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Terry Mackenzie-hoy

Terry Mackenzie-hoy

Mackenzie-Hoy is a consulting acoustics and electrical engineer –

A weapon to end all wars

5th March 2021 Those of you who love karma or schadenfreude (as I do) probably have watched YouTube videos of Somali pirates being shot up by various warships. Schadenfreude is German and it’s made up of the words 'schaden', which means ‘harm’ or ‘damage’, and 'freude', which means ‘joy’. By definition, finding... 

All in 38 years

26th February 2021 In 1982, I was working for GEC Engineering Services, in Germiston. I reported to Pierre Ballot, who was an incredibly good engineer. My job was to test and commission electrical equipment that had been made by other GEC organisations. I don’t think I was very good at my job. The problem was that... 

Something to make you laugh

19th February 2021 I was on the witness stand as an expert witness. The applicant has submitted an affidavit that a power line conductor broke off and set the veld alight. He claims he has lost hectares of valuable grazing, to wit, Eragrostis Teff. His affidavit would make a sailor weep. Owing to the loss of... 

Great engineering failures

12th February 2021 I don’t believe in climate change. I recently mentioned this to a young adult American woman (23 years old). She said, “Uh, huh”, but clearly thought I was wrong. I said to her, look, it’s like this: the world always needs an enemy to fight. So we had ‘power lines cause cancer’, ‘bird flu’,... 

Being paid to whistle

5th February 2021 You may have seen Bianca Goodson (Smith) on TV or somewhere. She is the former Trillian CEO who testified how the company swindled Eskom and Transnet. As a result of her evidence at the Public Enterprises Committee’s inquiry into State capture, Eskom recovered a few millions from Trillian and... 

Power system dog maths

29th January 2021 ‘Dog Mathematics’ is mathematics you could teach a dog to do. The dog may not get it right, depending on the complexity, but it’s all real cute all the same. In 1998, I wrote to Eskom and said that, as far as I could see it, the utility would run out of power in about nine years – in 2007. Eskom... 

What makes people smart?

22nd January 2021 In May 1941, the city of London was bombed and the seat of Parliament, the House of Commons, was very badly damaged. When it was being rebuilt, Winston Churchill was asked if the original seating arrangement should be altered. He said not – the original seats had been such that government and... 

Running off a cliff

15th January 2021 Lemmings do not commit suicide. The little rodents throwing themselves off a cliff is mythical. However, this particular myth is based on actual lemming behaviours. When the concentration of lemmings becomes too high in one area, a large group migrates and may die in the migration process. The... 

Visually disturbing

11th December 2020 Members of the electrical engineering profession are guilty of disturbing the visual environment. You may not have realised this, but it is so.  We erect power station chimney stacks that give off smoke, and we erect cooling towers that give off steam, which unreliable journalists tell the... 

Thirty days

4th December 2020 It was recently reported in this fine newspaper: “In an effort to ensure small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa survive the economic crisis, more than 50 large companies have formally committed to paying their SME suppliers within 30 days. The initiative, called #PayIn30, is... 

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