape Town and I am not sorry –... 

No, love, you’re not alone

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     5th April 2019 An extract from a song by Jacques Brel: "The newsreel of our life/I'll play it in reverse / Your pain will fall away / We'll relive yesterday / And start where we began, love . . ." So, yes, we have load-shedding. But we were not the first. Back in the day, to reduce electricity consumption, and... 

Bitter evidence of coal, diesel corruption

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     29th March 2019 So, State-owned utility Eskom says it spent R140-million in March 2019 on diesel fuel for Ankerlig and Gourikwa gas turbine generation. Assuming that 70% of the diesel was used by Ankerlig, in the Western Cape, and that the diesel comes from the Astroenergy refinery ( formerly Chevron), in Cape... 

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