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Terry Mackenzie-hoy

Terry Mackenzie-hoy

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

40 years on

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     3rd July 2020 Now it happens that, 40 years ago, I had just finished my university degree and was on my way to the South African Navy to spend two years as a guest of government. At that time, the state of the electrical supply was this: houses and buildings were supplied with electricity by cables and power... 

Fantasy of the Greens 

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     26th June 2020 I regularly communicate with a group of engineering types who are all power-[Unknown A1]  generation minded and we regularly write about how misguided the green movement is regarding power generation to the grid or, if you like, grids around the world. I cannot speak for my engineering group,... 

Splitting Eskom into three 

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     19th June 2020 On February 7, 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation Address that State-owned power utility Eskom would be remodelled and split into three State-owned entities dealing with generation, transmission and distribution. It was noted that Eskom was in a deep financial... 

The old blood

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     12th June 2020 There is nobody who will say that the new CEO of State-owned electricity utility Eskom, André de Ruyter, is doing a bad job. When he took over, Eskom was in a bad way. It was rife with corruption and coal theft, poor maintenance and had two overpriced new power stations which had been poorly... 

Same taxi, different driver

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     5th June 2020 The following is from an article from the Seven Pillars Institute: “Some of the company’s personnel pocketed a brokerage percentage from suppliers, overloaded ships with personal cargoes for trading, diluted precious metals to produce more volume, colluded with other traders and inspectors, and... 

All the help we can get

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     29th May 2020 I own a small consulting engineering practice with a staff of five. Our work is consulting in acoustics and noise control. We are not considered essential to any project (as, for example, the structural engineer, mechanical engineer and others are) and, in general, when clients wish to cut... 

Icarus

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     22nd May 2020 In mythology, Icarus was the son of Daedalus. The latter wanted to escape from the island of Crete and so used wax and feathers to build some wings for himself and his son Icarus. Daedalus warned his son to fly at a middle height – too low and the seawater will dampen the wings; too high and the... 

Bowling for Michael Moore

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     15th May 2020 Michael Moore is a famous film director, and one of the films he directed is Bowling for Columbine. The title refers to the true story that two students in their late teens – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, of Columbine High School, in the US state of Colorado – murdered 12 students and one... 

Prophets of doom

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     8th May 2020 I have before me an article from a newspaper published in Cape Town. The headline is ‘Worst fire season feared’. It goes on to quote whoever who as saying we should be very concerned and uses words like ‘fynbos’ and ‘urban edge’ and ‘endangered ecosystems’ and stuff. There is also a report on a... 

Painting lines on the workshop floor

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     1st May 2020 Sometime back, in 1994, when the new government had taken over, there was a great deal of backslapping and self-congratulation by new Parliamentarians and officials and settling in and stuff. However, there wasn't much action. This country had come to an almost dead halt, while some people had... 

Virus stories

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     24th April 2020 I did promise not to write about Eskom and the virus. I can leave Eskom alone but, as to the virus, it is a bit like saying to Samuel Pepys, who kept a diary in 1665, at the time of the great plague of London: "Hey, stop your scribbling, man!"  Like Pepys, I keep a diary but, unlike Pepys, I... 

Tapping into our readers’ minds

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     17th April 2020 To write about State-owned electricity utility Eskom, the virus and government is boring. So, I am going to use this time to get our Engineering News & Mining Weekly readers to solve a few problems. When members of your family are glued to Episode 10 of Series 3 of How to Get Away with Murder, we... 

Massive benefits of the virus

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     10th April 2020 Some time back – more than ten years – the economy was swimming along. I had five staff and one of them stopped me in the office and asked if she could have a word with me. No problem. She said that she was not ungrateful, but . . . I knew what was coming after “but”. And it did. She asked if I... 

The more seriously good aspects of Covid-19

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     3rd April 2020 A very good aspect about the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, is that I need not go to those very tedious meetings, which last three hours, during which I will be asked to advise on the project acoustics aspects for a two-minute period and will have to just listen for the rest of the time.... 

Open letter to South African politicians

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     27th March 2020 Ah, yes, at last! When Martin Creamer agreed to publish this column, he requested that I avoid politics. And so I shall. This letter is addressed to all of you politicians, far left to far right. Suits to overalls. Women and men, and others. Dear politicians 

The butterfly effect

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     20th March 2020 The butterfly effect is a terribly sweet observation that the fluttering of the wings of a butterfly can be the trigger for a massive destructive storm. Taking the power generated by the wings of a butterfly (of the order of microwatts, if not less) into account, the system surrounding the... 

Cape Town saves Eskom

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     13th March 2020 With regard to power from independents power producers (IPPs), Cape Town's acting mayor, Ian Neilson, is quoted in The Citizen newspaper as saying “The City is fighting for the right to buy cleaner energy directly from the IPPs to improve energy security. This move comes as the energy crisis in... 

Climate change: Part 4

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     6th March 2020 Summary of previous columns: climate change is real, if only because, in Norway, large patches of ice have melted and given up artefacts. This shows that Norway has become warm enough to melt ice, which has not happened in recent times, and the discovery of the artefacts shows that the ice has... 

Climate change: Part 3

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     28th February 2020 Summary of previous columns: firstly, climate change is real, if only because, in Norway, large patches of ice have melted and given up artefacts. This shows that Norway has become warm enough to melt ice, which has not happened in recent times, and the discovery of the artifacts shows that the... 

Climate change: Part 2

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     21st February 2020 In last week's instalment of this column, I wrote that climate change is real, if only because, in Norway, large patches of ice have melted and given up artefacts such as iron arrowheads and tunics from the Iron Age, besides others. This shows two things: that Norway has become warm enough to... 

Climate change: Part 1

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     14th February 2020 I have decided to write about climate change. I know that, even with that simple sentence, the knives come out, the pistols cock and an army marches against me. But do not fret, my merensky vonnies. I believe climate change is happening. In Norway, large patches of ice have melted and given up... 

Lies about Eskom and energy

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     7th February 2020 A whole new culture of reporting on State-owned electricity utility Eskom, climate and energy has arisen. This country has a number of good-quality, intelligent energy experts but, deeply regrettably, their views are often not published, as they are not very popular. For example, I have... 

The bus that Tesla missed

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     31st January 2020 Every day, I read all the suggested stories from Google. I know that some story lines repeat day after day. There is always a story about climate change, Jacob Zuma, a bread recipe, living off the grid, State-owned electricity utility Eskom, corruption and . . . Tesla. The Tesla stories should... 

Desirable school subjects

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     24th January 2020 Last week, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that select schools would be piloting subjects such as robotics this year and, if successful, the subjects could be rolled out to public schools as early as 2021.  This is the most uplifting news I have heard since it was reported that... 

Becoming an acoustics engineer

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     17th January 2020 I am a qualified electrical engineer. There were 105 students in first year engineering when I enrolled at university (if you ask my staff, they will tell you this was shortly after the Manumission of the slaves and just before the great trek). At the beginning of second year, the number had... 

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... 

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